SUDBURY -- A young Sudbury man participating in the Ontario Works program while he struggled to find employment during the pandemic, has landed a job.

It's at a local company that is expanding and planning to hire more people on Ontario Works.

Owner Shawn Scott started Local Jerky Plus over a year ago and said the business is quickly growing. In fact, he said he can't keep up with the demand.

"We currently have roughly around 200 stores that we are distributing to, due to COVID we can't get into the majority of those stores but we are fulfilling a lot of our franchise stores such as our Mobil gas station, our Mr. Gas's, and our Independent Grocer," said Scott.

The business owner recently hired a 22-year-old James Thompson who was on Ontario Works for the past year and a half. He now makes more in a week than he collected in a month on social assistance.

"It's not really sustainable, so finding this job through the YMCA employment was really a stroke of luck cause I was having very little luck finding a job," said Thompson.

Scott said he was on Ontario Works for a short time at one point in his life and now wants give people in that position new opportunities.

"To help these individuals make more money and have an apartment like, it's a great feeling, it's a great feeling to grow something from the ground up and to be able to hire these individuals and give them a better life," he said.

Sudbury City Councillor Bill Leduc is encouraging people to shop local to support businesses like this that help drive the local economy.

"Without them we are in trouble, because you can't go to a big box store and say sponsor my child in hockey or soccer or whatever it is that we need. Theses are the businesses that support our economy," said Bill Leduc.

Thompson is also encouraging people to buy local.

"Always shop local, especially in the middle of a pandemic, you know, we got lots of people that are going through lots of things and the best thing we can do is try and support each other," said Thompson.

Scott said he plans to expand his operations to meet the demand and that will include hiring more people who are currently on Ontario Works.