IBM boosts workforce with cash from Quebec govt

A Quebec government grant worth $9 million seeded to IBM Canadafor its Bromont plant is set to create 200 jobs.

The grant complements IBM‘s $85 million investment in a facilitythat specializes in electronic component assembly and functionaltesting.

The Quebec Ministry of Economic Development, Innovation andExport Trade joined the Ministry of Employment and SocialSolidarity to announce the funding with $2 million earmarked forhuman resources development.

The investment in training and skills development will help address a bigdemographic challenge that Quebec is experiencing, according to MichelleCourchesne, Minister of Employment and Social Solidarity.

“Our population is aging,” said Courchesne. “That’s the reasonwhy we believe the training will be a very strong answer to allowenterprises like IBM to have a qualified workforce and remaincompetitive on the international level.

Raymond Leduc, director for IBM Bromont said that one of thegovernment incentives is a training grant for new employees andfunding to replace those that will be moving to a new program.

“There’s going to be a lot of skills development on site,something we already do a lot of,” said Leduc. “With the additionof this new mission to the site about 500 people are going toreceive new skills development and training.”

Most of IBM’s workforce is from the immediate area, with thebulk of their engineering staff either from the area or havingattended the University of Sherbooke, McGill University or theUniversity of Montreal, he said.

“We draw a lot of our skilled people from some of the major citycentres…many Montrealers are moving out here as Bromont is actuallyquite the place to live, it’s a resort community and has becomevery attractive to people in the IT industry.”

Employee retention is a key factor for Courchesne, who said it’simportant to retain skilled workers within the company.

“When an important company such as IBM invests in Quebec, webecome a partner,” she said. “We’re investing in our future, in ouryoung workers, and our economy in Quebec and it’s a long terminvestment.”

To remain competitive, employees must continually update theirskill sets to keep pace with the changing technology, according toCourchesne.

“Technology is part of the big battle of competition, you neednew technologies and equipment to make sure you’re able to producemore effectively at a better cost,” she said. “And because we’re asmall market in Quebec this helps especially with exportation –with the globalization of business that’s where you have togo.”

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