Ingrid Argyle and Mark Hoddenbagh have been working on the program proposal since September.
Ingrid Argyle and Mark Hoddenbagh have been working on the program proposal since September.
Ingrid Argyle and Mark Hoddenbagh have been working on the program proposal since September.

The college has been selected by the province to pilot a Local Employment Planning Council program that will help connect local job seekers – including Algonquin’s own students – with potential employers in the Ottawa area.

This is one of eight LEPC programs across Ontario that is meant to improve local labour market information and modernize employment and training services in the area. They will do this by gathering information pertaining to the local job market and making it available to job seekers and employers.

There are also LEPC programs running in Durham, Peel-Halton, Windsor, Peterborough, Timmins, Thunder Bay and London-Middlesex-Oxford-Elgin.

Ottawa’s LEPC differs from its counterparts because it is the only one that is being run through a college, according to executive director Mark Hoddenbagh. Hoddenbagh began working with program manager Ingrid Argyle on the proposal for the program in September, and after an extensive bidding process, Algonquin was chosen to pilot the program for the Ottawa area.

“We had a proposal that was inclusive of the community,” Hoddenbagh said. “It was very attractive to the industry.”

Running the program through the college will bring more employers to campus and provide visibility for the college and its students, said Argyle. “We can use the college communications to keep students plugged in to what’s going on.”

Hoddenbagh is also optimistic that running the LEPC program through the college will be helpful to students who will eventually be looking for employment in their field.

“It will help students understand the job market so they know what they’re looking for when they graduate,” he said. “They will know what employers are looking for. We plan on making the information more readily accessible to give students the tools to make professional choices.”

Hoddenbagh said the program, which is working alongside Labour Market Ottawa, is currently in its initiation phase. They are working with the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities to provide deliverables for the initial start-up period that ends on March 31. After that, they will be able to continue working with Labour Market Ottawa to gather information about Ottawa’s job market and to fund external projects.

LEPCs will establish themselves as hubs for connecting employers to a wider range of employment and training services, said Tanya Blazina, who also works with the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities. “LEPCs are an important step forward in our strategy to promote access to credible, high quality labour market information to help Ontarians – including Algonquin students – make informed decisions about their education, training and careers.”