Wednesday, October 20
- The Pandemic’s Impact on Small Town Tourism in Ontario
- Electronic Meetings: How to Keep Virtual Municipal Meetings Open and Accessible
- Workforce Development Programming in a Post-pandemic Economy: AdvancEd, A Kawartha Lakes Skills Advance Ontario Case Study
- CED 201: COVID Economic Recovery
- Power your Budgetary Decisions with Objective Roadway Data
- Putting the Pieces Together
- RNG/Hydrogen/Carbon Strat/Geo
- Young Rural Change Makers Help Rural Communities Achieve their Potential
- New realities – New Opportunities: Economic Development Opportunities Pertaining to Growing and Emerging Sectors in Ontario
- The Signature Development: What can Municipalities Do, Really?
- Evidence-Based Decision Making: OMAFRA’s Performance Measurement Resource and Analyst Tool
- Economic Development Funders Forum
- Municipal Law Update
- Partnering with International Organizations to Fix Local Workforce Issues
Thursday, October 21
- Growing Agriculture Economic Development in Your Community
- Downtown Recovery Panel Discussion
- Strategic Education Plans for Councils-Preparing for Success
- Invest Ontario
- The Port Lands. Building it Together.
- The Pathway to a Circular Economy
- Northern Film Fund Success: An Untapped Resource For the East?
- How the City of Kingston Implemented and Excelled in Integrated Strategic Planning and Reporting
- MPAC Update and Discussion of the Small Business Property Tax Subclass
- Connecting Youth and Employers through a Career Pathways e-Learning Platform
- Partnering to Expand Broadband
- Tools & Resources for Municipalities to Create Affordable Housing
- Skilled Trades and A Strong Career Path: A Winning Combination
The Pandemic’s Impact on Small Town Tourism in Ontario
Martin Lacelle, Locali.T
We all know how tourism has been devastated by the pandemic… but how have our small town businesses fared during this upheaval, and what can we learn from this? Over the past year, we’ve seen stories of resilience, adaptability and even prosperity as our rural business communities have found ways to survive and even thrive. Locali.t, a not-for-profit consulting organization managed by rural tourism entrepreneurs, will shed light through this session on how cultural/rural tourism has evolved over the past 2 years in Eastern Ontario. With best practice methods, trends and success stories, this session will provide concrete examples of how small town destinations can leverage interest for local and regional exploration.
Electronic Meetings: How to Keep Virtual Municipal Meetings Open and Accessible
Laura Pettigrew, Ontario Ombudsman
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the province of Ontario has been in various stages of lockdown since March 2020, requiring municipalities to adapt to ensure the public is able to participate in their open meetings. Many municipalities have turned to electronic meetings, including via teleconference, Zoom, or other webcasting tools. The Ombudsman has investigated complaints about these virtual meetings and has developed some best practices for municipal meetings to remain accessible and open to the public. Join General Counsel Laura Pettigrew as she walks through some of these cases, and offers tips for municipalities to ensure the public is able to participate, no matter the platform.
Workforce Development Programming in a Post-pandemic Economy: AdvancEd, A Kawartha Lakes Skills Advance Ontario Case Study
Danielle K Harris, Economic Development Officer-Workforce Development, City of Kawartha Lakes Ecomomic Development Department
AdvancEd is a community designed partnership between local employers and the Delivery Partners, Fleming College and VCCS Employment Services. Funded by MLTSD, together, these organizations partnered to design and deliver sector-focused essential and technical skills training in Agriculture, Construction and Manufacturing. This presentation is a case study of AdvancEd and will serve as a point of departure for a larger look at workforce development program design and delivery in a post-pandemic economy. I will focus on key take-aways centered around employee retention at the entry level position, how to strike a balance between job seeker and employer needs, and best practices for developing a community-centred workforce development initiative when the only constant is change.
- What did the challenges of 2020/2021 teach us about how to move forward with workforce development of our local communities?
- How can we apply the lessons, experiences and growing pains of AdvancEd to our broader workforce development efforts as we look to guide our economy back on track and stronger than before?
- What can we as economic development focused organizations learn from the AdvancEd program’s pandemic launch?
- And present one way in which municipalities be a broker for local partnerships through community-centred programming?
CED 201: COVID Economic Recovery
Trevor Crowe, Certified International Economic Developer (CEcD), Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food & Rural Affairs (OMAFRA)
Karen Fischer, Agriculture and Rural Economic Development Advisor, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA)
Community Economic Development (CED) is more important than ever! How can we be strategic about our recovery efforts? Is your recovery efforts truly based on the needs of your business community? This session will guide both staff and elected officials through the steps to ensure municipalities economic recovery efforts for 2022 are aligned with the needs of local businesses and the community.
Economic Recovery requires engagement with the business community to identify their needs, opportunities and challenges, which in turn, inform Ec Dev work plans. Often CED committees and staff base their work plans on what ‘they think is needed’, without looking at the data, or the needs of the business community. As a result, the work doesn’t align with the needs of the business community. In addition, performance measures are not used to gauge success. This workshop will outline best practices and practical approaches taken, common mistakes, and where to start for even very small rural communities with limited resources. The approach is taken from OMAFRA’s CED 101 and 201 workshops, the Economic Development Strategic Planning resources and the International Economic Development Council’s (IEDC) Introduction to Economic Development Handbook.
Power your Budgetary Decisions with Objective Roadway Data
With budgets shrinking and roads deteriorating at a faster pace each year, many municipalities struggle to keep up with maintenance and repairs, often opting for short-term fixes rather than a long-term strategy to preserve their road network. A mile stretch of road costs approximately $3.5 million to reconstruct once it has reached its end of life. But implementing a proactive pavement management program can save communities up to 75% on road repairs over the asset’s life. How? By applying the right treatment on the right road at the right time. And for this, you need good data. StreetScan’s automated road assessment service provides objective, up-to-date, and accurate data to optimize repair & maintenance costs. The distress density information gathered as part of our road rating process can be leveraged (along with condition, AADT, and other customizable variables and weighting) to select the optimal maintenance & repair strategies. Plus, its street asset management software enables municipalities to view various statistics on roadways, estimate budget requirements, create capital improvement plans and help secure funding. Are you getting optimal value from your road repair budget? Join our session to find out.
Putting the Pieces Together
Join us for an interactive session focused on improving our ability to understand and respond to the challenges in our regional labour market — both longer term trends and fundamental COVID-based shifts. Find out why the EOLC is focused on labour market ‘intelligence’ to help EDOs and others put the pieces of their’ labour market “puzzle” together. Hint: it’s because a “mobile” workforce (across occupations, sectors and geographies) is associated with stronger economic recovery, growth and resilience to future shocks. Find out what we’re working on behind the scenes, how our Community of Practice group is bringing diverse perspectives to the same table, and how our initiatives fit with others under way across the region.
This session has built-in opportunities for you to share your biggest challenges and opportunities. To let us know what you’re working on that might be part of a much bigger puzzle. And to share ideas about filling in “missing pieces” to help us all see the full picture and develop solutions with confidence. Achieving a smoothly functioning labour market will be one of the most fundamental challenges facing employers, jobseekers and the regional economy as a whole. Be part of putting the puzzle together.
RNG/Hydrogen/Carbon Strat/Geo – Enbridge
Young Rural Change Makers Help Rural Communities Achieve their Potential
Gabrielle Ferguson, Leadership Programs Director, Rural Ontario Institute
Oliver Jacob, Rural Change Makers Cohort 2020, Renfrew Ontario
Maggie McBride, Rural Change Makers Cohort 2020, Exeter Ontario
The Rural Ontario Institute (ROI) is a not-for-profit organization which develops leaders through experiential programming and has a wealth of experience sharing community-driven solutions to rural development challenges. In this panel discussion, alumni of ROI’s successful youth rural community development program, Rural Change Makers (RCM), will share insights and community project experiences from their participation in this program. ROI’s Director of Leadership Programs will discuss best practices for program planning and delivery. The RCM program prepares young adults (18-29) with the leadership skills and networks to strengthen their ability to contribute to their rural communities, run their businesses, become entrepreneurs and community leaders as active citizens in their communities. The RCM participate in a series of in-person and online developmental training opportunities. This provides the confidence to our participants to actively engage in community issues and make a difference locally. We invest in young adults to reach their potential so that they can help build strong rural communities where they have jobs, raise their families and create communities and infrastructure that provides security for themselves and generations to come. By highlighting these benefits, the panel participants will provide useful resources for other organizations developing similar rural leadership programs across Ontario.
New Realities – New Opportunities: Economic Development Opportunities Pertaining to Growing and Emerging Sectors in Ontario/Growing and Supporting Exporters
As the world transitions to a low carbon economy, Canada and Ontario are looking for strategic growth opportunities in the hydrogen sector, including innovation and economic development that deliver commercially viable emission reducing alternatives. The province’s economy and regions provide a solid basis for a growing hydrogen economy, which will attract investments and foster job growth across the province. Speakers will explore regional economic development and collaboration opportunities.The Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade delivers a suite of programs and services designed to help Ontario SMEs develop international business contacts, enter new markets and increase their exports. Services include one-on-one export advice and introductions, educational webinars, market and sector intelligence briefings, and export business missions. Learn about new virtual program offerings and how export specialists can help Ontario businesses navigate the complexity of selling internationally.
The Signature Development: What can Municipalities Do, Really?
A local builder is looking for a property to be a showpiece development in the community. They target a former industrial site in a great location near downtown. It has potential, and challenges – but they see an opportunity for a vibrant intersection of private and public spaces, housing types and commercial that will bring new people, both residents and visitors, to the area. The Municipality has been hoping for just such an opportunity to rehabilitate the property and give a needed boost to both the tax base and business in the downtown core. Everyone is ready to get behind this proposal.
But does the process have the flexibility? Can the municipality incentivize this development without compromising the services and complete communities the new residents expect? Can the developer afford to provide the kind of accessible, well designed spaces, public art, and heritage they originally envisioned without grants and relief from fees, development charges, parkland dedication, and community benefits charges? What are the legal pitfalls for a municipality that radically changes its policies to support a marquee development? What can or can’t they do, really?
This presentation will explore the challenges municipalities and developers face with these signature developments.
Evidence-Based Decision Making: OMAFRA’s Performance Measurement Resource and Analyst Tool
The pandemic has meant that many organizations have had to pivot on strategies and actions they’ve delivered. Performance measurement and data are important to showing how actions and strategies have made a difference servicing local and regional economies. Learn how outcome-based measurement can help inform future decision making and creates accountability in OMAFRA’s updated performance measurement resource.
All the economic and workforce data you need in your community—in one place. Analyst—OMAFRA’s comprehensive labor market analysis software that gives you the labor market data you need to align programs with market demand. Recently added to the tool, Job Posting analytics (JPA) is a collection from millions of job postings created by employers. JPA can help measure the demand for talent in a given region. It is more granular than traditional Labour market information (LMI), providing details about the labor market (e.g. specific skills requested by employers) that LMI simply can’t. Another of JPA’s strengths is that it has virtually no time lag, since job postings are live; hence it is also sometimes known as “real-time labor market data.”
Economic Development Funders Forum
Moderator: Ann-Marie Kelleher, FedDev Ontario
Christos Bakalakis, Director, Community Recovery Initiatives, FedDev Ontario
Trevor Crowe, Certified International Economic Developer (CEcD), Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food & Rural Affairs (OMAFRA)
Government funding programs available to eastern Ontario communities, SMEs and economic development organizations will be highlighted along with examples of existing projects in the region. Get the most of up to date information on Covid recovery programs. The panel will be followed by a facilitated Q&A session.
Downtown Recovery Panel Discussion
Carlie Arbour, Economic Development Officer – Community, City of Kawartha Lakes
Adriana Barbary, Sharbot Lake Downtown Revitalization Coordinator
Karen Fischer, Agriculture and Rural Economic Development Advisor, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA)
Carolyn Puterbough, Agriculture and Rural Economic Development Advisor, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA)
Additional Speakers TBC
Downtown Recovery Panel Discussion –The pandemic and resulting closures have placed incredible pressure on downtowns. Communities and business have had to adapt, utilizing new tools and new ways of doing business. Rural community representatives that had completed downtown revitalization projects in will participate in the panel with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs moderating. These rural communities have worked, in some cases for years, to help their businesses access more customers, bring more businesses to their downtowns and work with business support organizations to coordinate efforts, only to be hit with the pandemic implications & challenges. Successful tactics and strategies will be shared, including leveraging community improvement plans, coordinating recovery efforts across multiple organizations, shop local marketing and promotions, with the expertise from on the ground perspectives. Making the most of a difficult situation, some communities used the time during the pandemic to fast track physical improvements in their downtowns or offer public spaces for street patios, picnic areas and supported businesses in their move to online commerce. Learn from a panel of communities that have completed and implemented Downtown Revitalization plans and talk about what’s next in 2022. The panel will discuss how downtown revitalization efforts put in place prior to the pandemic supported the resiliency of their rural communities.
Partnering with International Organizations to Fix Local Workforce Issues
This session will introduce three international organizations, Talent Beyond Boundaries, Windmill, and Miles4Migrants. The speakers will explain ways in which their local organizations have partnered with these internationals in order to build out solutions to labour market issues in their region.
Growing Agriculture Economic Development in Your Community
The COVID-19 pandemic has created new opportunities and challenges in the food sector. It has caused businesses and food leaders to consider this sector differently, with a greater awareness of its contributions not only to economic development, but to food security and social well-being. How can communities respond to take best advantage of the strengths in their local agri-food sector? This session will explore how to support the development of agriculture and the local food sector in your community through best practices and successes from others. Canadian Organic Growers (COG) will be sharing their approach to engaging regional food supply businesses in Eastern Ontario. Their recent series of five regional value chain consultations, focused on fruit, grains, vegetables, livestock, and agricultural inputs, resulted in a regional industry perspective on how to strengthen these value chains. In addition, the Eastern Ontario Agrifood Network (EOAN) will present an overview of how the EOAN has partnered with local municipalities to be the regional agri-food council with focus on economic development in the local food sector, capacity development, and policy and regulatory affairs. COG and the EOAN are both working to help local/regional supply meet local/regional demand,and both have benefitted from OMAFRA’s value- chain support in various ways. In the session, they will share an overview of key programs and resources that can be used to identify and develop opportunities in the agri-food sector, the steps that led to their successes, and challenges that remain.
Municipal Law Update
Tony Fleming, Cunningham Swan LLP
Join Certified Municipal Law Specialist Tony Fleming for an informative review of the most recent cases and legislative amendments in municipal governance, land use planning and by-law enforcement. The law changes so rapidly and decision makers and staff need to have the most current information to be able to respond. This session will focus on the latest changes to municipal legislation and the newest cases in areas of interest to municipal council and staff. Learn not just what new decisions have been handed down from the LPAT and the courts, but why they are important and how your municipality needs to adapt.
Strategic Education Plans for Councils – Preparing for Success
Prepare for Success! One of the first things a new councillor learns is how just much they don’t know about municipal government. And municipal government law, regulations and codes have become increasingly complex. If members are to enjoy their role at Council, achieve the goals that caused them to run, and make a positive difference for their community they will need to engage in continuous learning throughout their term on Council. Join Fred Dean and Nigel Bellchamber, as they lay out what a Strategic Education Plan for Council looks like, and what today’s Council members have to do to get ready for the next term whether they plan to run or not. Attendees will leave with a checklist of educational initiatives that will be a must for every member of the 2022-2026 Council and what they have to do in the months ahead in order to make sure their communities will be well served by their 2022 elected leaders.
Trevor Dauphinee, Interim CEO, Invest Ontario
This presentation will provide an overview of Invest Ontario, its goals and objectives, and its focus areas. Invest Ontario is mandated to promote the province as a key investment destination, and serve as a “one stop” shop for businesses and investors. The presentation includes how regions and municipalities can leverage Invest Ontario to secure private sector strategic business and capital investments that support economic development, resiliency and job creation in Ontario.
The Port Lands. Building it Together.
Grand Chief Abram Benedict, Mohawk Council of Akwesasne
Simon McLinden, Project Manager, Cornwall & The Counties Community Futures Development Corporation
Lesley Thompson, Executive Director, Cornwall & The Counties Community Futures Development Corporation
In 2016, Transport Canada divested a 16-acre parcel of prime waterfront land to the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne and the City of Cornwall. In what is the first Co-Owned piece of waterfront property between a First Nation and Municipality in the Country. Along with the property, Transport Canada also endowed the Co-Owners with a little over $5 million dollars to go towards both remediation and redevelopment of the land. What was once an industrial, Federal Port for 50+ years is now a blank canvas for both communities to create a vibrant space and what potentially represents the biggest economic development opportunity in our region for decades. In 2020, the Co-Owners contracted the Cornwall and the Counties CFDC (Now ACC Futures) as Project Managers for the Port Lands. Our unique experience through the management of the Cross Border Partnership Program, an economic development program with a focus on building and strengthening relationships between the communities positioned us strongly to manage this incredibly complex project and its many moving parts. Our presentation will go into detail about how these two communities have found common ground to work together, engage the public, manage processes with vastly differing regulations, circumnavigate hurdles such as taxation, the pandemic, and how the property isn’t actually located within the First Nation of Akwesasne.
The Pathway to a Circular Economy
The Circular Economy (CE) is a massive shift in thinking and in the manner in which our economy and municipalities operate. It has been touted as a viable substitute for our prevailing linear economy, which is described as a “take-make-use-waste” model, and which generally destroys the value of products at end of their first use. This shift to a CE continues to gain traction around the world and also here in Ontario. As evidence of its growing importance, the Recycling Council of Ontario recently re-branded itself as the Circular Innovation Council, and is laser focused on establishing procurement as the pathway to a CE. Circular procurement is a strategic approach to acquiring goods and services in accordance with CE principles. It can redefine value, shape markets, and deliver on your environmental, social, and financial objectives. Our engaging session will begin with a brief overview of a CE, including municipal examples of the concept in action. We will then move on to discussing circular procurement as a pathway to a CE economy – beginning with an overview of the approach, and followed by some takeaways that you can use as a roadmap towards circular procurement. Along the way will provide examples of CP in action, including how it can help achieve GHG emission targets. Don’t miss this session!
Northern Film Fund Success: An Untapped Resource For the East?
Moderator: David Cormican, President & Co-Founder, Don Carmody Television (DCTV)
Over the last 20 years in Northern Ontario, a $25M annual film and television fund operating separately within the Business Opportunities Programme has quietly and successfully ramped up hundreds of millions of regional revenues across multiple sectors, generated diverse, high-paying jobs with training and advancement opportunities for local residents, all while producing significant ROIs. The recent increase to this Northern fund by the Ontario Government indicates not only the strength of this investment, but reveals the potential missed opportunity for the East to capture a similar ROI from the entertainment industry.
The film industry contributes over $3 billion dollars annually to Ontario’s economy and the NOHFC’s film fund attracts external investment and local spend many times its annual investment.
With the GTA bursting at the seams and the North reaching capacity for film productions, Eastern Ontario could be poised as the NEXT region to implement the North’s regional success model —by imitating it.
This panel will explore some of the many ways in which the East can help accelerate job growth by welcoming the domestic screen content industry to become a committed partner in Eastern Ontario’s regional growth strategy, while outlining key takeaways for Eastern stakeholders to attract and keep the film industry in SEON.
John Galway, President of the Harold Greenberg Fund, will set the stage with stats showing the propulsive revenue growth of the film industry in Ontario with a specific focus on the Northern region and what was done to lure such tremendous levels of inbound investment from outside the province. Alex Jansen (Kingston Tourism office) will provide case studies on the exponentially increasing revenue impact of film across sectors to their municipality from recent productions and how the Kingston area and local businesses are preparing for an even greater influx of productions and partnering with more area businesses and institutions to acclimate them to working and partnering with the film industry. Heather Haldane, a Gemini Award and Canadian Screen Award-winning film producer (H-is4 Productions), co-chairs the South Eastern Ontario Production Accelerator Fund (SEOPAF) working committee, will review the preparedness of Eastern Ontario to openly embrace the film industry and speak to best practices within organizations like the KTO to lure additional productions, secure ongoing job skills creation and workforce training opportunities to the region to establish long-term success hosting the film industry.
MPAC Update and Discussion of the Small Business Property Tax Subclass
Moderator: Jason Hagan, Regional Manager, Municipal and Stakeholder Relations, MPAC
Brian Gordon, Regional Manager, Municipal and Stakeholder Relations, MPAC
Tracy McIntyre, Regional Manager, Municipal and Stakeholder Relations, MPAC
Joseph Muhuni, Deputy City Treasurer Revenue, City of Ottawa
Join MPAC staff for an update on current projects that are helping support our municipal relationships, including a building permit pilot project with AMO, and an initiative to rethink and modernize the delivery of the Assessment Roll for public access.
We will also overview the new optional small business tax class which was announced in the Fall 2020 Provincial Budget, and which allows interested municipalities to target tax relief by reducing property taxes to eligible small business properties. A recent white paper, developed by MPAC and a municipal working group related to the different approaches that municipalities can consider as they investigate the Small Business Property Tax Subclass for their municipality will also be discussed.
How the City of Kingston Implemented and Excelled in Integrated Strategic Planning and Reporting
Connecting Youth and Employers through a Career Pathways e-Learning Platform
In order to facilitate the connection of youth and employers, in June 2020, the Workforce Development Board (WDB) and the Centre for Workforce Development (CFWD) collaborated on a Career Pathways Project funded by OEEDC as a component of their Talent Identification Support Program funded by the MLTSD.
In the CFWD’s and WDB’s communities, key sectors that are instrumental in driving the local economy are construction, manufacturing, healthcare and hospitality and tourism. The increased demand for workers in these sectors and the corresponding aging workforce flags the need to attract young people to these professions and to market the potential local careers available.
The career pathways project implemented the use of a cloud-based delivery system called Edge Factor used by local school boards in CFWD’s and WDB’s regions. The platform provides youth with opportunities to explore industries and career pathways through engaging Local Virtual Workplace Experiences and raises awareness of local career and training opportunities. It also includes videos that support learning about soft skills such as communication and customer service.
Partnering to Expand Broadband
The Township of Rideau Lakes identified broadband access as a key priority in 2019 following a BR&E exercise which identified quality of internet access as a key issue for every business identified. A competitive process was commenced in 2019 asking for proposals and associated requested municipal contributions. The Township identified priority services areas in the RFP, being our villages and major tourism nodes. We got a strong response, used outside technical advisors to evaluate, and eventually accepted a proposal from WTC, a local ISP. Over 3 years WTC will invest $3.5M and bring fibre to the door to 1/6 of the households in Rideau Lakes as well as backhaul existing wireless to provide improved wireless options. The Township is committed to a contribution of $800,000. WTC assumes all risk of cost overages. Year one roll out went well. Impacts of COVID in 2020 further highlighted value of foresight and investment. Access to fibre was a major factor in a company’s decision to undertake a multi-million dollar feedmill expansion (high-automation facility). Year two under way and anticipated to expand further with approved (but not yet announced) Federal funds. The idea of this session would be a panel discussing the process of identifying need to build out from the staff, political and private partner perspective.
Tools & Resources for Municipalities to Create Affordable Housing
Jamie Shipley, C.E.T., Knowledge Transfer Specialist – Outreach, Canada Mortgage & Housing Corporation (CMHC)
Aude Morel, Account Representative – Client Relations – Outreach, Canada Mortgage & Housing Corporation (CMHC)
Canada Mortgage & Housing Corporation will provide a National Housing Strategy overview and share information about valuable resources, guides and research that municipalities can use to promote the creation of affordable housing and gain community acceptance. Learn about our research programs designed to solve complex housing problems and remove barriers to new affordable housing development. Housing affordability has reached crisis levels in many municipalities so understanding how CMHC and the National Housing Strategy can be of assistance is the objective of this session.
Skilled Trades and A Strong Career Path: A Winning Combination
In cities and towns across Ontario, we are witnessing a demand for skilled trades, yet we face a severe workforce shortage, and many jobs in the sector are being unfilled. This has and will continue to cause impacts to Ontario’s competitiveness and economy. We need more young people interested in the trades to support economic development in your municipality, across the province, and from coast-to-coast. According to the provincial government, Ontario needs 26,000 additional skilled trades workers over the next eight years to keep pace with current demand. From activating new entrepreneurs to sustaining economic development, the trades are an important equation for community success. Join us as we hear from an industry leader committed to activating careers in trades and a student about to embark on their career in trades. They will share their personal insight and advice to help you learn what your municipality needs to do today to attract, retain, and activate skilled trade professionals and catapult your region’s economic prosperity for years to come.