TIMMINS, ON: Northern College is pleased with the Ontario budget investment of $59.5 million to expand micro-credential retraining programs which will help more people who are unemployed acquire the expertise to return to the workforce.
“This first-ever funding will ensure more people are able to quickly acquire new career-focused skills,” stated Northern College President & CEO, Dr. Audrey J. Penner. “This will help more people find new employment and will help drive Ontario’s economic growth, and build this region of the province.”
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 which will centralize access to 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.
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 the provincial government 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,” stated Dr. Penner. “Northern is keen to work with the province and join Ontario’s 24 Colleges in becoming world leaders in post-secondary education and reinforcing the provincial and most importantly, regional economy. This substantial investment is the support needed to make this happen,” she continued. Along with the exciting Skills Catalyst funding we have received toward kick-starting micro-credentialing in the near future, these generous funding envelopes are positioning colleges well to pivot quickly and embrace the approaches needed to respond to a world forever changed, both as an economy and as a society. We are confident that we will continue to build a future together that is strong, invigorated, and highly engaging for both our graduates and the workforce that looks to us to train tomorrow’s leaders.”
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