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Feds give $5.8M to Elevate for skills program targeting underrepresented groups

Aims to bridge gaps in technical skills, find workers to fill open jobs in tech sector


TORONTO — The federal government says it will invest more than $5.8 million on a new program helping jobseekers from underrepresented communities reskill and find employment in Ontario.

The program will be called Elevate Talent and will be run by Elevate, a Toronto technology conference that launched an innovation hub with year-round programming during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The government and Elevate say the program will support about 5,300 job seekers in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area from underrepresented communities including people who are Black, Indigenous, of colour, 2SLGBTQ+ and francophone.

Participants will be given opportunities to upgrade their skills and matched with technology, innovation, creative and startup job openings.

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The government and Elevate say the program will help bridge gaps in technical skills and find workers to fill some of the 70,000 open jobs in the GTHA’s technology sector.

The government’s investment is being made through FedDev Ontario, a federal program supporting the economy and innovation in southern Ontario, and will be joined by $350,000 from the City of Toronto for community initiatives including Elevate Talent.

Elevate co-founder and CEO Razor Suleman says the program is part of the work the country has to do to make sure the tech sector is as diverse as Canada.

“Increasing representation in Canada’s tech sector needs all the support we can generate,” he says, in a release.

“We know there are roles to fill, and we also know we have untapped talent disconnected from opportunities.”