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Funding allows for 40 new apprenticeship spaces

2009-03-09

Come this fall, the hallways at St. Lawrence College should be a bit more crowded.

Local MPP Jim Brownell announced Friday that the local campus would be receiving $1.22 million to create spaces for 40 new students in the college's two co-op diploma apprenticeship programs.

The co-op programs let students complete college courses while training as an apprentice at the same time. At the Cornwall campus, the new spaces are reserved for students looking to become automotive technicians, welders, or metal fabricators.

"I've always been a booster of education in the community," said Brownell. "And the skilled trades are an area . . . that needs enhancement, that needs greater opportunities."

The funding is part of the province's $2-billion Skills to Jobs Action Plan, which is intended to boost training for Ontarians in high-skilled jobs.

While students traditionally go back and forth between the college and their employer to get training and apprenticeship hours, the co-op programs "combine both of those things simultaneously," said campus dean Don Fairweather.

"This will provide employers with employees who are better skilled, who can do a whole range of things early on in their career," said Fairweather.

Before the announcement, Fairweather led Brownell and about 50 other people on a tour of the cam-pus's skilled trades workshops. The tour included a demonstration of the college's $25,000 plasma cutter - a state-of-the-art metal fabrication tool that was installed a month ago.

The new money for St. Lawrence College comes on the heels of another major funding announcement for the skilled trades in S, D and G.