Job vacancies, hiring rates in Sioux Lookout have remained consistent
Reeti Meenakshi Rohilla - Staff Writer
Sioux-Hudson Employment Services continues to offer their services virtually. Sioux-Hudson Employment Services Program Manager Roxanne Hammond said, “We want to try to answer questions, we want to try to find solutions to problems that are coming up as a result of the pandemic, and we recognize that everyone’s situation is different and there is a different, creative solution for everyone, and we are here to help with that.”
The free and confidential service offers a Resource Centre for the public to access computers, resources and information to assist with job searches. Employment Counselors at the service are equipped to assist with job searches, career exploration and other employment endeavors. Hammond said that the counselors with a background in Human Services, Social Services, and a designation in addictions counseling, could also assist with other social supports.
“Our counselors can assist with other social supports that can impact an individual’s ability to enter into, or remain in the workforce such as support with mental health, addiction, housing, acclimation to the community and available community support services, budgeting, child care and other children’s programming etcetera. In the event that a person requires more intensive support and/or intervention, our counselors will assist with referral to partner support services. Our goal is to assist job seekers to secure employment and assist those already in the workforce, to retain employment,” shared Hammond.
Hammond clarified that counseling services are in the context of employment service. Recognizing the fact that mental health plays a huge role in one’s ability to seek and maintain employment, she said that their counselors are generalists who could be able to offer a little more than simple job seeking. She said, “They are general practitioners in the area of mental health, and so they would be able to assist with basic services in basic crisis stabilization.”
Hammond shared that the pandemic has resulted in a number of job seekers, employees and employers reaching out for assistance with accessing government programming such as the CERB (Canada Emergency Response Benefit) in the event of disruption in employment, emergency loan program for business, job searching for temporary and permanent employment, information on employee and employer expectations as it pertains to health and safety in the workplace, like social distancing, hand washing, disinfecting protocols, limiting number of persons in employment settings, working from home arrangements etc.
Hammond said, “Ironically enough, Sioux Lookout has been really lucky in that our job vacancies and our hiring rates have remained consistent throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Right now on our website, we have a 160 vacancies available. So, really our economy is still going along very well, considering that we are in a pandemic… A lot of our organizations and businesses have sort of been ramping up to provide services in the pandemic, and so, employers are struggling more than ever to fill the vacant positions. People aren’t moving around as much as they were. So relocating to Sioux Lookout, recruiting people from outside of our community with COVID is a little bit more of a challenge.”
Hammond shared that they are also receiving telephone calls from people where they have been displaced, whether they’ve been laid off temporarily or permanently, and their hours been decreased. She added, “But we are also, on the other side of that, seeing a healthy job market that we can work with those individuals to try and find alternate employment opportunities.”
Hammond said that there is everything from entry-level positions for people that are new to the workforce, to the highest-level professions that require degrees and certifications to enter into. She added that this is something that Sioux Lookout has seen for a very long time and that hasn’t changed during COVID.
Hammond said, “I think in working with other locations in Ontario, where people have been displaced from their jobs because of the extended stay at home order, they are also seeing a greater stop in their economy and they don’t have a lot of other positions which they can refer people to. Whereas in Sioux Lookout, we’ve been very lucky as we still seem to have a lot of vacancies.”
Hammond said that they are striving to connect people with the supports needed, and hopefully also serve the local employment needs, so that those positions don’t go unfilled and services aren’t interrupted. Sioux-Hudson Employment Services can be reached at (807) 737-1672, [email protected], or they can be messaged on their Sioux Lookout Jobs Facebook Page.