As has been reported multiple times, the Pontiac, like most of the country, has a serious skilled labour shortage, especially with nurses, a familiar subject in Josey Bouchard’s column on healthcare in the Pontiac.
Giving people the financial space to make a transition in their careers, through transparent and reliable direct support, is one way we can start addressing challenges such as the nursing shortage, or the need to decarbonize the economy.
A 2018 healthcare study - Projecting shortages and surpluses of doctors and nurses in the OECD (published before the mass demoralization of healthcare workers caused by covid) – predicted Canada would be short 117,600 nurses by 2030. One way to stem the growing disaster caused by the shortage of nurses is to make it financially easy to train to become a nurse.
Of course, while support to eliminate, or at least ease, the cost of tuition is one way of helping, tuition isn’t the only cost of education. Housing, the cost of living, and other auxiliary expenses, all of which are increasing, pose real barriers to pursuing an education. Not everyone can work a full-time job while also being a committed student. Expecting that they can would be unwise if the goal is to generate a larger trained workforce.
As another example, taking the urgent action needed to address climate change is often made politically impossible because so many people’s livelihoods are tied to high carbon-emitting industries.
Providing guarantees that people will be able to afford – both in terms of the upfront cost and the time off work – to get re-educated into environmentally sustainable career paths is the most obvious way of removing this barrier.
This is also a solution for every other field that desperately needs a skilled workforce.
Education is a net benefit for society, especially when made truly universal. Making it far easier for people to make a secure transition away from jobs that are either environmentally or socially damaging, or just unfulfilling, and onto career paths into high-demand fields is a no-brainer.
It might also be one of the only ways we have to stop digging ourselves into holes we eventually won’t be able to climb out of.
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