Ontario must also invest in college infrastructure projects



    TORONTO, Jan. 28 /CNW/ - The presidents of Ontario's 24 colleges are
urging the Ontario government to follow Ottawa's lead and invest in college
infrastructure projects in this year's provincial budget.
    "This is a tremendous opportunity for Ontario to create new jobs
immediately and to invest in the province's economic strength over the longer
term," said Anne Sado, the chair of the colleges' committee of presidents and
president of George Brown College.
    "Investing in shovel-ready projects will stimulate job growth and create
new spaces to help colleges deliver quality education and training to Ontario
students."
    Sado's comments follow yesterday's federal budget announcement of
investments into college infrastructure. The presidents from Ontario's 24
colleges met in Toronto on Monday and Tuesday and the capital requirements at
colleges was one of the main subjects of discussion.
    Building repairs are long overdue in many colleges. Major systems such as
water, sewer, mechanical, electrical and heating and air-conditioning need
renewal.
    There are also health and safety issues to address, such as facility
modifications to improve access for disabled students. And additional capital
funding will enable colleges to improve energy conservation and reduce future
energy costs.
    These kinds of renewal projects are in keeping with the province's plans,
announced in 2004, to revitalize public infrastructure projects in priority
areas such as schools, hospitals and roads.
    The need for improvements 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.
    "Many people, including the recently unemployed, recognize that a college
education provides excellent job opportunities," 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.
    "Infrastructure investment at the colleges will mean government is
investing in the future labour force as well as in immediate job creation in
the short term," Sado said.





For further information:

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


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