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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

Niagara College’s Community Employment Services helps job-seekers, employers navigate COVID-19 challenges

CES to offer free, online workshops for job-seekers via Zoom throughout May

With Niagara’s employment picture strained amid health and safety measures related to COVID-19, Niagara College’s Community Employment Services (CES) remains steadfast in its mission to help job-seekers and employers navigate these challenging times. CES has flexed its downtown St. Catharines operations to offer employment services and counselling support virtually.

CES is offering virtual one-on-one appointments with an employment advisor to help job-seekers develop a return to work action plan, write a resume and cover letter, discover careers in line with interests and skills and explore job opportunities and training options.

“We are ready and willing to help anyone with questions they may have related to job loss during COVID-19,” said Rebecca Nicholls, manager, NC’s Community Employment Programs and Services. “These are challenging times and we want to help alleviate any stress.”

Many of the clients that Nicholls’ team help are facing unique employment challenges. Those who have been laid off are seeking help to file an EI claim online. Others need support for their basic needs and mental health services.

While many in Niagara have lost their employment due to the closure of non-essential businesses, Nicholls says a small number of permanent and temporary jobs are cropping up with essential service industries. This includes positions in retail (mostly grocery and pharmacy positions), long-term care homes (as staff are no longer able to work at more than one location), customer service (call centres and e-commerce) and agriculture. Also, many local organizations are seeking delivery drivers, as retailers and restauranteurs have transitioned their operations to delivery and curb-side pickup only.

“In addition to helping clients find employment opportunities, we’re offering virtual training and skills development programs that they can take advantage of at this time to prepare for when hiring ramps up again.”

Beginning in May, CES will host several workshops for job-seekers via teleconferencing app Zoom, on topics including customer service, communication, workplace expectations, teamwork, self-employment, small business strategy, and more. The sessions are all free, and anyone interested can register online or with the workshop date and time of their choice. A full list of workshops is available at

Support for employers

Like job-seekers, employers are facing unprecedented times. Some employers are struggling with staff shortages due to childcare and school closures, as well as those on sick leave. Small businesses need support to navigate government grants and wage subsidies to assist with hiring, while essential service employers are in need of financial support to increase their workforce capacity to meet new demands.

“We’re helping employers take proactive steps to prepare for when the list of essential services is expanded,” said Nicholls

One strategy employers are taking is to provide training opportunities for staff who have been temporarily laid off.

“Agriculture companies are seeking AZ licensing, for example, and manufacturing companies are training staff on new software,” said Nicholls. Others are providing training for administrative roles (Microsoft Word, Excel), welding, and advanced training in the education sector.

Niagara College’s Community Employment Services is open virtually on weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call or text 905-932-1849, or email Their website lists current job postings, job search resources, and COVID-19-specific help for both job-seekers and employers.

Niagara College offers more than 130 diploma, bachelor degree and advanced level programs; as well as more than 600 credit, vocational and general interest Part-Time Studies courses. Areas of specialization include food and wine sciences, advanced technology, media, applied health and community safety, supported by unique learning enterprises in food, wine, beer, distilling, horticulture and esthetics. For more information visit 

Media inquiries, please contact:

Jessica Torok
Communications Specialist
Niagara College
Cell: 519-809-7634

Michael Wales
Manager, Communications
Niagara College                                                                                                                                    
Cell: 905-328-4101

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