Huron Economic Development , Mayors of North Huron and Morris-Turnberry along with members of the Wingham BIA, Centre for Employment & Learning and Human Resources representatives from 3 of the larger local employers have been meeting to try to solve a double edged problem in the area.
Companies are in dire need of workers and there’s a local shortage. Chris Watson of Huron Economic Development told the meetings that the Huron, Bruce, Grey, Perth region has an unemployment rate of just over 3% (lowest in the province). The rate considered full employment is 5%, taking into account seasonal workers and those no longer looking for employment. The lack of workers is troubling, but there is also a lack of housing for workers willing to transfer into the area.
Allison Letteau of Wescast in Wingham stated that the company is moving work from their Michigan facility to Wingham. They’ll require 24 people to staff the line, with still requiring an additional 26 people for their other operating lines for a total of 50 people required. But finding the workers is proving difficult. The same was echoed by Jennica Fry of Britespan and Corry Mayberry-Milton of Gay Lea in Teeswater. There are housing initiatives in Blyth, East Wawanosh and M-T, but they are, for the most part, realistically 2 years from availability.
A short term solution being investigated is busing workers in either daily or a week at a time. But again, the housing shortage precludes the weekly routine. That being said, those attending the meetings have decided to try developing a database of locations that current residents would be willing to rent out. If you have an available house, granny flat, apartment, B&B, Air BnB or are even willing to take in a boarder, local employers would like to hear about it. The Wingham BIA has developed an online form where people can register their property. The information would be forwarded to employers needing accommodation for workers. The BIA is assisting in this development, but will not be responsible for the renting as that will be between the employee and property owner.
It’s not only the larger employers having trouble finding workers. Several storefronts in the area have Help Wanted signs displayed. There’s plenty of opportunity for our region to keep growing and there’s a diverse need of employees. If we work together we can keep the local economy booming.
For job postings at the companies listed above and contact information you can check: