TCBN-AECON partnership to provide more training spaces for persons in under-represented communities

Annmarie Powell

The Toronto Community Benefits Network (TCBN)  has partnered with Aecon, a   major Canadian construction company, to increase access to  training  for persons who have been laid off due to the the COVID-19 pandemic and to allow TCBN to triple training spaces in its NexGen Builders program.

The NexGen Builders program which started as a pilot project in 2018 prepares workers who have been historically under-represented in the construction industry to successfully enter the workforce, according to a news release from the TCBN

“The most vulnerable workers – racialized workers, women, and newcomers – are often the hardest hit during such challenging times,” said Rosemarie Powell, Executive Director of TCBN.

“ And Aecon’s generous contribution, which builds on their ongoing support for TCBN, will help us prepare many more workers to join the workforce when the recovery starts.”

In an interview with The Caribbean Camera, Powell noted that while the program is open to both men and women, the construction  industry is seen as a “tough sector” for women.

“However, we are tryng to get the message out to women that this industry can be a very good place for them.”

“Aecon is very pleased to continue our support of the Toronto Community Benefits Network – an organization making a positive impact directly in the communities that need it the most,” said Gordana Terkalas, Senior Vice President, Human Resources, Aecon Group Inc.

“Our goal is to make tangible contributions that directly help community members get the training they need to successfully build a career in the construction industry.”

To help struggling workers access the NextGen Builders program, TCBN will cover a portion of additional costs for participants, such as internet access and childcare.

The TCBN is a coalition of 112 member organizations and groups from community, labour and social enterprise working to address the challenges of access to good jobs , local economic development and neighbourhood revitalization.

Construction workers from underrepresented communities in Toronto looking to build a career edge can apply now for the NexGen Builders Mentoring program at

 The expanded program needs more experienced journeymen mentors and peer mentors who are apprentices to share their experiences with program participants. Peer mentors will receive an honorarium for their time.