Work hard, work local — these DBIA organizations keep your skills sharp

Work hard, work local — these DBIA organizations keep your skills sharp

Jun 29, 2021

Written by Shawna O’Neill. Nicholas Seguin photo.

We are always celebrating the variety of unique shops, restaurants, salons and more in our DBIA.

Sometimes, our employment services organizations aren’t as frequently recognized. But the DBIA is home to a few, and they are fundamental to the success of local businesses and workers.

This includes the Eastern Ontario Training Board (EOTB), Job Zone d’emploi and ACCFutures (previously known as the CFDC, or the Cornwall and the Counties Community Futures Development Corporation).

These organizations all share a common goal: to better our community by assisting workers and employers. Each organization also shares the commonality of being led by a strong woman that is aiming to drive forward or economic development.

While they often work collaboratively on projects — like expanding affordable housing solutions in the city —specific programs and skills training can vary from organization to organization.

Here’s a bit more about them:


Martha Woods, the EOTB Executive Director of 14 years, is encouraging newcomers to safely stop by her new office space at 16 Second St. East. Having recently opened the Newcomer Employment Welcome Services (NEWS) Centre, EOTB is hoping to help settle newcomers and secure them with employment opportunities.

“It’s very rewarding,” said Woods about her work.

EOTB looks at our local labour market to analyze any gaps in certain sectors. Once the gaps have been identified, EOTB strives to attract employers and employees to mitigate those gaps, or offer training to existing businesses through Ministry, provincial or federal funding.

EOTB also helps match employees with employers, and offers a mentorship experience throughout this relationship — which has largely proven to be successful. EOTB offers countless services, produces studies like employment engagement surveys and builds relationships with relevant partners.

Woods explained that the Ministry of Labour Training and Skills Development recently announced several funding opportunities for skilled trade programs and automotive apprenticeships. EOTB is working with local school boards to identify students who would excel in these opportunities.

Job Zone

From the starting basics of building a resume and preparing for a job interview, Job Zone is ready to assist you at no cost.

Located at 144 Pitt St. in Cornwall, Job Zone has been servicing our city since 1985. Job Zone has also opened a location in Winchester at 530 Fred St. to better serve the SDG counties. All services are offered bilingually.

Kim Arbic, the Director of Community Relations, explained that each client can meet with an intake consultant to determine which program is best for them.

“If you’re looking for employment, or going back to school for a second career, you are a youth in the job connection program, or an individual who self identifies with a disability — we assess all your needs,” she explained.

To compliment intake suggestions, anyone can utilize Job Zone’s available technology, like photo copiers and computers. The public can sign up for a number of online workshops, as well as access student services and a job postings board.

“We offer services for employers as well,” said Arbic. “Like training incentives, assisting with the purchasing of new training and co-op job grants.”


ACCFutures has delivered over $2 million in relief funding to area businesses since the start of the pandemic. While doing this, the ACCFutures has undergone a rebrand from the CFDC, has taken a leading role in the development of the Portlands, strengthened its Technology Innovation Program (TIP) and developed partnerships with local organizations like ACFO.

“People don’t know what we can do for them,” said Lesley Thompson, the Executive Director of six years. “The story we are hoping to tell with our new brand is that we are grounded in business, committed to a new kind of community development, passionate about our community and committed to advancing reconciliation.”

Reconciliation is unique for ACCFutures, according to Thompson, who said they are really focused on partnerships and that ‘better together’ mantra. ACCFutures has recently completed an accessible guide that works to address truth and reconciliation concepts between municipalities and Indigenous peoples at a grassroots level.

ACCFutures is striving to build more sustainability and self-funding, for the benefit of the community.

“Your potential is our business,” said Thompson.


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