McGuinty Government Improving Access To Postsecondary Opportunity In Bruce County



    Students Learning Locally Through Co-op Diploma And Distance Education
    Technology

    KINCARDINE, ON, April 2 /CNW/ - The McGuinty government is helping young
people in Bruce County reach their potential through innovative postsecondary
programs, Carol Mitchell, MPP for Huron-Bruce, said today.
    Mitchell and Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities Chris
Bentley visited Bruce Power where a co-op program delivered by Fanshawe
College in partnership with Bruce Power and Power Workers' Union Training Inc.
is helping students kickstart their careers. The McGuinty government also
announced a new distance education access centre in Kincardine to make
postsecondary education and training more accessible in Bruce County.
    "Bruce County's economic success depends upon its highly skilled
workforce," Mitchell said. "Our community and local industry can now access
quality postsecondary education closer to home through co-op apprenticeships
and the new Kincardine access centre."
    Bruce Power and Power Workers' Union Training Inc. are training up to 25
Industrial Millwright Mechanic co-op apprentices from Fanshawe College's
Mechanical Technician diploma program. The Ontario government funds the
program with a $400,000 investment in the college.
    "Providing students with information and opportunities to learn a trade
benefits everyone," said Duncan Hawthorne, Bruce Power's president and chief
executive officer. "Innovations like this apprenticeship program let students
know there are many routes to a rewarding career."
    Bob Menard, executive managing director of Power Workers' Union Training
Inc., added, "This shows how unions can work with employers, government and
colleges to deliver innovative solutions to skilled trades training needs."
    Kincardine's new distance education access centre is being supported by a
$2.2 million investment in 2007 to implement the new network in five small or
rural Ontario communities.
    "We strongly support Minister Bentley's commitment to providing increased
learning opportunities for students in Bruce County," said Alana Murray,
superintendent of secondary education, Bluewater District School Board. "The
focus on co-operative education, apprenticeships and trades training validates
the importance of all career pathways for our students and the new e-learning
access centre will reduce the distance barriers for students in our district."
    "Distance education is a wonderful opportunity for our communities: to be
able to access post-secondary education without having to necessarily move
from the area is a significant one," said Patrick Cureton, director of
education, Bruce-Grey Catholic District School Board. "Not only will it afford
graduating secondary students the ability to test the college or university
waters, it will allow other individuals to complete post-secondary studies
that may be incomplete and even offer opportunities to pursue additional
certification, diplomas or degrees beyond post secondary education for those
who may have already completed one diploma or degree."
    "Our partner organizations along with the provincial government have
demonstrated a strong commitment to training and apprenticeships," said
Dr. Howard Rundle, president of Fanshawe College. "Our programs, combined with
enhanced co-op and distance learning resources, will provide amazing
opportunities for our students to learn in a dynamic environment."
    The new network will be implemented by Contact North/Contact Nord, which
has used advanced technology to bring high school, college and university
programs in English and French to students living in small and remote northern
communities for more than 20 years.
    The Co-op Diploma Apprenticeship Program combines a college diploma with
apprenticeship training, which adds flexibility to the apprenticeship system,
responds to employer needs and attracts more young people to the skilled
trades.
    "The Bruce Power/Fanshawe co-op program and the new access centre in
Kincardine are prime examples of how we're putting opportunities for
postsecondary education and training right at the fingertips of our youth,"
said Bentley.

    
    Disponible en français

                              www.edu.gov.on.ca
                         www.resultsontario.gov.on.ca



    Backgrounder
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

                     CO-OP DIPLOMA APPRENTICESHIP PROGRAM
    

    The Co-op Diploma Apprenticeship Program provides increased flexibility
and accessibility by offering people the opportunity to complete a college
diploma and, at the same time, register as an apprentice and work toward the
provincial Certificate of Qualification. The program also includes business
and entrepreneurship courses to help participants prepare to start their own
businesses, if they choose.
    When the program launched in 2004-05, six colleges delivered five
programs to 200 participants. New programs and participant spaces have been
added each year. In 2007-08, the government's investment of approximately
$10 million will add almost 700 spaces, bringing the program's cumulative
total to almost 3,500 participants.
    The Co-op Diploma Apprenticeship Program can be accessed through
Employment Ontario, Ontario's employment and training network. Employment
Ontario provides almost $1 billion in integrated training, apprenticeship and
labour market services, bringing together about 1200 service providers in all
regions of the province.
    People interested in participating in the Co-op Diploma Apprenticeship
Program should call the Employment Ontario hotline, at 1-800-387-5656, or
visit www.ontario.ca/employmentontario for details about individual projects.
    The McGuinty government has made a significant commitment to increase the
number of apprenticeship registrations to 26,000 annually in 2007-08. In
addition to the Co-op Diploma Apprenticeship Program, other programs and
initiatives to achieve this goal include:

    The Apprenticeship Training Tax Credit
    --------------------------------------
    The tax credit makes it easier for employers to hire and train new
    apprentices.

    Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program
    ------------------------------------
    This school-to-work transition program enables senior high school
    students to gain apprenticeship experience.

    Pre-Apprenticeship Program
    --------------------------
    This program provides individuals, such as youth, Aboriginal peoples,
    women and under-represented groups, with the opportunity to upgrade
    trade-related skills so they can be eligible for an apprenticeship.

    Apprenticeship Training Action Table
    ------------------------------------
    This initiative brings together partners in the apprenticeship system to
    help ensure government, education providers and industry are taking the
    right steps to achieve shared apprenticeship system goals.

    Minister's Apprenticeship Employer Recognition Awards
    -----------------------------------------------------
    This event honours businesses that have shown leadership in training
    their employees through the apprenticeship system.

    Apprenticeship Program
    ----------------------
    This program funds the classroom instruction component of apprenticeship
    training at Ontario's Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology and at
    designated private training centers.

    
    Disponible en français

                              www.edu.gov.on.ca



    Backgrounder
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

                 DISTANCE EDUCATION AND TRAINING IN ONTARIO
    

    Many rural and small communities are in the process of changing from a
resource-based to a knowledge-based economy. This requires that their
residents have access to postsecondary education and training.
    Residents of rural communities, however, face numerous barriers accessing
postsecondary education, such as: a limited selection of courses and programs,
no technological connection to distance-learning opportunities and a lack of
programs tied to local labour market and/or economic development.
    The use of distance e-learning technology is one of the most efficient
and effective ways to quickly increase access to higher education in small and
rural communities, particularly those regions not directly served by a college
or university.
    To create even more opportunities for students, especially those in rural
communities, the Ontario government is investing almost $2.2 million in 2007
to implement a distance education and training network in southern Ontario. As
a first step, five access centres will be established in rural communities in
southern Ontario. It is expected that students will be able to access
postsecondary courses and programs through the new centres by September 2007.
    The Ministry of Education invests $10.4 million to support distance
education across Ontario.
    This initiative is part of the Reaching Higher plan, a historic
$6.2 billion multi-year investment to enhance the accessibility, quality and
accountability of postsecondary education in Ontario.
    Through the plan, the government is investing $20 million in 2007-08 -
rising to $55 million in 2009-10 - to help community organizations and
postsecondary institutions deliver programs that improve access for
francophones, Aboriginal peoples, persons with disabilities and those who
would be the first in their families to attend college or university. Special
focus is also being given to ensure residents of rural communities have
expanded and enhanced access to postsecondary education and training
opportunities.
    Last year, the government of Ontario announced a $1.5 million investment
to help Contact North/Contact Nord expand its award-winning distance education
and training network to over 20 new communities. The organization was
established more than 20 years ago through a shared commitment between the
Ontario government, communities and educational institutions. It is Canada's
largest distance education and training network, providing access to the
courses of 14 colleges, universities and school boards in northern Ontario
through more than 85 access centres.
    At the centres, students use a combination of audioconference,
videoconference and e-learning technologies to complete courses without having
to leave their community.
    OntarioLearn.com, which is a consortium of 22 Ontario colleges, also
develops and delivers online college courses. Students can take courses from
their home or office, accessing their course at their convenience.
    Many individual colleges and universities also offer distance education
courses and programs using a variety of delivery methods.

    
    Disponible en français

                              www.edu.gov.on.ca
    




For further information:

For further information: Sheamus Murphy, Minister's Office, (416)
325-7215; Tanya Blazina, Communications Branch, (416) 325-2746; Public
Inquiries: (416) 325-2929 or 1-800-387-5514, TTY: 1-800-263-2892

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Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities

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