Career Colleges Request Collaboration to Close Ontario’s Skills Gap

Career Colleges Request Collaboration to Close Ontario’s Skills Gap
BRANTFORD, ON, Oct. 22, 2019 – Career Colleges Ontario is requesting the MTCU engage with the sector to explore opportunities for collaboration in closing the skills gap. This request is made after the ministry directed the 26 Ontario workforce planning boards to identify projected shortages in skilled trades earlier this month.
 
As educators specializing in expedient, local-centric training since 1866, career colleges are presently an under-utilized yet highly effective instrument in the province’s tool-kit as it seeks to build a skilled workforce. 
Quick facts:
 
  • The skills shortage costs Ontario’s economy 4 per cent of its GDP—$24 billion—and forgoes $3.7 billion in provincial tax revenue annually.
  • There are more than 600 campuses training in more than 70 communities across the province.
  • Despite 41 per cent of employers reporting shortages in areas of Construction, Technology, Business
    and Hospitality, Ontario career colleges are prohibited from offering apprenticeship training.
  • Career colleges contribute more than 30,000 skilled workers to Ontario’s workforce each year.
  • Mature students make up the majority of those enrolled at career colleges.

Submission to The Honourable Ross Romano

October 18, 2019

Re: Career Colleges Request Collaboration to Close Ontario’s Skills Gap
Recently, the MTCU directed the province’s 26 workforce planning boards to identify projected shortages in skilled trades over the next five years.
We appreciate that the ministry recognizes the growing skills gap that poses an exponential risk to the future of the province’s economic wellbeing. The skills shortage costs Ontario’s economy 4 per cent of its GDP—$24 billion—and forgoes $3.7 billion in provincial tax revenue annually. It’s a posing threat that if left unaddressed will cause businesses to stagnate and unemployment and precarious work to rise.
 
As the ministry pursues solutions to alleviate socio-economic pressures at the heart of these troubling market trends within the GTA and Northern regions, we implore you to consider the transformative impact career colleges and their graduates have on local communities. There are more than 600 campuses training in more than 70 communities across the province.  However, Ontario career colleges are prohibited from offering apprenticeship training—a component the Conference Board of Canada says 41 per cent of employers need in areas of Construction, Technology, Business and Hospitality.
 
Career colleges are a vital yet tragically overlooked resource that is ignored at the expense of those most vulnerable to the effects of our skills shortage. We once again refer you to our career college student demographic study. Public and career college students are not interchangeable. Their needs, age, ambitions and responsibilities are fundamentally different from community college students fresh out of high school.
 
We ask that you consult with the sector to recognize the services and student demographics of career colleges. Career colleges are proficient trainers and retrainers that contribute more than 30,000 skilled workers to Ontario’s workforce each year. However, they are seldom brought into discussion when they’re most needed; a recent example being the closure of the General Motors assembly plant in Oshawa.
 
In a recent CBC report, the executive director of the Workplace Planning for Sudbury and Manitoulin identified a glaring issue that career colleges are well-suited to address right now: “There is a misalignment between what’s happening in college versus what’s happening in the field in terms of the real world of work.”
 
Career colleges are specialists that excel at delivering flexible, local-centric training. Their presence means students and their families do not have to uproot for an education, and their success becomes their community’s success.
 
Sincerely,
 
Christopher Conway
Chief Executive Officer, Career Colleges Ontario
Media Contact
Dyson Wells
Marketing and Communications Officer
(519) 752-2124 Ext.115

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