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Colleges pleased that Premier Wynne agrees to consider three-year degrees

2013-05-29

(May 29, 2013) – Ontario colleges are pleased that Premier Kathleen Wynne has agreed to start a process to consider establishing three-year degree programs

at the province’s public colleges.


“Employers are increasingly seeking people with a combination of a post-secondary degree and career-specific skills and qualifications,” said Glenn Vollebregt, President and CEO, St. Lawrence College. “Expanding the range of degree-level programs at Ontario’s colleges will help more people find meaningful work when

they graduate, especially our young people.”


The presidents of Ontario’s 24 colleges met with Premier Wynne on Tuesday afternoon at Queen’s Park. The meeting was arranged to discuss measures to strengthen post-secondary education in the province. Other issues addressed at the meeting included fiscal challenges and apprenticeship reform. At the meeting, Premier Wynne said the government wants to work with colleges to ensure the province has the agility to meet labour market needs. At the end of the meeting, the premier agreed to investigate the three-year degrees issue in partnership with the colleges.


“We appreciated getting the opportunity to meet with Premier Wynne and especially her openness to a dialogue about an issue we are passionate about. We are looking forward to working with the government to implement changes to help more people get the education, training and retraining they need,” Vollebregt said.

Ontario’s colleges successfully deliver four-year degree programs in a range of career-specific fields. Three-year degree programs are currently available at universities but those programs aren’t designed for people seeking an applied education.


In most of the world, graduates of three-year post-secondary programs earn a degree. Furthermore, many of Ontario’s three-year college programs are already aligned with provincial standards for baccalaureate education. Providing more career-focused degree programs at colleges will help greater numbers of people, including those in underrepresented groups and students at risk, pursue  a wider range of career options.


Ensuring the credentials in Ontario accurately reflect the program of study will also open up more career opportunities for unemployed people seeking retraining and provide more opportunities for students to ladder into honours programs and graduate studies. This is important as Ontario works to close the skills mismatch – the gap between the skills held by many people seeking work and the qualifications sought by employers.  Many people looking for jobs can’t get hired for available positions because they don’t have the right credentials and skills. The problem is expected to get worse as technology continues to transform the workplace. In his groundbreaking report on the issue – People Without Jobs, Jobs Without People – Seneca College president emeritus Dr. Rick Miner said more than 700,000 Ontarians will be unemployable by 2021 due to insufficient education and training. Meanwhile, more than one-million jobs will go unfilled.


The government understands the skills mismatch is a significant challenge. As Premier Wynne said recently in the Toronto Star, “We need to make sure that we are providing training programs in areas where there actually are jobs.”


To help address the mismatch, Ontario should offer a full range of degree, diploma and certificate programs to help more people find meaningful work and achieve long-term success, the college presidents said. The province should also reform the apprenticeship system to encourage more young people to enter the trades.

“We need to ensure more people entering the workforce have the qualifications and skills to find meaningful work,” Vollebregt said.

 

 

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 About St. Lawrence College

With three friendly campuses in Brockville, Cornwall, and Kingston, St. Lawrence College is an integral part of the economic vibrancy of Eastern Ontario. St. Lawrence College is a close-knit community of 6,700 full-time students from Canada and from more than 40 countries worldwide, with more than 70,000 alumni. As part of ongoing sustainability initiatives, the College recently completed the installation of more than 1,600 solar modules on the roofs of our Kingston and Brockville campuses, the largest solar roof-top installation of any post-secondary institution in Canada. In addition to this investment in our campus infrastructure we have recently completed a multi-million dollar revitalization of our Cornwall campus. The college has many exciting Applied Research projects in progress, as well, our Corporate Learning and Performance Improvement group has helped more than 200 organizations grow and prosper. Hundreds enroll in our part-time and distance education courses each year. We work with thousands of clients annually at our Employment Service locations in Kingston, Sharbot Lake, Sydenham, and Ottawa.

 

 

 

For more information:

Laura Tulchinsky
St. Lawrence College
Marketing and Communications
613-544-5400, ext. 1291, ltulchinsky@sl.on.ca