New funds to help local businesses

·2 min read

The head of the Grande Prairie and District Chamber of Commerce is hoping $370 million in new funding from the province will help local businesses, particularly restaurants and gyms.

Larry Gibson, chamber chair, said he hopes local businesses will take advantage of the program meant to stimulate the economy and get people back to work.

The Alberta Jobs Now program was rolled out last Wednesday.

The $370 million grant program will be tagged for hiring unemployed and underemployed Albertans.

The grant will cover 25 per cent of an employee's salary or up to $25,000 for a year, including training costs.

Employers can apply for up to 20 new hires per intake period. The first intake runs from May 20 till Aug. 31, with an additional intake beginning Sept. 15 and will close on Dec. 31.

"If (restaurants and gyms) are allowed to open back up, this certainly is going to help them to support some of those wages that they're going to have when they bring staff back on," said

Gibson.

The grant is open both private sector and non-profit businesses; they must hire workers who reside and work in the Alberta.

Gibson noted that there are many grants opened up to non-profits, who have survived by cutting costs in reorganizing and downsizing staff. He said he hopes businesses will take advantage of this grant to get some of those people back to work.

The funding for the grant comes in part from the federal government, with $185 million from the Workforce Development Agreement and the remainder $185 million from provincial funds.

Businesses interested in applying can apply at alberta.ca/jobsnow.

Gibson added that the Grande Prairie and District Chamber of Commerce is available here to help businesses. If employers have questions, they should reach out to the chamber through its website or call the Chamber office.

"We can certainly help them (businesses) navigate through all the programs that are out there and this one particularly as well,” he said.

In April, the unemployment rate in Alberta sat at nine per cent, according to a release from the provincial government.

Jesse Boily, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Town & Country News

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting