SUDBURY -- As with many things, COVID-19 has drastically changed the labour market and Ontario is adapting its Second Career grant program to help retrain those laid off due to the pandemic get training for in-demand jobs.

The Ontario Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development made the announcement Thursday evening in a news release that it will help pay to train people who lost their jobs due to the pandemic since March 1.

"The Ontario government is providing $77 million to help people who were laid off due to the impact of COVID-19 find in-demand jobs in their local communities," the province said. "This funding is being provided through the redesigned Second Career grant program and will help more than 2,750 job seekers with up to $28,000 for tuition, training materials and living expenses."

Sectors identified include advance manufacturing, life sciences, information and communications, and supportive health services.

"Our government will connect people to rewarding careers, enabling them to contribute to our economic recovery," said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development. "Our updated and improved Second Career program will help people get back on their feet, learn new skills and provide hope for them and their families."

The focus will be on training programs that can be completed within a year or less and the changes have removed existing funding caps for tuition and include a wider range of institutions.

Second Career grants can provide up to $28,000 to pay for tuition, books, program fees, transportation, childcare and up to $410 per week as a basic living allowance.

Priority is being given to those whose employment was impacted by COVID-19, including those without post-secondary education and from industries such as hospitality, food service, transportation, warehousing, wholesale and retail trade.