(Kingston, Brockville, Cornwall, Nov. 6, 2020)
The Ontario budget investment of $59.5 million to expand micro-credential retraining programs will help more people who are unemployed acquire the expertise to return to the workforce, Ontario’s colleges said today.
“This first-ever funding will ensure more people are able to quickly acquire new career-focused skills,” said Glenn Vollebregt, President and CEO, St. Lawrence College. “This will help more people find new employment and will help drive Ontario’s economic growth.”
The 2020 Ontario Budget tabled on Thursday announced $59.5 million over three years to support Ontario’s new micro-credentials strategy, which will help people retrain and upgrade their skills to find new employment.
The funding will be used to create an online portal of micro-credential training opportunities, develop new micro-credential programs, launch a public awareness campaign and to develop a virtual passport that creates opportunities for people in the programs to pursue further learning.
“We’re thrilled that colleges are recognized for their excellent training and reskilling,” Vollebregt said. “At St. Lawrence College, we are underway with work and planning to offer micro-credentials that will benefit employers, industry, and job seekers in the communities that we serve. As well, broadband improvements are going to help our students with the connectivity they need to complete their training.”
The government also announced that students enrolled in qualified programs will be eligible to get student assistance.
Expanding micro-credential programs to provide more retraining opportunities was one of the recommendations in a recent white paper, The Future of Ontario’s Workers, by the StrategyCorp Institute of Public Policy and Economy. It was submitted to Colleges and Universities Minister Ross Romano as part of the minister’s consultations on modernizing higher education.
The paper has also recommended other important steps Ontario must take to produce a strong workforce that will drive economic growth. These include establishing career-focused three-year degree programs at colleges and creating master’s degrees at colleges for college and university graduates in specialized fields such as robotics, cybersecurity and animation.
“Colleges continue to be pivotal to the efforts to restore Ontario as an economic powerhouse,” Vollebregt said. “Colleges are keen to work with the province to become world leaders in post-secondary education.”