Business Walks program gets a new twist

The Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission has added a new component to its Business Walk program in 2015

The Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission has added a new component to its Business Walk program in 2015, with a Manufacturers Business Walk taking place from April 27-May 1 focusing on the human resources needs of manufacturers in the region.

Approximately 50 Central Okanagan manufacturers will be asked about their workforce issues during pre-scheduled interviews over the five days. These include questions about specific jobs they have difficulty filling, succession planning and what assistance would help them attract and retain the employees they need.

The information gained during the HR Business Walk to Manufacturers will be shared with organizations that may be able to provide assistance related to training/certification, recruitment and other areas.  It will also be communicated to the provincial and federal governments as industry intelligence for consideration in policy and program development.

The idea for a Business Walk focusing on human resource issues was inspired by the 2014 study: Growing in the Okanagan – 2020 Labour Market Outlook – the largest study of its kind in the Region.  The need to retain and attract appropriately skilled workers was identified as a major factor in growing the Central Okanagan economy.  Local employers will be facing ever increasing human resource pressures associated with an aging workforce, retirements and the need to develop proactive attraction, recruitment and retention strategies. At the same time, the majority of employers do not have a human resources plan or a succession plan.

The Central Okanagan Business Walk program is powered by the Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission which launched the first Business Walk in Canada in October, 2012.  The program is a partnership between the Economic Development Commission, Business Improvement Associations, Westbank First Nation and Chambers of Commerce/Board of Trade throughout the region.  Since its inception, Business Walks have been conducted in approximately 15 communities in British Columbia and Alberta.

The annual non-sector specific Central Okanagan Business Walk will be held once again on October 1, 2015 and is expected to result in up to 400 businesses surveyed.  Another sector-specific Business Walk to the Tourism/Hospitality sector is planned for November, 2015.

—provided by the Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission

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