Seneca News

Public Administration students
Public Administration students from Seneca recently met with members of ONWARD about hiring students in the public sector.
July 17, 2017

Public Administration students recently presented recommendations to municipal leaders about future staffing issues in the public sector.

“The collaboration with ONWARD was a win-win for all involved,” says Prof. Jon Olinski. “It allowed students to provide recommendations and solutions directly to the decision-makers on a real issue impacting all levels of government.”

ONWARD: Building Tomorrow’s Ontario Municipal Leaders is a coalition that includes several political and municipal staff organizations. The group’s objective is to ensure future staffing needs are met to guarantee the stability of municipal services in the future.

As their capstone project for the Human Resources and Municipal Management course, students focused on trying to bring more new graduates into the system.

“This made for an interesting assignment because they were not only helping to shape policy, but directly contributing practical solutions to the current and projected skills shortage in the municipal government sector across Canada,” says Jon.

Shivi Darubra was one of the students who met with ONWARD. She and her classmates put forward ideas about engaging youth to create new opportunities, including an emerging municipal employee program, a provincewide municipal internship program, a job-sharing mentoring program, and job shadowing and mentorship partnerships with postsecondary institutions.

“Everything in the municipal world changes all the time and we are seeing that the mindset is shifting as people are retiring,” says Shivi. “We were able to vocalize our experiences as youth who are entering the workforce and who want to be taken seriously.”

Tony Haddad is the Town of Tecumseh CAO and ONWARD Co-Chair. He recently announced his retirement in 2018.

“We were quite impressed with the students’ insights and enthusiasm. As boomers retire, the need for quality candidates increases and the domino effect is there,” he says.

This is the first time ONWARD has received a presentation from college students. Among the recommendations, a central one-stop repository for job postings in the municipal sector is now in the works.

“It was most refreshing to hear how intimately aware the students are of the opportunities,” says Jim Pine, Hastings County CAO and ONWARD Co-Chair. “Not from a political perspective, but from a practical and theoretical perspective."