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Business Beat: What’s Your Workforce Vision for 2020?

A new year always presents an opportunity to reflect on the past and set goals for the upcoming months. Even though it will soon be 2020, you may feel planning for the future is anything but clear, but the importance of forecasting and strategizing cannot be overlooked. This is especially true for businesses in our region when it comes to workforce development.

The recent Business Retention Expansion and Workforce Development (BREWD) project led by the Invest Southeast Alberta partners, surveyed almost 500 companies in southeast Alberta. From this data, businesses overwhelmingly stated that to help them grow and succeed they needed assistance with worker training, and in some cases, worker attraction. Specifically, companies reported that after the economy slowdown, their biggest barrier to business expansion was a lack of qualified labour.

In response, the leadership team of Invest Southeast Alberta will be conducting a research review meeting towards the end of January that will help in the advancement of a regional workforce development strategy. Invites will be sent to those business owners who participated, but also to HR professionals, and employment and training service providers who work with both industry and job seekers.

This meeting will provide an overview of the results of the survey data and preliminary research, but will also identify current regional workforce development resources that employers can access. Finally, stakeholders will also work together to develop a listing of potential workforce projects that can address the needs identified in the report.

If you are an employer who participated in the BREWD survey or you have pressing labour needs, we strongly encourage you to attend. By working together, we will be able to identify opportunities and shape project-based solutions to inform, attract, develop and retain our workforce. More details will follow in early January 2020, but in the meantime visit for more information or connect with me at

It is hard to know what the future holds, but as the old quote from Benjamin Franklin states “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” Let’s work together to make 2020 the year of workforce and business success in southeast Alberta.

Tracy Stroud is manager of business development at Medicine Hat College.

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