Today: Sunday, November 19, 2017, 9:30 am (PST)

Good news for B.C. workers: 1,000 new tech jobs with Amazon

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VANCOUVER: Premier John Horgan is welcoming Amazon’s plans to double the size of its professional workforce in British Columbia.

“We’re growing a strong, sustainable economy that benefits everyone, by bringing good-paying jobs to B.C. and investing in training the workforce of tomorrow,” Premier Horgan said. “We will build on Amazon’s plans to bring 1,000 new jobs to B.C. by continuing to open up access to education and skills training.”

The Seattle-based company has announced plans to double its B.C.-based professional workforce to 2,000 by early 2020.

Premier Horgan was joined by Alexandre Gagnon, Amazon’s vice-president for Canada and Mexico, at the announcement in downtown Vancouver, where the company will lease a new 4,500 square-metre (50,000 square-foot) building on Dunsmuir Street.

“Tech companies employ more than 100,000 people in B.C., with significant opportunities for growth,” said Jobs, Trade and Technology Minister Bruce Ralston. “Amazon’s investment contributes to an industry that creates well-paying jobs that will benefit every corner of our province.”

Jobs in tech pay 75% more than the provincial average. The B.C. government will help British Columbians develop the skills they need to get these high-paying jobs with more tech-related seats, co-op programs and other post-secondary and skills training opportunities.

“The message we are hearing from leaders in the tech industry is they will hire as many people as we can train,” said Parliamentary Secretary for Technology Rick Glumac. “We’re bringing down barriers for B.C. workers because the more we invest in people, the more companies will invest in B.C.”

The B.C. government is investing in the future of B.C. workers by bringing down barriers to post-secondary education and skills training. Since August 2017, government has cut the provincial student loan interest rate in half, removed tuition fees for adult basic education and English as a second language programs, and eliminated post-secondary tuition for children who grew up in government care.

Bill Tam, president and CEO of the BC Tech Association, said B.C.’s skilled workforce is one of the reasons tech investors are attracted to the province.

“Amazon’s decision to expand in B.C. is a testament to the growing recognition of our tech sector on the global stage,” Tam said. “B.C. continues to be a desirable destination for tech companies to locate and grow, because of our province’s vibrant tech community, our attractive investment climate and exceptional talent base.”

Quick Facts:

* B.C. saw a 1.9% rise in the number of new technology companies in 2015, growing to over 10,000 businesses.

* More than $200 million is being invested over the next two years in tech and science post-secondary capital projects in British Columbia.

* The GDP of B.C.’s tech sector expanded 2.4% in 2015, contributing $14.1 billion to B.C.’s overall economic output.

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