Job centre officials say hundreds of new jobs on horizon for 2013
By Mark Newman, News Staff
The New Maple Leaf prepared meat plant, Target Canada stores, the Gateway Ice Centre in Stoney Creek and a variety of developments in down town Hamilton are all pointing to the best year for area job seekers in quite some time.
“It’s absolutely looking up,” said Tracy Baxter, program manager at the Goodwill Career Centre on Upper Gage. “There’s a lot of new businesses being attracted here so that’s always a good sign.”
Over at the Employment Hamilton offices on Victoria Avenue South, client services manager Wally Stadnicki said he shares Baxter’s optimism.
“It does feel that it’s better than it has been for a while,” said Stadnicki, who expects all of the new investment to result in several hundred new jobs in the community. “There will be a lot of good jobs at Maple Leaf.”
Stadnicki noted Employment Hamilton recently ran a job fair for Nations Fresh Foods, the new supermarket slated for Jackson Square that will create 250 jobs.
About 700 jobs are expected to be created when the Maple Leaf plant at the Red Hill Business Park opens in the late summer or fall.
Meanwhile, Baxter noted there has been no shortage of people coming through the doors of the east Mountain employment centre in recent months and she expects they will continue to stay busy.
“I think people come in with a fresh perspective in the new year,” said Baxter. “It’s also traditionally when corporations do their budgets so we know whether or not they’re going to be hiring this year.”
Baxter said the career centre averages more than 500 visits per month and nearly 400 people found jobs, went back to school or were enrolled in training programs between April 1 and Dec. 31 last year.
The new year also saw some changes to Canada’s employment insurance system.
“My understanding is that people are going to be expected to write a log of their job search,” Baxter said. “Depending on how long people are on EI, they’re going to be expected to take lower wages and work at a further distance (from home) basically.”
While all the details of the changes have not been confirmed with their office, Baxter said they’ve always encouraged clients to keep a log of their job search.
“There’s nothing more frustrating than an employer calling and you forget who the employer is and what the job was about,” Baxter said. “It’s one of the things that tracks not only your progress, but are you searching in the wrong area? Maybe you’re not getting any hits, so it’s one of these things that at a quick glance we can look at and have an understanding of where the job search has been going.”
Baxter said the EI changes may also result in more people coming to see them sooner.
“We always urge people as soon as they get laid off or as soon as they get down-sized or lose their job to come in immediately,” she said. “Although you may have six-months severance, that six-month severance goes very quickly.”
Baxter said there are currently jobs available in manufacturing, call centres, retail businesses and in personal care support.
See www.goodwillonline.ca for more information.