Colleges applaud investments into a stronger workforce

    TORONTO, March 25 /CNW/ - Ontario's 24 colleges are applauding the
provincial government's announcement today of budget investments to support
the education, training and retraining of the workforce.
    "A well-educated and highly skilled workforce is essential to Ontario's
prosperity," said Linda Franklin, president and CEO of Colleges Ontario. "The
budget investments into the education and training of our workforce will help
more businesses and industries to compete, and help more people to fulfil
their potential and find meaningful and well-paying jobs."
    The 2008 Ontario Budget announcements include $75 million over three
years to expand apprenticeship, $45 million over three years for
state-of-the-art equipment for apprenticeship, $60 million over three years
for equipment renewal, and new funding for capital improvements.
    The budget also includes investments for a new Second Career Strategy,
new funding for student aid and supports, and investments to support
international students.
    The budget announcements are particularly important as Ontario addresses
the skills shortage. Some sectors are currently struggling to find qualified
employees, and this situation will intensify in the years ahead as the Baby
Boomers retire.
    The Conference Board of Canada estimates Ontario faces a shortage of more
than 360,000 skilled employees by 2025. This could further escalate to a
shortage of more than 560,000 skilled employees by 2030.
    "The McGuinty government has correctly identified the skills shortage as
a priority in Ontario," Franklin said. "This budget recognizes Ontario must
produce greater numbers of college graduates to meet the workforce challenges
throughout our economy."

For further information:

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

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