Community Collaboration

Community Concierge

Submitted ByCity of Kawartha Lakes

Kawartha Lakes and Peterborough region, Ontario, is home to an exceptional university that annually celebrates the graduation of approximately 2,000 students. The vast majority of these students become job seekers who enter the workforce, meeting the labour force demands of employers. These highly skilled job seekers are fundamental to unlocking the economic potential of the region and supporting the economic resilience and pandemic recovery by bringing their training and skills to much needed labour force shortages. However, the retention and placement of these job seekers within the region has historically been low. 

In response to this challenge, the Community Concierge project was launched in 2021. This community collaboration is changing the long-term retention of graduate talent in the region. 

The project is a collaboration between the City of Kawartha Lakes, Trent University, and Peterborough and the Kawarthas Economic Development. Together, our organizations share a common goal – to increase the retention of talent in the region. Together we built a new sustainable process to do just that. 

A kick-off grant funded a one-year Community Concierge project with ambitious goals: to create 60 long-term partnerships between Trent University and local employers, aide 100 recent graduates in securing regional employment, and establish an annual pipeline of 250 new Work Integrated Learning (WIL) placements for five years. These efforts support newly developed co-operative programs and enhance student-employer engagement, smoothing the path to full-time regional employment post-graduation.  

The first year of the Community Concierge project surpassed all expectations. With the hiring of three (3) Community Concierge staff embedded at Trent, and both Economic Development organizations, engagement in the local business community was unprecedented. By the end of the project year, the following outcomes had been achieved; 

  • 81 graduates completed the 4-week pre-employment training program 
  • 70 graduates secured local employment in the region 
  • 70 partnership agreements were signed with local employers 
  • 3,700 work integrated learning opportunities identified over the next 5 years 
  • Businesses from various high-demand sectors, including manufacturing, health care, supply chain logistics, technology, and the public sector are actively  participating in the project. 

The project is now an integral part of Trent University Career Space program. These initial partnership agreements are now being supported by Trent University to help local employers in fulfilling their WIL commitment. The City of Kawartha Lakes Economic Development and Peterborough and the Kawarthas Economic Development continue to support local businesses engaging with Trent. The cooperative partnership between all three organizations is expanding to other areas of economic development activities. 

Attached are press releases, a few LinkedIn posts and video testimonial about the project to help bring it to life. 

The Community Concierge project was funded by the Skills Development Fund. The Skills Development Fund is an Employment Ontario program, funded in part by the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario.