George Brown College President Calls on Next Ontario Government to Create new Skills Development Strategy



    TORONTO, Sept. 17 /CNW/ - Anne Sado, President of George Brown College
today called for the next Ontario Government to address the emerging skills
shortage in the province by creating a new skills development strategy. Ms.
Sado delivered her message in a speech to the Canadian Federation of
University Women (CFUW) in Oakville.
    Ms. Sado stated that the province is approaching a critical shortage of
skilled workers and that the college network has never before seen the kind of
stress on the system that it is currently facing. She noted that the skills
shortage is being created by the wave of retirements that is sweeping the work
force combined with the increasing lack of adequate investment in the College
system to keep up with the growing demands of the workplace. This makes the
rationale for expanding the advanced applied education system in the province
quite clear.
    "Now, more than ever, we need Ontarians to understand the central role of
Colleges as a primary supplier of well trained and well educated workers," she
said.
    "Educational institutions and colleges in particular, are finding
themselves at a crucial turning point. Our key role as the bridge between
employers and students puts us at the forefront of any comprehensive skills
development strategy. We need a strategy that can achieve the goal of building
a sustainable, skilled workforce."
    Ms. Sado suggested that the new strategy must address six critical policy
areas which have been identified by Colleges Ontario, the association
representing the 24 Colleges in the province, as being crucial to the future
of the labour market in Ontario.

    
    They are:

    1)  Ontario must implement policies and programs to increase post
        secondary attainment rates to 75 per cent.

    2)  The Province must significantly increase the retraining of the
        workforce, including a commitment to a 25 per cent increase in the
        number of employees receiving retraining or new training.

    3)  Ontario must go further to remove barriers for foreign-trained
        immigrants and develop common systems and approaches for recognizing
        credentials.

    4)  Ontario should increase its competitive advantage by making it easier
        for students to transfer between university and college.

    5)  Ontario needs to better market and promote the growing demand for
        skills education, and

    6)  Ontario should increase its investment in the college system to at
        least match the national average.
    

    Ms. Sado concluded her remarks by stating that, "A new approach must
include making our education and training systems more responsive to the needs
of young people, adults and to labour market changes. Ontario must be a place
where people know they can find the training they need to get good jobs, and
where employers feel confident that every employee they hire has the necessary
skills and knowledge to do the job - and to do it well."
    The full text of President Anne Sado's speech may be found on the
College's website at www.georgebrown.ca.

    About George Brown College

    Established in 1967, George Brown's three campuses are located in
downtown Toronto, the most multicultural city in the world. With more than
14,000 full-time students, including 1,400 international students, GBC is one
of Ontario's fastest growing colleges. GBC offers more than 150 programs
ranging from one-year certificates to four-year bachelor's degrees. In
addition, over 60,000 continuing education students are enrolled in more than
1,300 courses.





For further information:

For further information: Paul Zanettos, Media Relations Consultant,
George Brown College, Office: (416) 415-5000 ext. 3428, Mobile: (416)
893-5435, pzanetto@georgebrown.ca


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