City, Queen’s, SLC and Workforce WindsorEssex partner on AI-powered tools for job seekers

November 30, 2021

The City of Kingston is launching a suite of tools aimed at helping Eastern Ontario employers identify, attract and secure the right people for their job opportunities.

The Workforce Skills Artificial Intelligence Platform (WSAIP) -- which uses advanced computing to connect area job seekers with in-demand jobs – has been developed in partnership with Workforce WindsorEssex, the Smith School of Business at Queen’s, the Queen’s Centre for Advanced Computing, St. Lawrence College and the Eastern Ontario Leadership Council.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored and exacerbated pre-existing talent attraction challenges. Even before the pandemic, employment services organizations throughout the region indicated that business growth and economic activity are seriously hampered by the inability to hire qualified employees,” says Craig Desjardins, Director of Strategy, Innovation and Partnerships for the City. “This is a made-in-Kingston solution that has the ability to help get the rest of Eastern Ontario back on track.” 

Eastern Ontario employers are having ongoing difficulties finding employees who have the right sets of skills to fill available positions. This long-term challenge is further complicated by shifts in demand for workers amongst various sectors and the emergence of new occupations that require new skills or new combinations of soft and hard skills.

The tools are hosted on the Possible Made Here talent attraction portal, an AI-powered, data-driven talent attraction website.

The WSAIP detects and compiles trends in the labour market using preexisting online databases. It then provides this information to job seekers so they can see what skills and training they need to pursue to take advantage of the job opportunities on offer in our region.

Using smart tools to address pressing workforce challenges

The WSAIP uses the following tools to support workforce development:

  • The  Assess Your Skills Tool assess job titles and skills provided by users to match them with currently available job opportunities. It also identifies the job seekers’ skill gaps, allowing them to align future training with their desired job opportunities.
  • The Skills Explorer Tool allows job seekers and employers to quickly narrow their search by visualizing in-demand skills on a local or regional basis.
  • The Analytics Dashboard Tool provides real time insights into skills and occupation supply trends thereby informing employers and key policy makers of current needs and enabling effective planning and mobilization of resources to address them.
  • The Employer Tool is valuable for employers looking to attract the right talent by ensuring job postings accurately reflect the required skills. This tool provides main duties and skills required to align job postings to best practices.

Beta testing with partner organizations and Kingston community employment services demonstrated that the WSAIP effectively addresses employer challenges and supports job seekers in a range of circumstances.

Several organizations, including the Career Services and Employment Services teams at St. Lawrence College are set to begin using this platform along with their already provided services.

Supporting workforce development in Kingston

The Workforce Skills AI platform is part of the City’s Workforce Development and In-Migration Strategy. Endorsed by a number of community partners, it outlines the City’s strategy to attract, develop, and retain a strong workforce.

More than 70 community volunteers have worked on implementing the recommendations outlined in the Strategy, which focuses on actions that can be undertaken at the community level rather than by organizations on their own.