Joe Vaccaro takes helm at Ontario Skilled Trades Alliance (OSTA)

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Joe Vaccaro, CEO of the Ontario Home Builders’ Association (OHBA), has become the chair of the Ontario Skilled Trades Alliance (OSTA), replacing Karen Renkema, senior manager of public affairs at the Progressive Contractors Association, who is taking parental leave.

In a published interview, Vaccaro  believes there is an opportunity to strengthen the message that the province can become the number one jurisdiction when it comes to training and apprenticeships.

“We all talk about a highly skilled work force, we all talk about an educated workforce and I think it’s time for the government to understand that what that means is not just investing in people but also investing in the employer infrastructure that supports those training and apprenticeship opportunities,” he told the Daily Commercial News. “How do we provide those opportunities in a regulatory regime that doesn’t seem to be really pushing the opportunity side, it’s pushing more the enforcement side.”

“That’s what I think my role is here as chair now, is to take what Karen has built along with the work we’ve done here at OHBA, and bring everyone together and say OK, our challenge to the government is we want to be part of the solution,” Vaccaro explains. “We’re just at that point where everything has come together and it’s time to bring one unified group forward.”

“I am excited about what the OSTA has been able to accomplish in such a short period of time,” Renkema said in a news release.

“We continue to work with government and stakeholders to promote skilled trades as a career and to provide transparency and accountability to Ontario’s institutions involved in the regulation of the skilled trades. I am especially proud of our work on the submission to Tony Dean in his review of the Ontario College of Trades.”

Renkema has been the OSTA chair since 2013 and has been responsible for expanding the alliance’s membership base to more than 44 organizations, as well as steering the OSTA through a changing political landscape.

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