Ontario faces significant challenges to its global competitiveness. At the same time, demographic trends point to growing skills shortages and to increased competition worldwide for skilled labour. In the face of these challenges, there is an urgent need to ensure the economy has the skills it needs and individuals have access to recognized, credentialed education and training that meets their individual aspirations and supports their transition to long-term employment. The proposals contained in this document also address a key priority of the McGuinty government: addressing poverty. For example, with youth unemployment at nearly 14 per cent, Ontario must ensure that at-risk youth, who have even higher unemployment rates, participate in education and training programs such as the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program, Job Connect and Learning to 18.
There is a need to refocus our employment and training programs and services to respond to identified labour market needs and support long-term labour force attachment.
Ontario’s colleges have a mandate to offer a comprehensive program of career-oriented postsecondary education and training to assist individuals in finding and keeping employment, to meet the needs of employers and the changing work environment, and to support the economic and social development of their local and diverse communities. We represent a significant public investment.
A government-college partnership that capitalizes on the colleges’ mandate and the public investment in colleges represents a prudent approach to meeting the labour market challenges Ontario faces.
The programs and services that individual colleges deliver at the local level vary depending on local needs and circumstances. Within this context, Ontario’s colleges are committed to playing a pivotal role in assisting the province. We represent a stable, accountable, province-wide, publicly funded infrastructure that delivers a comprehensive range of programming in English and in French and provides essential support services to individuals to enhance their potential