News Releases

News Release - Manitoba

August 2, 2023

Manitoba Government Announces Investment to Support Workforce Development in Rural and Northern Communities

– – –
New Funding of $3.3 Million Will Ensure Delivery of Training, Education to Help Industry Meet Labour Market Needs in High-Demand Areas: Wharton

The Manitoba government is investing more than $1.7 million through a new $10-million Labour Market Fund and $1.6 million in capital funding to support delivery of new and enhanced training for high-demand occupations in rural and northern communities, Economic Development, Investment and Trade Minister Jeff Wharton announced today.

“Our government remains committed to partnering with colleges and universities to ensure students have access to leading-edge, high-quality education and training opportunities that set them up for rewarding careers,” said Wharton. “In turn, we are building a workforce with the skills and talent needed to sustain the economic momentum we have generated in Manitoba’s northern and rural communities.”

The Manitoba government is providing $381,000 through the Labour Market Fund to add a total of 28 seats to two information technology (IT) programs at University College of the North (UCN) in The Pas including:

  • twelve new seats in the information technology readiness program, which provides foundational skills needed to succeed in the IT industry, with a focus on empowering Indigenous women by providing training in a supported environment; and
  • sixteen seats to the IT support technician program, which enables graduates to confidently perform duties in any entry-level IT support role.

“UCN’s overall goal is to support communities and employers to develop a skilled workforce aligned with the ever-expanding opportunities in Manitoba’s north,” said Doug Lauvstad, president, UCN. “This funding from the Manitoba government helps us to deliver on that commitment. There is an unprecedented opportunity for economic growth in northern Manitoba, but economic development must be preceded by people development. We are encouraged and grateful for the government’s support in developing critical skills needed in our region.”

The investments will help to develop a stable and skilled workforce to support significant capital investments in mining, which relies heavily on information technology, the minister noted.

“The mining sector in Manitoba contributes significantly to the provincial economy and the workforce need for skilled labour in this area continues to grow,” said Wharton. “This investment will ensure more women in northern Manitoba, including Indigenous women, have the skills needed to access good jobs in high demand sectors, including mining.”

The Manitoba government is also providing UCN with $1 million to further strengthen capacity for workforce development in the north in support of economic growth, the minister added.

“Investments in education are investments in the future,” said Stacy Kennedy, head of operations in Manitoba, Vale. “These funds today will help build the jobs, prosperity and the innovation of tomorrow to ensure families and industries in our rural and northern communities continue to thrive.”

Assiniboine Community College (ACC) in Brandon is receiving $335,900 through the fund to add 14 seats to its horticulture production program at its Parkland campus in Dauphin, bringing program capacity to 21. Graduates of the program will receive training to work in jobs such as junior growers, greenhouse gardeners and warehouse supervisors.

The Manitoba government is also providing up to $1.6 million in capital funding to ACC to support the creation of a new 24-seat mechatronics engineering technology program. The minister noted the new three-year program will build broad employability skills that will enable graduates to work in a number of related occupations, specifically supporting Manitoba’s food processing and manufacturing industries.

Mechatronics is an interdisciplinary area of engineering that combines mechanical and electrical engineering, and computer science. The investment will support the purchase of lab equipment, complete building renovations, and acquire training aids in time to admit students to the program in the fall of 2024, the minister said.

“We are proud of the programs we’ve built in sustainable foods and horticulture as part of the Russ Edwards School of Agriculture and Environment. This expansion to our Parkland campus in Dauphin helps to meet the need of the growing greenhouse and food development industry there,” said Mark Frison, president, ACC. “Our mechatronics offering is critical to support evolving manufacturing, processing, and food development sectors in Manitoba. It is a critical program to support industrial automation and help the sectors be competitive.”

The $10-million Labour Market Fund is a Budget 2023 commitment and builds on Manitoba’s Skills, Talent and Knowledge Strategy to provide strategic direction to publicly funded post-secondary institutions, and outline actions needed to accelerate recovery, advance Manitoba’s economy, and promote positive outcomes. The strategy includes targeted actions to strengthen alignment between post-secondary institutions, immigration, training and employment services, and labour market needs.

The fund supports new and enhanced training and education for high-demand occupations in agriculture, northern development, education, community wellness and health care. The fund has now been fully allocated for the 2023-24 fiscal year, the minister said.

For more information about Manitoba’s Skills, Talent and Knowledge Strategy, visit

- 30 -