TORONTO, May 2, 2013 /CNW/ - Ontario universities are actively engaged
in producing a highly skilled workforce that will boost Ontario's
knowledge-based economy, and welcome the provincial government's Youth
Jobs Strategy as another component in helping students succeed.
"Graduates leave our institutions with the knowledge and critical
thinking skills they need to move across many occupations over their
lifetime in an increasingly complex job market," says Alastair
Summerlee, Chair of the Council of Ontario Universities (COU) and
President of the University of Guelph.
"Ontario universities endorse any effort by government to create new job
opportunities for our graduates in this economy, and to support our
innovators and entrepreneurs."
In its 2013 provincial Budget, the Ontario government announced it is
investing $295 million over two years as part of a youth employment
strategy, which it estimates will create 30,000 new jobs.
The strategy includes youth entrepreneurship innovation funds to support
the next generation of job creators, as well as a fund to connect
business, labour, educators and youth in another effort to help prepare
students for their careers.
This new strategy recognizes the success of universities' initiatives in
innovation and entrepreneurship. In part, the new strategy will provide
more support to on-campus startup incubators, and foster an even
greater level of entrepreneurial activity by university students.
"Our university graduates get jobs faster than those with any other
level of education, but they also rely on the support of business and
government to succeed," says Bonnie M. Patterson, COU President and
"Universities are creating more internships and co-op placements with
employers than ever before to give students real-life experience and to
introduce business leaders to potential employees. Action from
government on youth employment will have a positive influence on our
ability to ensure students' success in the workplace."
Universities are preparing students for the future with rigorous
academic programs, greater attention to innovation skills, increased
online learning, spaces for student startups and work-integrated
They endeavour to protect a quality learning experience for students,
ensuring they are equipped with the problem-solving and communication
skills as well as global understanding valued by employers today,
despite the dual fiscal challenges of a reduced tuition cap and cuts to
A reduced tuition cap, announced in March, followed a cut in operating
grants announced in the last provincial budget of $40 million in
2013-14 and nearly $80 million in 2014-15.
Universities acknowledge the difficult choices the government has had to
make in its budget to address the deficit, while enhancing Ontario's
We welcome the government's commitment to continued expansion of
undergraduate and graduate spaces, and planned new investments to
support our efforts to develop innovation and entrepreneurship of our
Ontario universities also welcome the government's commitment to invest
in critical research infrastructure through the Ontario Research Fund.
A recent report by CIBC listed 25 occupations showing signs of a skills
shortage over the next several years. Almost all of these occupations
require a university degree.
The latest statistics show that 87.5 per cent of Ontario students are
finding employment within six months of graduation, and 93.1 per cent
are employed within two years.
Despite economic uncertainty, these are well-paying jobs. University
students are earning an average of $42,403 six months after graduation,
more than those with any other level of education.
Within two years of graduation, 82 per cent of graduates working full
time say their work is related to the skills they gained in their
Universities are major contributors to the province's economic
well-being by producing a highly skilled workforce and research that
Ontario universities have made significant advancements in productivity
by accommodating the enrolment of more students than ever, while
operating with the lowest per student funding in Canada.
COU is a membership organization of 21 publicly assisted universities in
Ontario. 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.
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:
Director, Strategic Communications & Media Relations
T: 416-979-2165 ext. 233