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U of T partners with non-profit to help re-skill Canadian workers

The partnership between U of T and Palette Inc., co-founded by U of T Professor Arvind Gupta, seeks to develop new tools to help Canadian workers succeed in a changing economy (Kanawa Studio via Getty Images)

The University of Toronto and Palette Inc., a national non-profit organization, have formed a partnership to explore and develop strategies and solutions to equip Canadian workers with the tools they need to contribute and succeed in a rapidly changing economy. 

Led by U of T’s Faculty of Arts & Science, the partnership aims to support individuals disrupted by a shifting global economy. Over the past decade, digitization and automation has had a significant impact on Canada’s labour market – a trend that is now accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Changes across many industrial sectors are highlighting the need to upskill diverse and non-traditional workers.

“The pandemic has been devastating,” said Melanie Woodin, dean of the Faculty of Arts & Science and Palette’s newest board member. “This collaboration enables our leading researchers and scholars to connect with industry leaders and other institutions in the development of the tools, training and support needed to make a direct and lasting impact on the Canadian economy, further improving the lives of Canadians.”

Palette, which seeks to meet the talent needs of Canadian companies by upskilling displaced workers, will draw upon U of T’s relationships and knowledge of the demands of the workplace and the future of work. The partnership aims to support Palette’s mission of creating a Canadian workforce where everyone has the skills they need to thrive and where employers can easily find people with the right skills and experience to grow their companies. 

“We fundamentally believe in the limitless capacity of people to adapt to change and learn new skills, provided they are given the right opportunities and support,” said Arvind Gupta, CEO of Palette and a professor in the department of computer science in U of T’s Faculty of Arts & Science.

Gupta stressed the need to be nimble and responsive and to advance our understanding of how the adoption of new technologies influences labour markets.

“This partnership will increase our ability to re-engage, retrain and redeploy talent across the economy into stable, high quality jobs in growing industries,” he said. “A concerted effort to upskill Canadians on a national scale will make our country stronger and more competitive which will, in turn, benefit the global economy.”