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City, Chamber hopeful Grande Prairie will benefit from new jobs program

The City of Grande Prairie and the Grande Prairie & District Chamber of Commerce are confident that local businesses will benefit from the new provincial training grant program.

Through the Alberta Jobs Now program announced Wednesday, private and non-profit businesses can apply for a grant to cover 25 per cent of an employee’s salary for a 52 week period, with a maximum cap for each employee of $25,000. To be eligible, they must use the funding to hire unemployed Albertans in a new or vacant position and the new hire must not have worked for the employer within the past 90 days.

Both Mayor Jackie Clayton and Chamber Chair Chair Larry Gibson suggest the Alberta Jobs Now program will help fill the gaps from other similar programs to help the economy recover. Clayton adds that employers who hire someone with a disability will receive a grant 1.5 times higher than the amount they receive for other new employees.

“It’s a great opportunity for people who are either a rehire, underemployed, unemployed, or look at hiring people with disabilities.”

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Clayton says this program will help create jobs that have a direct impact on the community. She adds that businesses can hire up to a maximum of 20 new employees.

“Whether it’s through getting people back to work or new training.”

Gibson says he believes that the training program grant will help get residents back to work and keep businesses going.

“Being that they can use it for some training as well in there gives them that ability to train the individuals and maybe some new applications or new innovation that they’ve been thinking about into their business.”

Gibson says he believes that some of the other programs are more suitable for the unemployed, so some of the underemployed individuals may not qualify.

“Having that ability to open it up to that broadens the scope and hopefully can impact a lot more people,” he adds. “It’s definitely another tool in their toolbox that they can use to put people back to work and keep their businesses going.”

Gibson is reminding businesses looking for help in understanding what programs they qualify for to connect with the chamber. He adds that they will help educate so employers can learn what program will best suit their company.

Business owners are able to apply starting Wednesday, May 20th, until August 31, 2021. A second intake for grant applications will open on September 15th and close on December 31st. The Alberta government says this program will provide up to $370 million in funding.

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