Ivy’s League – My experience at Workforce WindsorEssex

WEtech Alliance Summer Intern Ivy Wills traveled Windsor-Essex this summer to gain valuable insight into career paths while documenting her experience and lessons in her blog “Ivy’s League”.

My Experience at Workforce WindsorEssex

Recently I visited Workforce WindsorEssex to be greeted by Tashlyn Teskey and Marissa Bumanlag. Tashlyn is the Acting Manager of Projects & Research and Marissa is a Research Associate at Workforce WindsorEssex.

Ivy (c) with Marissa Bumanlag (l) and Tashlyn Teskey (r)

Workforce WindsorEssex is a workforce development board committed to improving the state of the workforce and community in Windsor-Essex. They create resources to help individuals make informed decisions in relation to the local labour market.

As a member of this dynamic team, Tashlyn’s responsibilities include overseeing projects and research for the Local Employment Planning Council, as well as leading her own projects and research. She also creates regular reports based on these initiatives. Marissa helps create student-focused resources found at Workforce WindsorEssex and supports the development of online job search tools.

One project we spoke about during the interview was WEnav. This is an online career exploration platform that can be used by teachers, parents, and others to learn about career opportunities in Windsor-Essex. The resources allow users to identify skills and interests to contribute to their career decisions, learn about local promising sectors, and develop an action plan.  Tashlyn and Marissa are currently updating the platform to include resources for a wider audience, including job seekers and those new to the community.

Tashlyn also does research on Ontario’s apprenticeship system. She feels that an apprenticeship is a beneficial learning path. They allow young people starting their career to attend school at the same time.  They can also provide stable employment opportunities with local employers. Pre-apprenticeships also offer students a chance to test out a career path in a low-pressure environment. In order to receive an apprenticeship, she feels that candidates should have a basic knowledge of the industry they hope to enter. For a student hoping to enter the technical field she noted that employers are looking for programmers to automate functions in manufacturing and the auto service sector. These employers may also take on apprentices.

She thinks that in order for Windsor-Essex to improve recruitment and completion rates of local apprentices, we need to raise attention to the advantages it has for individuals building a career path. She feels that these advantages need to be presented to students early because they can start apprenticeships in high school.

Giving advice to someone my age Tashlyn noted: “Whatever career path you are interested in, test it first.”

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Ivy Wills is a second-year computer science student at the University of Toronto Scarborough. She grew up in Windsor and is currently spending the summer here before her second year. Starting in her grade 12 year of high school, she joined her high school robotics team, the 5885 Wiredcats. Here she learned the basics of programming and developed an interest in machinery. Following grade 12, she developed her teaching skills leading a month-long introduction to robotics summer class to children in grades 3-4. During her first year of computer science, she learned different programming languages and developed an interest in game development.