New job search tool provides detailed look at labour market

North Superior Workforce Planning Board created WorkSCAPE, a new online tool for job searching and data collection on workforce development.

THUNDER BAY – A new job search tool will make finding employment opportunities easier for those in the job market, while also providing important data for employers and workforce development.

The North Superior Workforce Planning Board launched WorkSCAPE on Wednesday, a new online job search tool for Northwestern Ontario.

“We believe it will be a game changer for workforce development in the region,” said Anthony Noga, labour market analyst with North Superior Workforce Planning Board. “Best of all, it’s not the final product. The longer it’s active, the more reliable the tool and data will become.”

WorkSCAPE includes several innovative ways to search for career opportunities in the region, including a job board, a jobs map, a sector map, a talent map, and a career explorer.

“We are so excited to bring this suite of tools to our area and find it as informative and useful and fun as we do,” said Madge Richardson, executive director of the North Superior Workforce Planning Board.

There are some features that still require additional data, such as job reports and job demand, and Noga said that will be an ongoing process.

“Anytime a new employer comes in we will add the sector information and anytime a job posting comes up we will check the occupation,” he said. “Luckily a lot of that is automated. That sector map will be continually improved.

“Job demand and job reports will be live in a month so we have that information on what jobs are being posted and what jobs are being searched for.”

The WorkSCAPE tools have been in development for the past several months and the North Superior Workforce Planning Board received funding from the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation to hire a web development intern to ensure the data is vetted and complete.

And while this will be a helpful tool for those in the job market, Richardson said the data collected will also benefit workforce development in the region.

“I think primarily, for any initiatives that we want to bring forward, or lets say we identify a challenge or an opportunity in the labour market, to address a gap, or to be able to fill that gap or add training or accessibility to training, we do need the data to defend that or justify that movement we are taking,” she said.

Richardson added the data will show job trends that are happening in Northern Ontario, specifically the Thunder Bay District, which will allow them to identify what jobs are on the rise and what training is difficult to obtain.

“Then we can work with all of our other partners to see how we might be able to mitigate all the challenges and get it up and running so it is a smoother flow of people accessing what they need to find the job with the qualifications and requirements that they can fill,” she said.

It will also help determine how the labour market is recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, Richardson said, because there are a number of different groups in the region that are looking at recovery initiatives and how to best recover.

“We’ve looked at a number of different things we could do initially,” she said. “Before we have any confidence moving forward, it’s important people respond to the surveys, but that we have that data and the confidence in the data that’s there.”

WorkSCAPE is available on the North Superior Workforce Planning Board website.

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