Colleges experience major jump in applications



    TORONTO, Jan. 8 /CNW/ - There was a 10 per cent jump in applications to
programs that start in January at Ontario's 24 public colleges, figures
released today by Colleges Ontario confirmed.
    As of Jan. 5, there were 43,850 applicants to winter programs at the
colleges, compared with 39,866 applicants at the same time last year. The
increase this year was almost double the 5.1 per cent increase last year over
the previous year.
    "I don't think there is any question that this is a sign of things to
come," said Linda Franklin, president and CEO of Colleges Ontario. "As Ontario
continues to cope with the economic downturn, we anticipate more people will
see the advantages of the training and retraining provided by our colleges.
    "The government is partnering with colleges to ensure Ontario is doing
everything it can to provide the education and training workers require to get
back into the labour force with the skills they need, and I think these
numbers indicate that for many people, this is the right approach," Franklin
said.
    More than 90 per cent of college graduates find work within six months
and 93 per cent of employers are satisfied or very satisfied with the
graduates they have hired in the past six months.
    Even in the current economy, college graduates are in demand as employers
look for qualified people to fill vacant positions. This demand will intensify
in the years ahead as the baby boomers retire. In Ontario, the Conference
Board of Canada estimates the province will face a shortage of more than
360,000 skilled employees by 2025.
    The increased enrolment does create new operation cost pressures for
colleges, which must ensure the programs and resources are in place to deliver
quality programs to greater numbers of students. As governments develop their
budgets this year, it will be essential to ensure that the education and
training of Ontario's workforce is a priority and that government investments
address both the operating and capital pressures created by increased
enrolment.
    "Colleges create well-trained, innovative thinkers who enhance our
economic prosperity, says Franklin. "We need to give colleges the tools they
need to continue this invaluable contribution."





For further information:

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


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