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From the Desk of the CEO Jill Raycroft

Another exciting week!  We're making the news again for all the right reasons!  Belleville's own (and Chamber Member) Cloud Bookkeeping has won intuit QuickBooks' Global Firm of the Future award!  Congratulations to Tanya & Leanne and their team (who are reveling in the reveal of their win in sunny California)!  Just like the Field of Ability, our community voted to make this happen!!!  Not only did those who supported this contest put Belleville on the international stage, you helped entrepreneurs from underserved communities around the world because for every vote and social share, a donation from Intuit will be made to Kiva.org.

Of course, we also need to congratulate MPP Todd Smith on his new appointment as the Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade!  While Bill 47 and the repeal of the minimum wage has been met with mixed feelings, the announcement today regarding the ultimate closure of the College of Trades has Chambers across the province cheering!  Your membership here supports our membership in the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and each spring, we repeat the need to have this issue brought forward at Queen's Park. 

The College of Trades is not the only stumbling block in the advancement of skilled trades but it has been a large one for the past 9 years. Apprenticeships for certified skilled trades has been a challenge for many years and many in the field of skilled trades have felt it mostly in their pockets and their potential to build a business (or, retire).  The process of becoming an apprentice and registering within a program falls far outside the local community college's jurisdiction, controlled by the Ministry (of Advanced Education and Skills Development) which has effectively limited entry into the field for years.  It's a complex system that isn't helped by a lack of accessibility or promotion - but these are really good jobs and with the number of independent businesses with owners ready to retire, a skilled trade these days can quickly move someone into owning an established business.  Currently, ratios can be as high as 5 (licensed) to 1 (apprentice) - the 1:1 ratio will allow smaller shops to train their successors and is the first step in what may be a long journey. I am looking forward to seeing if this will open the opportunity for Loyalist to deliver an apprenticeship program in at least one of the compulsory construction trades.  To get an idea of how many trades there are in Ontario - take a look at the link here

And before I head off to the Chamber Executives of Ontario conference (where I always gain inspiration to help serve you better) - a quick shout out to the Remarkable Women in Quinte being recognized this week.  Kristin Crowe will be speaking and while a number of remarkable women have been nominated, I hope you'll appreciate my biased support for our own Susan Walsh (Special Events Coordinator).  She's all heart and soul for this community and I'm so happy she's been included in this year's group!  

Have a great week!