Stefany Harris/The Oshawa Express
An early morning breakfast and discussion about economics ended with loud applause as the local college was granted a large donation.
Durham College received a $50,000 donation from the TD Bank Group at the annual Economic Outlook Breakfast held at the Jubilee Pavillion.
Last year, the bank contributed $100,000 to the Centre of Collaborative Education at Durham, and now this year the bank has announced the donation of $50,000 in support of the college’s initiative with the Oshawa auto workers retraining program.
In December 2018, General Motors said that Durham College will establish a confidential internet portal to help auto workers identify job openings and begin plans to take retraining courses offered by a group of colleges.
This was a result of the announcement made by GM in November about the closure of its Oshawa plant as part of a global restructuring plan, ending a century of automobile and related manufacturing operations in the city.
Recently, GM stated they will invest $170 million to create 300 new jobs in a new business model that will replace the 2,600 jobs expected to be lost in the plant’s closure.
The cheque was presented to Scott Blakey, chief administrative officer of Durham College and Linda Flynn, associate vice-president by Kevin Rolczewski, manager, one at TD, Neil Raja, district vice-president at TD and Cory Kaiser, leader of the business banking team in Oshawa.
This is an investment the TD Bank Group is very proud of, Kaiser states.
“We are dedicated to creating a condition where we all have the opportunity to succeed with confidence in a changing world. TD has targeted $1 billion in investment by 2030 to communities across our footprint to achieve this goal, and of course that includes Oshawa,” Kaiser said. “Part of this means financial security and providing access to tools and programs to help people live their lives in greater financial confidence. Helping to achieve this goal in skills building and certifications for the jobs of tomorrow, in particular for workers in mid-career, we do this by partnering with institutions like Durham College to meet the needs of our community.”
“GM workers are a significant but small effect on the economy,” said Kyle Benham, director of economic development during his presentation at the breakfast event.
He said that 20,000 jobs could be affected by the shut down of the plant and that the jobs at GM count for three per cent of Oshawa’s employment record.
“We have seen an ongoing decline in certain manufacturing from a jobs perspective, but the changes in the economy have sort of offset all that job loss in the manufacturing sites,” Benham said.
Benham says that during this last five to 10 year period, Oshawa has seen the number of jobs in the community grow to nearly 70,000 and the number of businesses have grown up to more than 10,000.
He suggests that the job cuts in the auto sector will be mitigated by these factors moving forward, noting other manufacturers will be stepping up to introduce more jobs to replace the ones lost at GM.
Oshawa Mayor Dan Carter said that Oshawa has “unbelievable” postsecondary education, great partners, and that the city has a rich history with the automobile industry.
“Great things await us as we enter 2019 and 2020,” said Carter.