OVIN Regional Future Workforce Program: Grants to Encourage Youth Towards Automotive Sector

Joining the list of Automotive Funding Programs is the new Ontario Vehicle Innovation Network (OVIN) Regional Future Workforce (RFW) Program.

As mentioned in our Women in Skilled Trades Initiative blog, a growing need has been identified to diversify skilled trades sectors and help more people learn about careers such as those in the manufacturing sector. The OVIN RFW Program aims to focus specifically on tackling these core challenges by educating youth while they are students to broaden their options for future careers with education about the automotive and mobility sector. 

The OVIN RFW Program aims to encourage students of all ages in Ontario to pursue careers in the automotive and mobility sector by providing eligible applicants with up to $500,000 per project that create and host engaging initiatives that educate youth.  

Through this program’s successful projects, which are designed to both educate and encourage Ontario’s youth, including under-represented groups such as women and people with disabilities, the OVIN RFW Program additionally seeks to gather further insights about the gaps that exist between industry and academia. This will help enhance future programs that will equip Ontario’s next generations with skills and knowledge required for the automotive sector’s trajectory.

About the OVIN Regional Future Workforce Program

The Regional Future Workforce (RFW) Program is part of the Ontario Vehicle Innovation Network (OVIN) cluster of funding programs including the OVIN Talent Development Program and the OVIN WinterTech Development Program. The program’s overall goal is to encourage youth of all ages, from kindergarten to post-secondary, to explore the possibility of careers in the automotive and mobility industry and bridge the gap that currently exists between sector and students.

The eligible funding projects will focus on reducing the stigma associated with skilled trades and automotive industry careers by developing and implementing hiring and training programs at the root of career learning. 

Funding Amount

The maximum funding that an eligible applicant can receive is $500,000, regardless of how many audience program segments are created per the program’s eligibility. 

Eligible Applicants

An applicant must meet the following criteria to be considered eligible for this funding, including that they must be a(n):

  • Ontario based post-secondary education institution; or
  • Non-Profit Organization that;
    – have an Ontario-based bank account, and
    – run education programs for kindergarten to post-secondary students in Ontario; or
  • Elementary or secondary public school, or school board, from across Ontario.

To be eligible for the program, it should also be noted that applicants are required to partner with at least one organization when developing and implementing their program. Partners are expected to consult on program development to ensure it is in response to an industry skills/talent need.

Eligible partner organizations must be Ontario–based and one of the following:

  • An automotive and mobility industry member, including Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), Tier 1 suppliers, and relevant industry associations; or
  • An elementary and secondary public school, school board, or post-secondary institution.

Eligible Activities

Eligible applicants must develop and implement educational programs that:

  • Engage a minimum of 500 students;
  •  Are of no cost for students to participate;
  • Apply for at least two audience segments under one program application with unique program content for each audience segment. The audience segments are:
    1. Kindergarten to Grade 4 
    2. Grade 5 to Grade 9  
    3. Grade 10 to Grade 12 
    4. Post-secondary;
  • Demonstrate experience in creating similar initiatives for targeted audiences ranging from kindergarten to post-secondary; and
  • Engage students from underrepresented groups in their area including but not limited to:
    – Women
    – Black, Indigenous & people of colour (BIPOC) communities
    – 2SLGBTQ+
    – People with disabilities
    – Immigrants/refugees/newcomers to Canada
    – French-speakers
    – Those living in remote areas
    – Those living in under-served communities (in this context, populations of people who face additional barriers to accessing learning or educational opportunities such as those with low socio-economic status).

Funding Program Timeline

To apply for OVIN RFW Program funding, an applicant must first submit an expression of interest (EOI) form by November 30, 2022. Please note that completion of this form does not constitute an application for funding. If your business requires funding support in the EOI and application process, please connect with the Mentor Works team.

For more details about the OVIN RFW Program, please see the official Program Guidelines. If an application is selected to advance, the OCI Program Manager will send an invitation to complete a full application. Successful applicants will have until December 15, 2023, to complete their program. 

Government Funding for Skilled Trades Labour Shortage

As referenced to in our blog titled The APMA: Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Fund to Foster a Younger Automotive Sector, there is a growing demand to attract young and new talent to automotive sector jobs because the talent pool continues to shrink more and more while automotive vacancies are going unfilled for long durations.

While there is a labour shortage across many industries, skilled trades positions are at the top of the list. These jobs have long been filled predominately by men, and so government funding is being invested to try and promote the sector to more diverse groups.  

To learn more about automotive business funding, and government funding that can offset challenges caused by the labour market shortage, browse the Mentor Works Government Funding Directory and discover which grants and loans can support your business goals.

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