Faculty of Animation, Arts & Design
Degree: English and Media Studies
Year of graduation: 1980
It’s widely known that Canada is facing a major skilled labour shortage this decade due to mass retirements, a declining national birth rate and increasing demand for major projects. Jim Wright is aiming to stem this tide through his work with the Ontario Construction Secretariat (OCS) promoting apprenticeship training programs for young people.
The only organization of its kind in Canada, the OCS works with both labour and management to foster a healthy construction industry. As part of his job, Jim visits high schools, and produces one of Ontario’s largest construction career fairs, encouraging youth to explore the opportunities in the construction trades. “Once you explain the realm of possibilities - from being a skilled tradesman to a site supervisor or owning your own company - students start to see just how big this industry is,” says Jim. Skilled trades people can also take pride in having a hands-on role in building major landmarks, such as the Air Canada Centre or the CN Tower, he adds.
Like many alumni, Jim’s path from graduation to his current position took a few turns. Following a stint at Stelco in video production, he worked freelance before changing direction and joining the Unemployment Insurance arm of the Ontario government, from which, in an ironic twist of fate, he was laid off. He further developed strong customer service skills through positions in a mail order house and at what is now Hanson Brick. He worked his way through the company to become the Marketing Services Manager before leaving after 17 years to join the OCS in 2004.
Jim met his wife Allison, through the Burlington Light Opera (now Drury Lane Productions), of which they were both members. Married in 1984, the Wrights live in Burlington with their three children, two of whom attend Sheridan. Daughter Emma, a professional ballet dancer, is in her third year of the Athletic Therapy program. Son David is a first-year student in the Computer Systems Technology - Systems Analyst program. Allison is further connected to Sheridan as a continuing education graduate of the Executive Secretary program.
Both Allison and Jim have maintained their lifelong passion for the arts, through work at their local church. Jim has been a member of the seven-person gospel group, Praise Unlimited, for 18 years. He and Allison also participated in five different murder mystery productions as part of Mystery Unlimited. Both groups have raised more than $80,000 for charitable causes and local churches over a 10-year period. From a different artistic angle, Jim is a longtime wood turner, making bowls, ornaments and pens which are sold at a local store and gallery, as well as craft fairs. Through his many creative talents, Jim knows the satisfaction of giving back to his community.