On Wednesday, May 15th, 2019, we were very excited and honoured to watch Francesco Sobara, MP for Vaughan-Woodbridge, highlight the BOLT Charitable Foundation in the House of Commons.
It is an initiative close to our hearts. When the BOLT Program was created ten years ago, with a vision to create avenues to success for under-resourced youth who had the desire but were not aware of the opportunities available in the construction industry, it was a natural “fit” for us. Youth looking for opportunity. An industry needing skilled professionals. The rest, as they say, was history.
In Ontario alone, it is estimated that 91,000 construction workers are expected to retire over the decade, leaving a large gap in the workforce that will need to be filled. In fact, in a recent survey by The Ontario Construction Secretariat, 72% of contractors listed the recruitment of skilled workers as their biggest concern. And this is not an issue limited to Ontario or even Canada. This is a global issue.
As an industry leader in building and developing condominium communities, we have been a witness to the rising concerns of our industry and it is in this gap that the vision for the BOLT Program was born in 2009. Since it’s founding, the BOLT Charitable Foundation has awarded over 342 scholarships, helped connect more than 80 youth to apprenticeships and provided educational awareness to countless more.
It is for these reasons we were grateful to Mr. Sorbara, who also serves as the chair of the Housing Affordability Caucus for the Government of Canada, for his work in helping bridge this gap between what our province needs to maintain a strong, economic construction sector and to support youth employment in meaningful careers. It is this type of leadership and commitment to youth and industry in our province that will ensure a healthy and successful construction sector in Ontario. As Mr. Sobara noted in his speech, ” This Tridel initiative is a perfect example of how industry, government, and unions come together to address two critical issues facing Canadians: youth unemployment and the need for young adults to enter the skilled trades.”
About Francesco Sobara
Francesco Sobara, MP is the Member of Parliament for Vaughan-Woodbridge and sits on the House of Commons Standing Committee of Finance and the Subcommittee on Agenda and Procedure of the Standing Committee on Finance. He is Chair of the Canada-Italy Inter-Parliamentary Group, Vice-Chair of the Canada-United States Inter-Parliamentary Group, and Executive Member of the Canada-Europe Parliamentary Association. A first-generation Canadian, his parents came to Canada from southern Italy 50 years ago. Settling in Prince Rupert, his father joined the Carpenters and Sheet Metal Workers’ Union and his mother worked in the local cannery and as a dietician’s aid, all while raising three boys. The values of hard work, family and a sense of community that his parents brought with them to Canada were instilled in Francesco and his brothers from an early age.
About the BOLT Charitable Foundation
The BOLT Charitable Foundation was launched by Tridel in 2009, and was established as a charitable foundation on January 1st, 2013. It started as a simple concept; to provide awareness and learning opportunities for youth associated with The Children’s Aid Society of Toronto to the field of construction. By establishing additional community, government and industry partnerships, the BOLT Program has since expanded to reach an even broader range of youth. Through various fundraising events supported by our industry and trade partners, and through Tridel’s internal fundraising initiatives, BOLT has provided over 342 scholarships for postsecondary education and training for those deserving youth interested in pursuing a career in construction. BOLT goes ‘beyond the classroom,’ to help connect under-resourced youth to meaningful and rewarding employment in the industry.
[1.] CBC News, March 13, 2019. “Ontario contractors say shortage of skilled labour slowing growth of companies”
[2.] The Ontario Construction Secretariat, 2019 Contractor Survey