Each year, Career Colleges Ontario holds the CCO Awards at our annual conference. The awards ceremony celebrates the exceptional community engagement of the province’s career college graduates as well as one outstanding instructor and community-centric campus initiative.

Career college graduates are the skilled workers that have kept the province running while providing essential services to their communities. They are our healthcare workers, our skilled labour workers, our mechanics, and our hairstylists, to name but a few. They are a proud and vital component of Ontario’s skilled workforce. Truly, there has never been a more important time to recognize our graduates than now.

Each year more than 30,000 skilled workers enter Ontario’s labour pool after training at one of Ontario’s 650 career college institutions—that’s collectively more than 300,000 in the last decade. They are unique, not only in their demographic—3 out of 4 students are over 25 years old, nearly half are parents, and roughly 70% are women—but also in their stories and triumphs in the face of adversity.

We consider the CCO Awards to be the highest honour our sector can provide next to a fulfilling career. The CCO Awards is the opportunity for all of us to amplify the stories our sector holds dear, so be sure to nominate an amazing and deserving candidate today.

Applications will be available soon.

The 2023 submission deadline is Thursday, March 30, 2023

All submissions must be sent to awards@careercollegesontario.ca.

Criteria for nominees in the Outstanding Graduate categories:

  1.  The nominee has clearly demonstrated their academic excellence while enrolled at a registered career college that is a CCO member in good standing.
  2.  The nominee has achieved outstanding accomplishments while employed in their career field; and
  3.  The nominee has made invaluable contributions to their community.

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Criteria for nominees in the Excellence in Teaching category:

  1.  The nominee has put forth extraordinary efforts in their particular field of teaching while at a registered career college that is a CCO member in good standing;
  2.  The nominee has strived to continually build positive relationships with their students; and
  3. The nominee has positively contributed to their community.

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Paul Kitchin served as the Executive Director of Career Colleges Ontario from 1990 to 2017. During that period he shepherded the growth and development of CCO from its role as a business-centered association to one which placed CCO and its member colleges as key components in the education and training resources available in the Province of Ontario. Mr. Kitchin skillfully represented career colleges and their students in numerous provincial, federal, and international committees and initiatives and had a special focus on institutional quality, ethical business practices, student outcomes, inclusivity, and outreach. In honour of his outstanding contributions to CCO, to the students of career colleges, and to the broader goals of job training and retraining in Ontario, the members of CCO established The Paul Kitchin Award for Outstanding Community Involvement to be awarded annually to a CCO member college that has exhibited exceptional service in the enhancement of the prosperity of Ontarians.


The award recognizes initiatives or programs that are designed

  • to enhance the welfare and self-sufficiency of individuals in one or more of the following groups: children, youth, seniors, disabled, indigenous, newcomers, single parent, un- or under-employed;
  • through targeted community outreach initiatives or programs
    • either that are not a part of the college’s regulated or registered activities, or
    • if directly connected to those activities, demonstrate an exceptional/unique and novel design;
  • which initiatives or programs have one or more of the following purposes that are most relevant to the activities and mission of a career college:
    • people who are economically vulnerable are able to meet their basic needs
    • people who are economically vulnerable have access to community services that enhance financial stability
    • people have the skills & knowledge to achieve greater financial independence
    • people become or stay employed
    • people become entrepreneurs;
  • and which has the result of assisting people from the targeted group(s) to increase their self-sufficiency and the economic well-being of their family and community


To be eligible for nomination, the college must:

  • be a registered PCC that has been in “good standing” with the Ministry for the last 5 years (and must remain in good standing through the evaluation process),
  • be a member of CCO for at least 5 years,
  • be under the same ownership for the last five years, and
  • not have received the Paul Kitchin award in the last 5 years

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