The province is helping Maple Leaf Foods employees prepare to re-enter the workforce. Toronto-based Maple Leaf Foods is closing its poultry plant in Canard, Kings Co., in April, leaving 380 employees without a job. The province opened a transition office today, Jan. 24, at the plant. “The transition office will help Maple Leaf Foods employees prepare for the next step,” said Education Minister Karen Casey. “We will provide training and support to meet their needs and the needs of the local economy. We hope this will ultimately help them find new employment here at home.” The transition office is being opened and operated in partnership with the Department of Education, Service Canada, the management of Maple Leaf Foods and the United Food and Commercial Workers Union. Community partnerships will also be established to ensure employees have access to all available supports and services. “I’m pleased that government has brought together key partners who will work together to help these employees,” said Mark Parent, Minister of Environment and Labour. “It’s important that we do everything we can to support these Nova Scotians.” As part of the transition office, representatives from the Department of Education and Service Canada will be available to answer questions and provide information and support on topics such as employment insurance, career exploration and retraining to name a few. One priority will be to conduct an employee assessment to develop a profile of age, education and skill levels. Targeted training will help employees upgrade skills to match the needs of the local economy. The office will also work with Maple Leaf Foods management and the United Food and Commercial Workers Union to connect employees and interested employers. The services will be provided at no cost to employees. “We provide a range of programs for workers in transition,” said Stu Gourley, senior executive director of the Department of Education’s skills and learning branch. “Once we have a profile of the employees, we will provide a range of training options — upgrading literacy and numeracy skills, acquiring a high school diploma or getting some post-secondary education through NSCC.” “The goal is to prepare these employees to take advantage of new employment opportunities as quickly as possible.” Transition services will be available to employees until they are no longer required.