September 8, 2022

Letter of support to the Alberta Ministry of Labour and Immigration for Future-Fit AI

The Business Council of Alberta (BCA) expresses its support for the objectives of the project that FutureFit AI proposes to the Alberta Ministry of Labour and Immigration, titled “AI-Powered Matching of Edmonton’s Talent Supply and Talent Demand,” under the Workforce Strategies Grant.

The Business Council of Alberta is a non-partisan, for-purpose organization dedicated to building a better Alberta within a more dynamic Canada. Composed of more than 120 chief executives and leading entrepreneurs of the province’s largest enterprises, Council members represent the majority of Alberta’s private sector investment, job creation, exports, and research and development. The Council works to propose bold and innovative public policy solutions that will make life better for Albertans, build successful and thriving businesses that contribute to the world’s greatest needs, and create jobs that enable every Albertan to live the life to which they aspire.

One of the Council’s primary focus areas is Jobs & Opportunity: we believe our success as a province hinges on the participation and prosperity of all. Prosperity begins with a good job, and future opportunity. To achieve this, we must grow the economy, create jobs now, and equip Albertans with the skills to do them better than anyone else on earth. In particular within that portfolio of work, BCA has spent significant time developing thought leadership around the silent crisis of long-term unemployment in Alberta. As this report and our recent work point out, despite positive signs that long-term unemployment is declining in Alberta, economic recovery in critical regions rests on one hand, on the assumption that companies are willing to take a chance on individuals with bigger gaps in their resumes, and on the other, that candidates are able to meet the evolving skills requirements in different sectors. Our recommendations included creating a roster of long-term unemployed people, providing them with skills assessments and training, and then creating a “matching” portal to link those people with companies that have vacant jobs with those skills requirements. We believe the objectives of FutureFit AI’s “AI-Powered Matching of Edmonton’s Talent Supply and Talent Demand” project are squarely aligned with those recommendations.

FutureFit AI’s project is focused on helping bridge the gap between long-term unemployed job seekers and employers with vacancies to fill in the Edmonton region. A solution like this could potentially foster business growth, while helping job seekers make the transition to knowledge-driven employment. This is important for Alberta’s growing economy. Should this project move forward, BCA is prepared to work with FutureFit AI to share information about the proposed Employer Portal with our members – a group of over 100 chief executives from across Alberta who collectively represent a wide range of industries, geographies, and perspectives. We see potential for this project to help reduce the lengthcof time that unemployed Albertans spend out of the workforce, and address the talent needs of growing Edmonton businesses.

Bridging the gap between job seekers and employers can help Alberta stay competitive, as well as help improve our province overall by reducing long-term unemployment rates. FutureFit AI’s initiative proposes to deliver a post-pandemic, economic recovery program that we believe is aligned with those objectives. If successful, it would represent a unique and innovative approach that the Business Council of Alberta would be proud to share with our business community members.

Yours sincerely,
Mike Holden
Chief Economist, Vice President, Policy, Business Council of Alberta

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