Special Areas region joins Alberta Advantage immigration

Written by ECA Review

Special Areas region is participating in the Rural Renewal Stream of the Alberta Advantage Immigration Program, paving the way for communities and businesses in this rural area to draw in newcomers and strengthen their workforce. This designation recognizes the region’s commitment to fostering community-driven strategies for attracting and retaining immigrants.

The announcement was made in a press release on Aug. 11 from Wanda Diakow, Special Areas Economic Development Officer, who highlighted the significance of this initiative for the region’s growth and prosperity.

She stated, “Attracting workers to our rural remote region can be a real challenge for businesses, especially in highly competitive fields like health care. Having the entire Special Areas region designated under the Rural Renewal Stream will help employers to attract and retain workers. We hope this program will help people in our communities to better connect with newcomers and help them put down roots. We want everyone who comes to the region to get to experience all the opportunity that lives here!”

The Rural Renewal Stream of the Alberta Advantage Immigration Program addresses labour shortages and skill gaps within rural areas while providing adequate support for newcomers to integrate into their communities seamlessly. With the Special Areas region’s inclusion in this program, employers now have access to resources and assistance to attract, recruit, and retain workers from outside the region.

Mark Nikota, Economic Development Manager of the Harvest Sky Region, expressed his excitement about the designation in the press release, stating, “The Harvest Sky Region has a long history of working together to overcome challenges and building better communities. This designation means it will be easier for businesses in the region to attract and retain workers and that newcomers need to find the supports they need here. Finding workers has become one of the hardest challenges businesses are facing right now, and we are excited this designation will help showcase all our region has to offer, including our welcoming community spirit.”

The application process for the Rural Renewal Stream involves a comprehensive project plan that outlines recruitment and attraction strategies, services and support for newcomers, settlement plans, and addressing workforce issues. The program supports employers and encourages communities to create an inclusive and welcoming environment for newcomers.

“We look at the communities and we see what the employer needs are,” said Diakow. “We also look at, you know, what different groups are in the community. I’m trying to create a hub, a multicultural hub, so that people feel welcome.”

While the program offers significant advantages, it is important to note that it doesn’t guarantee processing of all applications. Successful applicants must meet specific criteria and fulfill requirements, including an application fee of $500. The program places a strong emphasis on permanent, full-time positions and collaborates with employers to match job opportunities with skilled workers
“That’s why we have the call to action for employers that are looking to fill a full time permanent position,” explained Diakow. “If they contact us, we can put that into our database of jobs that are available.”
Diakow expressed the program will be good for the region.
“If we can attract some newcomers to the region, I think that will be really exciting, and we can show them Alberta’s real lifestyle,” said Diakow.

Jessica Campbell
ECA Review

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