The Gravenhurst Economic Development Team has Programs to Assist Local Businesses Find and Retain New Employees.
Muskoka is known for picturesque views, year-round recreation and of course, waterfront cottaging in the summer. For many years Gravenhurst was considered a seasonal destination operating from May to September with businesses employing local and seasonal students to fill gaps in retail and accommodations during the high season.
In the last decade, Gravenhurst has grown into a year round destination with a population of 13,000. Investments in the community and growth in local sectors has seen more young families, young professionals and active retirees move to the area, resulting in a need for a talented and skilled full-time workforce.
The challenge today, finding and keeping employees, continues to be one of the biggest struggles for businesses throughout the province and the reasons for this are sometimes shared from place to place but can also be very specific to the area, requiring more local solutions.
To assist local businesses, the Town of Gravenhurst launched a set of three employee support programs based on feedback received from employers through the annual business review surveys. These three programs are to alleviate challenges with retaining new employees to the area because of housing, integration into the community or spouse’s transition;
Settlement Services – connects a new employee to local property owners and managers or real estate agents to find appropriate housing, whether that be transitional, a long-term rental, or to purchase a permanent residence.
Community FAM Tour – a personal one-on-one tour of the Town and its history, introducing the new employee to specific places, people and resources depending on their unique interests and needs.
Trailing Spouses Assistance – This program assists the spouse of the new employee directly to find their own meaningful connections and/or employment. Often those relocating for a new job have a family.
“Moving to the area with very little local knowledge or personal connections made finding a place to live very difficult,” said Mike Kalfus, President of Muskoka Springs and General Manager Muskoka for The Rosseau Group. “Working with the Economic Development Team resulted in a number of potential rental leads. Ultimately, I found a home that fit my needs. Finding this place allowed me to stay close to work and help our company continue to grow.”
Employers simply have to nominate a new employee by signing them up using the online form or sending an email to the Economic Development Team.
Consultations with businesses related to workforce challenges continue. The Economic Development Team recently completed a report to summarize discussions with local employers and to provide next steps with proposed action items for their 2020 work plan.
“Such programs have organically always been part of our core economic development services, however we felt after these barriers continued to be identified, we needed to formalize these initiatives and better promote their availability in Gravenhurst,” said Glen B. Davies, Town of Gravenhurst, Chief Administrative Officer.
For more information about doing business in Gravenhurst visit www.gravenhurst.ca/doingbusiness