: A Skilled Workforce and Successful Students

BACKGROUNDER

Ministry of Finance

A Skilled Workforce and Successful Students

November 17, 2014

One of Ontario’s greatest strengths is its people’s talents and skills. By investing in them today, the Province will help foster a dynamic economy, stimulate innovation and increase prosperity for all Ontarians.

Achieving Excellence through Education and Training

Great Education and Training

The government is strengthening Ontario’s world-class education system through Achieving Excellence, a new vision that will take public education to the next level. The Province is also continuing to make postsecondary education more accessible and modernizing its employment and training programs.

Education

The government is strengthening our world-class education at every stage of life — from kindergarten to ongoing skills training for the experienced worker.

Helping Students, Teachers and Parents

Ontario is providing support for students, teachers and parents in elementary and secondary education through:

  • Completing the rollout of full-day kindergarten and investing in child care modernization
  • Providing free, real-time math tutoring to students in Grades 7 to 10 with Homework Help, a live, interactive online math resource in all English-language school boards
  • Providing one-on-one student support and interactive online resources in a variety of subjects in French-language school boards across the province, with SOS DEVOIRS
  • Awarding more than 2,200 Parents Reaching Out Grants during the 2014–15 school year to help school councils get more parents involved in their children’s education at home and school
  • Investing $150 million over three years in technology and learning tools and professional development for teachers.

Career Experience for Youth in High School and Postsecondary Education

High School

The government is helping high school students reach their full potential by making it easier for them to find their career passion and develop the skills they need for jobs in the 21st century. This is being done by:

  • Launching Experience Ontario
    • This nine-month paid community work and service program allows high school graduates to gain valuable work experience before they choose their career path.
    • The program provides experiential learning and career option information and training pathways to apprenticeship, paid employment or postsecondary education.
    • The first rollout will launch in 2015, through partnerships with communities and private-sector businesses.
  • Enhancing the Specialist High Skills Majors program
    • This innovative program allows students to choose a specific sector, such as health care or aerospace, and develop essential skills to better prepare them for life after high school.
    • As of the fall of 2014, more than 44,000 students will be enrolled in 1,685 programs, an increase of 2,000 students and 125 programs compared to the 2013–14 school year.

Postsecondary Education

Ontario has made postsecondary education more accessible by:

  • Increasing funding to postsecondary education by 83 per cent over the past 10 years
  • Providing more than $1 billion in grants and loans to students
  • Offering the 30% Off Ontario Tuition grant, which helped more than 230,000 students start college or university last year
  • Establishing Ontario Online, a Centre of Excellence for online learning that will give students access to high-quality online courses that are recognized for credit across many of Ontario’s colleges and universities.

Moving Youth into the Workforce

The government is committed to working with community partners, private-sector businesses, colleges and universities to create new opportunities for Ontario’s youth. The opportunities are being created by:

  • Extending the Ontario Youth Jobs Strategy, giving more young people the chance to gain a foothold in the job market. This strategy is on track to create 30,000 job opportunities, including more than 23,000 placements to date under the Youth Employment Fund.
  • Helping students develop entrepreneurial skills and transfer academic expertise and knowledge to the marketplace by providing $5 million over two years to the On-Campus Entrepreneurship Activities program and $20 million over two years to the Campus-Linked Accelerators program.
  • Investing nearly $1.2 million to expand Magnet, an innovative career-networking platform that matches employers with qualified university and college students and graduates. To date, more than 25,000 job seekers have created profiles through Magnet, generating more than 40,000 invitations for job seekers and employers to connect.

Improving Skills Training

Employment Ontario

Ontario invests more than $1 billion annually in employment, training and labour market programs and services through Employment Ontario, which serves more than one million Ontarians.

To ensure success, Ontario will improve the coordination and integration of the employment and training system by:

  • Developing a comprehensive Labour Market Information Strategy to improve access to high-quality labour market information. This will make it easier for job seekers, students and their families to make informed decisions about their education, training and careers.
  • Piloting Local Employment Planning Councils, the next generation of local boards, to promote place-based approaches to support the workforce and generate and analyze local labour market information. These councils will connect employers, different levels of government, service providers, trainers and other local partners.
  • Launching employer-driven skills training pilot programs and testing different ways of partnering with employers to address gaps in skills training.
  • Putting in place a common assessment framework to make sure individuals in search of training or employment get the supports they need to access the right services.
  • Establishing a new Ontario Centre for Workforce Innovation that will drive innovation and evidence-based service delivery across the province.

Canada-Ontario Job Grant

In March 2014, Ontario signed the Canada-Ontario Job Fund Agreement with the federal government, which provides a key source of funding for initiatives like the Canada-Ontario Job Grant. This program:

  • Encourages more employers to train employees
  • Provides up to $15,000 per person for training costs, such as tuition and training materials, including up to $10,000 in government contributions
  • Helps meet the needs of businesses of all sizes, industries and regions
  • Started accepting employer applications as of September 26, 2014.

Canada-Ontario Job Grant-funded Skills Training Pilots

As part of the Canada-Ontario Job Grant program, the government introduced two new employer-driven skills training pilots. These pilots will test different ways of working with employers to provide short-term, flexible training. They include the:

  • Customized Training pilot, which will provide support for firm-specific training solutions
  • UpSkill pilot, which will support essential and technical skills training tailored to specific sectors and targeted for potentially vulnerable workers in low- and medium-skilled occupations.

Strengthening and Promoting the Skilled Trades

Ontario’s well-qualified skilled trades are fundamental to ensuring the continued growth in key sectors.

  • The government has appointed Tony Dean, former Secretary of Cabinet and Head of the Ontario Public Service, to review key areas of Ontario’s skilled trades system that fall within the mandate of the Ontario College of Trades.
  • The independent review will determine whether certification to practise a trade should be compulsory or voluntary.

FOR MEDIA INQUIRIES ONLY:
Susie Heath, Minister’s Office, 416-325-3645
Scott Blodgett, Ministry of Finance, 416-325-0324

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