Posted on May 14, 2012
By Bruce Lazenby
Federal government layoffs have been the focus of coffee shop conversations around the city for months. Now, these conversations are zeroing in on the specifics: the government departments that are downsizing; the employees who are affected; the employees who have already been deemed surplus.
For the thousands of public service employees who are now looking at their options, Invest Ottawa, the city’s economic development agency, has some advice.
The last time there were major federal government layoffs, Ottawa’s technology community was booming. Many government workers successfully made the transition to the private sector. This year, scores of great technology firms in Ottawa continue to look for workers. The city’s telecom-based technology giants of the past have morphed into dozens and dozens of startups, which today form the backbone of Ottawa’s growing knowledge-based business sector.
This dynamic sector of the local economy has seen spectacular success in industry clusters that include: wireless; clean-tech; defence and security; life sciences; and film, television and digital media.
Ottawa has more than 1,900 knowledge-based companies, companies whose value is found primarily in their intellectual property and whose revenues come primarily from exports. Their numbers have increased by several hundred in the past five years alone. By comparison, the Kitchener-Waterloo region has only about 800 such companies.
As part of its mandate to create economic growth in the city, Invest Ottawa last week launched a web service to help federal government employees, and others who are looking for work, to connect with companies in the knowledge-based sector that are hiring.
Public service employees may also want to consider joining Ottawa’s growing entrepreneurial momentum by creating their own businesses. There are many ways to start a business, and Invest Ottawa can help you figure out where and how to begin. We offer information and training, as well as incubation and acceleration programs.
At Invest Ottawa, we’re doing our part to transition federal government workers into new opportunities. We believe these talented women and men have lots to offer employers in this city. That’s why we’re doing our best to help them connect.
For more information, please go to investottawa.ca/careeroptions or visit us at our headquarters at 80 Aberdeen St., just off Preston Street near Dow’s Lake.