The combination of the pandemic and longstanding workforce shortages in the Elk Valley means that initiatives to attract more workers is all the more important according to Brad Parsell of the Fernie Chamber of Commerce.
“(We’re) in a really vulnerable position looking down the barrel of the winter season,” said Parsell.
All the better then, that the chamber launched an Elk Valley-specific workforce attraction website in late June designed to advertise all the benefits of living and working in the Elk Valley.
“(The chamber) never intended to launch (the website) in the middle of a pandemic,” said Parsell, who added that even so, “the response has been really positive,” with lots of jobs posted so far.
Parsell said that local interest in the website had been really positive as local businesses sought more avenues to advertise positions available, and workers in search of their next dream job can find the right place to go.
“COVID has made the project even more worth it”, said Parsell, who added that from the chambers point of view, the longer the website was up and the more traffic it received, the better the data the chamber had access to to understand the workforce, and help local businesses.
“Labor shortage has been a problem in Fernie for a long, long time.”
A new tool added since the soft launch of the website in June is the “buy a business” tool, which Parsell said “recognizes that in the next 12 months a lot of people might walk away from their businsses.
“The last thing we want to see in the Chamber of Commerce is empty storefronts in Fernie,” so making it easier for visitors to the website not only find work, but maybe even work for themselves as a business owner was an important tool.
As of writing, the only posting on the “buy a business” page is Mugshots Cafe – which readers can find on the front page as being under new management.