Penticton to take closer look at local job market

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PENTICTON - The need to help local employers find and keep skilled workers has the City of Penticton looking to conduct some labour market research.

In an effort to help local employers the City of Penticton recently put out two request for proposals, one to conduct labour market research and a second looking for a consultant for the labour market project. Both closed this week.

City of Penticton Economic Development Officer Colleen Pennington says the two proposal requests were issued in order to start gathering more specific information surrounding labour conditions in the Penticton region.

“We want to know more about the challenges that businesses have, relative to attracting qualified, specialized talent, and to get a better understanding of the types of employees — full time, part time, seasonal — that kind of thing,” Pennington says.

The city plans to have a 'statistically significant' survey done in Penticton and the nearby communities of Naramata and Summerland.

A committee, composed of a number of businesses and organizations throughout the South Okanagan, has already met once and will provide the guiding hand for the study to ensure the consultant comes up with a three-year plan meant to ensure local businesses have the talent they need.

The market research is complementary to the city’s current initiative to entice virtual workers to set up their homebase in Penticton.

“Project entrepreneur is a strategic plan for economic development. It was identified that one of the issues we have in the city is a ‘trailing spouse’ issue. We have businesses that need a specialized talent, but this is a two-income community,” she says.

Pennington says the city needs to create a supportive work environment that supports not just the individual being recruited, but the entire family. She says attracting virtual workers helps the city grow its base of citizens.

Summerland and Osoyoos are partners in the city’s research, and Pennington is hopeful the regional district and possibly Oliver will get on board as well. 

To contact the reporter for this story, email Steve Arstad at or call 250-488-3065. To contact the editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

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