Ontario Universities Commend Budget Measures to Enhance Highly Educated Workforce

TORONTO, March 21, 2013 /CNW/ - The Council of Ontario Universities (COU) commends measures in the 2013-14 federal Budget intended to enhance the pool of highly educated, highly skilled employees and job creators so critical to a strengthened economy.

Strong economic growth requires a strong, talented and diversified workforce, and federal funding for training and research is helping Ontario's universities develop the next generation of employees, innovators, entrepreneurs and educators.

"Preparing the workforce to drive the economy, and funding enterprising research that leads to new business in Ontario are key elements to our success," says Alastair Summerlee, Chair of COU and President of the University of Guelph. "Through our teaching and research, Ontario universities contribute immensely to our economic recovery."

The federal budget supports funding for advanced research infrastructure and provides multi-year support for new large-scale research competitions and initiatives that will provide a competitive advantage globally, as well as national and international partnerships.

A new strategy for international students will also bolster the economy, and there will be supports for Aboriginal education.

Continued funding for core and high-profile research programs at Ontario universities creates jobs and fosters a highly skilled workforce.

"Our people are our greatest natural resource and our province can only be as productive and competitive as its people," says Bonnie M. Patterson, COU President and CEO.

"Ontario's university graduates are mobile, and getting the kind of training, knowledge and skills needed to address Canada's productivity issues is fundamental."

University research is a critical training ground for students, allowing them to gain hands-on experience and practical know-how that will serve them and the companies and organizations that hire them well. Ontario universities are also fostering a sense of innovation, producing entrepreneurs who create jobs for themselves and others.

A recent report by the CIBC listed 25 occupations showing signs of a skills shortage over the next several years including engineering, medicine, dentistry, health and education management, auditing and financial investment services.

A few of the occupations listed would require apprenticeships, while the vast majority would require a university degree.

COU is a membership organization of Ontario's 20 publicly assisted universities and the Royal Military College of Canada.  It works closely with the provincial and federal governments to shape public policies that help universities deliver high-quality programs for students, and the research and innovation that improves the social, cultural and economic well-being of Ontarians.

Quick Facts:

  • Ontario is home to 445,532 university students.
  • 87.5 per cent of university graduates find jobs within six months of graduation; 93.1 per cent within two years.
  • University graduates earned an average of $42,403 six months after graduation.
  • 78 per cent of university undergraduate students report that their educational experience was good to excellent.
  • Universities are teaching innovation and producing entrepreneurs who create jobs for themselves and others.
  • In 2008, the higher education sector was the second largest performer of research and development in Ontario carrying out an estimated $4.58 billion in research and development or 33% of the province's total research activities.

Visit the Council of Ontario Universities website at www.cou.on.ca
Follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/CouncilofOntarioUniversities
Follow us on Twitter at @OntUniv

SOURCE: Council of Ontario Universities

For further information:

Wendy McCann
Director, Strategic Communications & Media Relations
T: 416-979-2165 ext. 233
C: 647-271-0825
wmccann@cou.on.ca

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