Many rural businesses struggle to locate sufficient labour force. Many job vacancies go unfilled. How rural communities and businesses are able to attract and retain workers needed to generate economic development and vitality is a critical question. Lissel Hernandez-Gongora, a new postdoctoral fellow with the School of Environmental Design and Rural Development, will examine this issue in partnership with rural communities and businesses.

Over the next year, Lissel’s work will engage regional organizations to analyze the various dimensions influencing young adult decision-making with respect to location and career path. The research will supply insights for the development of strategies to retain or attract young adults to join the labour force in Ontario rural communities. Best practices and stories of success will be identified, collected and shared.

Lissel recently completed her PhD in Rural Studies from the University of Guelph. Her doctoral research examined the REDD+ program, governance and public policy in Quintana Roo, Mexico. This postdoctoral fellowship is funded through the Mitacs Elevate program in partnership with the Rural Ontario Institute. Lissel will work with Ryan Gibson (Libro Professor of Regional Economic Development) and Norm Ragetlie (Rural Ontario Institute).