A Manitoba community is looking to attract more workers to fill a labor shortage, and to do so, the city council works to remove a potential barrier.

Niverville Mayor Myron Dyck told Global News the city covers the cost of English lessons for potential new workers who may not be proficient enough in the language to be hired in various fields.

“It kind of started with a phone call from a business owner who contacted me and said he was having trouble finding employees,” Dyck said, “to the point where they were going to (Winnipeg) to pick up people and bring them to work.

“On top of that, there was some concern that employees who might be available that they might hire, that they just weren’t sure they had enough English skills to be hired.”

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Dyck said Niverville council had approached local chambers of commerce with the idea of ​​offering language lessons to help potential employees, and everyone was on board.

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The project is partly linked to a strategic plan developed by Niverville in 2009, he said, which aimed to diversify the mainly residential town to include more of a business community.

“We’ve made a concerted effort to grow our business community,” he said, “and that sort of goes hand in hand with our residency – you can’t have a business if you don’t have employees…and, of course, customers.

“Everyone is looking for workers in a variety of fields. What I’ve heard from different business owners is that anything that can be done to help them tap into a larger pool of potential employees is welcome.

Dyck said an instructor has been hired and English classes are scheduled to take place this fall.

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