Answering the Call to Action: ThirdQuarter is Linking Older Workers to Job Opportunities

Dec 7, 2011 | Chamber News

A two-year national pilot project connecting businesses with older Canadians who want to remain in the workforce plans to become a permanent program.

Manitoba Chambers of Commerce President Graham Starmer

ThirdQuarter is an online job program (www.ThirdQuarter.ca) that matches the skills of Canadians aged 50-plus with businesses and organizations, currently in 14 communities from B.C. to Prince Edward Island.

The project was recently endorsed by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and the National Seniors Council, support that reinforces plans to expand the project in the new year.

ThirdQuarter has requested funding from the Office of Literacy and Essential Skills, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada so the project can transition into a permanent, user-pay program.

“We have seen numerous studies and reports calling for action in helping older workers and seniors,” said Graham Starmer, president of the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce.     “Chambers of Commerce across Canada have been working with the ThirdQuarter project to test new approaches, build online tools and help connect older workers with firms and job opportunities.”

“We have been creating more experienced and productive workplaces. Now, we are ready to expand the project to cities and regions across Canada. The Manitoba chamber is working with the federal government to achieve this in the coming months, added Starmer.”

ThirdQuarter was highlighted in the Incenting Seniors to Continue Working discussion paper released this month by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.

The document noted the populations of industrialized countries such as Canada are aging, and predicted Canada’s population will become the 11th oldest within 20 years, up from its current 27th ranking in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

The possible loss of many key experienced workers and the knowledge and skills they embody will have far-reaching impacts on Canada’s economy and Canadian businesses,” the paper stated.

In calling for action by government and employers, the report pointed to the value of programs such as ThirdQuarter.

Innovative tools, including online guides and websites dedicated to the hiring of seniors (such as ThirdQuarter.ca), a pilot project developed with government support, that matches skills and experience of Canadians over 50 years of age with job opportunities), are important conduits for future success in increasing employment of older workers, it said.

Expanding ThirdQuarter was also one of the recommendations in a National Seniors Council report, prepared for the federal government and released in October.

Build on the successes of exemplary programs that serve to help older workers find meaningful employment, and seek means of achieving long-term sustainability of these initiatives,?? stated the Report on the Labour Force Participation of Seniors and Near Seniors and Intergenerational Relations.

For example, consideration could be given to expanding the ThirdQuarter pilot program, which provides an online service to help employers and experienced employees who are 50-plus find each other.

ThirdQuarter is an initiative of the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce and began in May 2010. It is currently running in B.C., Saskatchewan, Manitoba and the Atlantic provinces, with funding provided by the federal government and provincial chambers of commerce in the participating communities.

“Canadians are living longer, healthier lives and the individuals using our program are telling us full-time retirement is boring,” said Bill Smith, ThirdQuarter national project director.

“Firms want experienced employees who have a strong work ethic and can pass their knowledge on to their co-workers. We’re helping them find those people in an efficient, easy way, said Starmer.”

As of the end of November, more than 80,000 individuals and firms have accessed the website; 1,800 firms and 5,000 individuals have registered; more than 2,500 jobs posted; and some 18,000 matches made.

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