The Ontario government is providing $15 million to accelerate the development of rapid training programs and help people retrain and upgrade their skills to succeed in their current careers or find new employment. In partnership with industry, employers and other organizations, the province is inviting post-secondary institutions to design more micro-credentials that will prepare Ontarians for the in-demand jobs of today and tomorrow.
“We no longer live in a world where people work in the same profession for 40 years and retire with a golden watch,” said Ross Romano, Minister of Colleges and Universities. “We know that Ontario workers will change careers and professions multiple times over the course of their lives and that is why we are providing more training options that will rapidly prepare people for good jobs.”
Post-secondary institutions will have eight weeks to submit proposals for funding under the Ontario Micro-Credentials Challenge Fund. Successful applicants will be notified by Summer 2021, and each institution and their partners will have until December 2021 to begin enrolment.
“Universities and colleges connect the dots of Ontario’s resilient economy by training sought-after graduates, future-proofing workers and offering relevant training opportunities that impact their local and regional communities,” said Minister Romano. “Today, we are making good on our promise to create more industry-relevant training opportunities for Ontarians.”
Additional incentives will be available for post-secondary institutions with the best proposals in their provincial regions. Institutions that demonstrate success in enhancing community partnerships, driving economic recovery and increasing job growth will be eligible for an award of up to $1 million.
This announcement is part of the Government’s three-year $59.5 million micro-credentials strategy and builds on the recent announcement to provide financial support to students accessing hundreds of micro-credentials through the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP).
Micro-credentials are rapid training programs that help people retrain and upgrade their skills to find new employment. Alongside degrees, diplomas and certificates, micro-credentials offer a new post-secondary option for learners. Offered by public and private colleges, universities and Indigenous Institutes, micro-credentials are short in duration, may be completed online, and can be designed for the specific needs of employers and jobs.
In March, the Ontario government expanded the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) to include over 600 micro-credential programs, becoming the first province in Canada to financially support students taking micro-credentials.
The 2021 Budget, Protecting People’s Health and Our Economy, includes an additional $2 million to develop a virtual skills passport that tracks learners’ credentials to allow them to share credentials digitally with prospective employers.
The Ontario Micro-credentials Challenge Fund will support the creation of micro-credentials for a wide range of non-apprenticeable occupations. Training in the skilled trades is supported by a robust framework of programs and supports included in the province’s apprenticeship training system.
Funding for additional micro-credentials comes from the Canada-Ontario Workforce Development Agreement.