College presidents say infrastructure dollars needed now



    TORONTO, May 20 /CNW/ - The presidents of Ontario's 24 colleges say
infrastructure projects may be in jeopardy if government funding for the
projects doesn't start flowing immediately.
    "The window of opportunity for colleges to build is starting to close,"
said Anne Sado, the chair of Colleges Ontario and president of George Brown
College, following a meeting today of the presidents of Ontario's 24 colleges.
    "We are ready to go, but running out of time for some desperately needed
projects. On college campuses, summer is often the only time construction can
be undertaken."
    The federal government has allocated $2 billion over two years for
infrastructure projects at colleges and universities across Canada, while the
Ontario government's spring budget committed $780 million over two years to
capital funding for Ontario colleges and universities.
    At this point, details of the funding for Ontario college projects have
not been announced by the federal government.
    "We should not miss the opportunity to create new jobs immediately and to
invest in the province's economic strength over the longer term," said Sado.
    "These shovel-ready projects will stimulate job growth and create new
spaces to help colleges deliver quality education and training to Ontario
students."
    The need for capital improvements at the colleges is growing more urgent.
The recession has increased the numbers of students applying to colleges. This
year, there was a 10 per cent increase in the number of applicants for
programs that start in January, nearly double the 5.1 per cent increase in
January 2008.
    "A college education provides excellent opportunities for people training
or retraining for meaningful, long-term careers," Sado said.
    "More than 90 per cent of our graduates find work within six months,
which is a very attractive prospect in the current economy. But if we don't
start the infrastructure projects, we cannot accommodate these students."





For further information:

For further information: Sally Ritchie, Senior Communications Officer,
Colleges Ontario, (416) 596-0744, ext. 242


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