Mediaplanet: What steps are being taken to support the advanced manufacturing sector in Mississauga?  

Susan Amring: The City of Mississauga’s Economic Development Office has brought on Walter Garrison as Advanced Manufacturing Business Integrator. Walter’s role is to work directly with the aerospace, automotive, food and beverage, and clean technology sectors in areas including workforce development, technology adoption, business to business connections, export market development, and productivity improvement.

MP: What makes location such an important factor in a business’ success?

SA: The ability to attract a skilled workforce that is able to perform the highly complex tasks required in advanced manufacturing is a key reason for companies to locate in Mississauga.

In addition to being home to a workforce with two thirds of its population having post-secondary education, the city of Mississauga also provides excellent connectivity to global markets through our proximity to Pearson International Airport and highways. This connectivity is key, as many of our companies provide critical components to some of the most recognized brands in the world.

MP: As an employee, why would I want to come to Mississauga to work?

SA: Mississauga is home to many leading-edge manufacturing companies that utilize state-of-the-art technologies in the development of products and processes. Mississauga advanced manufacturing employees have great opportunities to advance their career path by working with our world-class companies, many of whom are currently expanding, offering more jobs in highly skilled technical areas that pay very well.

MP: What are some benefits to growing and supporting the advanced manufacturing sector? 

SA: Many Mississauga advanced manufacturing companies are currently expanding or have plans to expand in the near future, leading to increased employment. The low Canadian dollar makes our manufacturers’ products very attractive to a global clientele. The quality of goods produced and the innovative technologies developed are recognized internationally.

MP: Why is there a shortage of young workers in advanced manufacturing careers?

Walter Garrison: Students in secondary schools are not being directed to careers in manufacturing because many are unaware of the present job opportunities available in that sector. There is also a belief that manufacturing jobs are dull, dark, dirty, and dangerous, when many manufacturing roles require sophisticated understanding of computer programming, robotics, and engineering.

MP: As many workers in the sector are retiring, how can we battle a potential talent gap?

WG: To assist our manufacturers with succession planning, we are developing initiatives to connect students and young people with advanced manufacturing companies that are hiring and will continue to hire into the future. For example, the City of Mississauga Mayor’s Office and Economic Development Office recently hosted Building Skilled Talent Together Mississauga, where we connected advanced manufacturing employers with training providers, both post-secondary institutions, and private sector trainers to address the technical skills gap.

MP: How do you help larger, more established companies in Mississauga stay innovative, competitive, and ahead of the game? 

WG: We host a series of meetings on leading-edge technologies that are changing how manufacturing is done globally. Here, advanced manufacturing companies can hear from and network directly with experts in specific technologies at no cost. We provide business to business connections for Mississauga manufacturers as part of the outreach with our numerous partners.

We actively advocate for our advanced manufacturing companies, seek opportunities for them to adopt innovative technology, and provide critical connections to training institutions and programs.