Ontario Construction News staff writer
The provincial government will expand dual credit programs for high school students to spur interest in skilled-trades careers.
Another $4.8 million was announced last week to expand the program and create opportunities for an additional 2,200 students to earn college credits and take apprenticeship training while still in high school.
The dual credit programs allow secondary-school students to take college courses or apprenticeship training that count towards their Ontario Secondary School Diploma and a postsecondary certificate, diploma, degree or a Certificate of Apprenticeship.
“This expansion supports our government’s broader mission to fill the skills gap by better connecting and ultimately inspiring Ontario students to enter these good-paying jobs,” said Education Minister Stephen Lecce. “By placing a real emphasis on life and job skills like coding, financial literacy and budgeting, along with more hands-on learning opportunities in the classroom, we are ensuring Ontario students graduate with a competitive advantage.”
Students will be able to use college services as well as the supervision and support of their dual credit teacher. Training Delivery Agents including trade unions will now be included in the delivery of Dual Credit Level 1 Apprenticeship training programs.
Currently, 100,000 construction trades workers will be needed by the end of the decade to deliver Ontario’s ambitious $160 billion plan to build critical infrastructure, housing and transit.
“For far too long, parents and students have been told the only path to success in life is by going to university, which is simply not true,” said Monte McNaughton, minister of labour. “When you have a job in the trades, you have a job for life. Our government will continue to give students the tools they need to land six-figure salaries and purpose-driven careers.”
The government is also expanding the dual credit program to attract 420 students over two years into Early Childhood Education career pathways, which is critical to ensuring qualified workers enter the sector as demand rises following the implementation of Ontario’s plan to improve affordability and accessibility.
For the 2023-24 school year the dual credit program expansion will include:
- an additional 400 students in apprenticeship in-class training
- an additional 400 students in technological education college courses
- an additional 180 students in Early Childhood Education college courses
The province estimates that approximately one in five job openings in Ontario are projected to be in skilled trades-related occupations by 2026.