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Colleges pleased with commitment to labour market training

(Toronto, Feb. 21, 2008) – Ontario colleges are pleased that the federal and provincial governments are directing funds to labour market training to strengthen the skills of the province’s workforce.

“This is an important commitment to skills training in Ontario,” said Linda Franklin, president and CEO of Colleges Ontario, in response to the signing of the new Canada-Ontario Labour Market Agreement. “At a time when Ontario is facing a serious shortage of skilled workers while youth unemployment is higher than in the rest of Canada, access to quality education and training has never been more important. We are pleased that Ottawa and Queen’s Park recognize the importance of investing in education and training in today’s economy.”

Colleges will be central to the success of the labour market training in Ontario, and the colleges will work with governments to ensure programs are delivered effectively.

Franklin noted that 40 percent of Canadian adults don’t have the literacy and numeracy skills they need. Today’s agreement would enable to Ontario colleges to expand their literacy programs to address this challenge.

Ontario’s colleges already provide a wide range of education and skills training programs to 500,000 full- and part-time students and are ideally positioned to play a key role in helping the province make significant progress in:

• Providing programs and services to help people living in poverty or low-income jobs to find meaningful, long-term employment
• Integrating new and foreign-trained immigrants into the workforce
• Expanding the delivery of literacy and apprenticeship programs in Ontario
• Providing transition support programs.

“There is much to be done to ensure everyone in our workforce is able to fulfil his or her potential,” Franklin said. “We are pleased that Ontario will be able to move forward in providing skills training to greater numbers of people.”

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