In March, Honourable Minister Peter MacKay was in Sydney to launch Cape Breton Works, a labour market study being conducted and managed by JCI Cape Breton in conjunction with the Cape Breton Partnership.

“We need to stop thinking negatively and start acting positively,” said Stephen Tobin, project manager for Cape Breton Works.

“This important initiative is moving forward in a positive direction, under the guidance of our organization. Our mandate for 2007 is to improve the retention of young skilled professionals in our region. Cape Breton Works is a project designed to help uncover the primary reasons that people are choosing to leave our Island and more importantly identify ways in which we can bring them back,” said Tobin.

The project is multi-faceted, in that it will study, not only skilled workers who have moved away, but also knowledge based workers in the region and employers within the knowledge sector. To date, the methodology has been designed, initial literary research has been conducted, a steering committee has been established, and a web page is currently being developed.

“People tend to assume they know the reasons why people are leaving. Policy change, business investment and community development can not take place based on assumptions,” said Sidney Reid, project coordinator.

“We don't know what information we will uncover in the course of our research, but regardless of what we find, we are committed to sharing it with the public,” said Tobin.

JCI is pleased to be working with VMP Group, along with Dan White and Associates. These two organizations will be conducting some of the necessary research, as well as consulting on marketing initiatives and participant recruitment.

A steering committee has been formed, with the initial meeting taking place this evening, May 9, at the office of the Cape Breton Partnership.

The impressive list of steering committee members is comprised of local business leaders and includes:

Bob Pelley – InNovaCorp, Doug Lionais – Cape Breton University, Greg Arsenault – ECO Canada, Ian McNeil – Independent Journalist, Janine Gillis – Cape Breton District Health Authority, Keith MacDonald – Cape Breton Partnership, Lauri Taylor – Enterprise Cape Breton Corporation, Lisa Lavin – Catalog TeleServices Company, Neeta Kumar-Britten – NSTU, Ross Kennedy – Nova Scotia Office of Economic Development, Steve Lilley – Protocase Ltd. and Tara Milburn – Nova Scotia Business Initiatives.

For more information on the project or JCI Cape Breton, phone 902.539.7635 or emailSTEPHEN@CBJUNIORCHAMBER.COM.

Sydney, Nova Scotia, May 9, 2007