NEWSFLASH FEBRUARY 2017
In mid-January, the Downtown Mission of Windsor launched its new Enterprise Program using a $75,000 Seed grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF.ca) to help with the initiative it received in mid-2016. MPP Lisa Gretzky states, “This OTF grant will provide much-needed funds to the Downtown Mission as it adapts to address the changing needs of the disadvantaged in Windsor through an enhanced employment training program.” The Enterprise Program is an innovative experiential training program, participants facing a variety of barriers to employment receive the opportunity to focus their career goals, gain industry standard on-the-job training and develop abilities to be “job ready.”
The Downtown Mission is committed to providing employment support to program participants to ensure they become and stay employed. In 2010, responding to the changing needs of “at risk” populations, the Mission built a targeted culinary program that provided vocational supports to individuals with long-standing barriers to gaining meaningful employment. The program boasted a 60 percent success rate for graduates in finding meaningful employment. The grant has enabled the Enterprise Program to provide multiple employment training streams, making it more accessible to a wider spectrum of participants and expanding career opportunities, including built in systems for support and success.
The new training streams will include two Social Enterprise Businesses, the Do Good Deli (coming soon to 875 Ouellette Avenue) and Chari-Tees, which will specializes in custom products of all types including made-to-order branded T-shirts. The revenue made from sales at both business goes directly to helping The Downtown Mission achieve their mission of providing: Food for the body, Nurture for the spirit, Shelter for the homeless, Advocacy for the impoverished, and Opportunity for human growth.
“Through social enterprises like the Do Good Deli and Chari-tees, the Enterprise Program will offer multiple training streams from culinary arts and hospitality to graphic design and printing, retail and customer service,” adds Executive Director Ron Dunn. Read more at: Downtownmission.com.
After one of the best years in the Port’s history in 2015, total port traffic declined in 2016 with the near-completion of the early works at the customs plaza, which will service the new Gordie Howe International Bridge. That work had led to a surge of over 50% in construction aggregates in 2015, but with its completion, aggregate volumes dropped by almost 30% in 2016. This resulted in a decline in total traffic volumes of 15.49% for the year. David Cree, President & CEO of the Windsor Port Authority (PortWindsor.com) states “Any declines in traffic are always disappointing, but in this case we were certainly expecting the drop-off in construction aggregates with the near-completion of the early works at the Bridge. We are anticipating that once construction starts on the bridge itself, we will see a further surge in construction aggregates during those years.”
There were several bright spots for the year with steel imports increasing by 28% and grain and related products increasing by 24%. In addition, petroleum products, which are handled through the Sterling Marine Fuels dock, increased by slightly over 3%. Other important milestones during 2016 included the on-going rehabilitation of the park and fishing pier at the end of Mill Street, the purchase of green space adjacent to the Port Authority’s offices on Sandwich Street, which will be utilized for community purposes, and the purchase, in partnership with the Windsor Police Services, of a new 25 foot WAC SAFE Boat, which will greatly enhance marine patrol capabilities on the Detroit River.
Cree concludes “All-in-all, despite the significant decline in total port traffic, 2016 was a very productive and positive year for the port in many ways. We are looking forward to slightly higher cargo volumes in 2017 and with virtually all of the revenue earned by the Port Authority being re-invested into our community, we will continue to be a leader in the economic and social well-being of the City of Windsor.”