Strengthening connectivity between businesses and post-secondary institutions

Advocacy is one of the key roles played by the Whitby Chamber of Commerce (WCC) on behalf of our members. This can take many forms, including working with the Province of Ontario to constructively inform the policy development process and advocate for an environment that fosters conditions for businesses to thrive. The chamber does this directly, but also in partnership with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC).

At the most recent OCC annual general meeting, the WCC tabled “Strengthen Connectivity Between Businesses and Post-Secondary Institutions,” a policy resolution to address a specific theme we regularly hear from members: access to job-ready employees is critical to the success of their business.

We are very fortunate in Durham Region to have three amazing post-secondary institutions — Ontario Tech University, Durham College and Trent University — all of which work diligently to create opportunities for students to work with businesses prior to graduation. These students, or student teams, work with businesses to get hands-on experience. This helps ensure they are ready to hit the ground running after graduation.

The resolution was developed when we learned there was a lack of awareness among businesses for the opportunities and programs available in working with post-secondary institutions. Taking on students helps bridge this gap and adds value to businesses at the same time. The resolution focused on urging the province to continue to encourage work-integrated-learning in its many forms and raise awareness of the value of these opportunities. Taking these steps will further support our business community, and ultimately the overall economy.

– Matthew Mackenzie, Government Relations Officer at Ontario Tech University and member of the Whitby Chamber of Commerce’s Board of Directors and Advocacy Committee

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