College Extends Helping Hand To Ukraine

ukraine

Among the topics covered by President Patti France in her monthly report to the college’s Board of Governors during its April 26th meeting were:

HELPING UKRAINE

St. Clair’s administration will soon be discussing offering low- or no-cost educational opportunities to refugees from Ukraine who settle in the Windsor-Essex and Chatham-Kent areas.

St. Clair also contributed to a fundraiser for Ukraine staged by Colleges Ontario, the networking organization of the province’s two dozen public colleges. Its media release explained:

Colleges across Ontario have partnered on a joint donation of over $210,000 to UNICEF’s Ukraine emergency fund.

“Our hearts go out to all those whose lives are being torn apart,” said Don Lovisa, the past Chair of Colleges Ontario and President of Durham College. “We want to help families get the necessities they need, and try to make their lives a little easier.”

Donations to the Ukraine emergency fund will support the organization’s ongoing programs and response to the escalating need in Ukraine by providing communities with safe water, urgent medical aid and health-care services, child protection and education. UNICEF has been working in Ukraine since 1997.

In addition to other supports, 19 colleges contributed to the joint donation, along with contributions from Colleges Ontario (the sector’s advocacy organization) and the Ontario College Application Service (OCAS).

Some colleges have opted to make significant contributions as individual institutions. These include supports such as tuition relief programs, new scholarships, counselling programs, community partnerships and more.

“So many Ukrainian men, women and children are either displaced or living through the terrible situation in Ukraine,” said College’s Ontario President Linda Franklin. “This tragedy has affected everyone on our campuses and created a strong desire to help.”

NEW JOB TRAINING PROGRAM

St. Clair expects to see some enrolment arising from a new provincial job-retraining program – a replacement of the decades-old Second Career program.

Better Jobs Ontario was unveiled recently by the Ministry of Labour, Training and Stills Development.

France noted that it continues to concentrate on individuals who have, for one reason or another, lost their employment in a particular field or are “underemployed”, and are seeking education to enter completely different occupations that have more plentiful job opportunities.

The only difference between Second Career and the Better Jobs Ontario is that the duration of government-paid-for training has been reduced to one-year-long education programs.

The ministry’s media release explained:

The Ontario government is ... launching a new training program, Better Jobs Ontario. Anyone looking to train for in-demand work, including those on social assistance, who are self-employed, gig workers, youth, and newcomers to the province, can apply to start learning the skills they need to earn bigger paycheques for themselves and their families.

“To build a stronger Ontario, we need all hands on deck. Our government is on a mission to help everyday people earn bigger paycheques and we’re leaving nobody behind,” said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development. “Whether you are a young person struggling to break into the job market, a gig worker hustling to make ends meet, or unemployed and on social assistance, our government is here to give you a hand up to building a better life and stronger province for us all.”

Better Jobs Ontario will pay up to $28,000 in tuition and other costs for short-duration training programs that allow job seekers to match their skills with the needs of hiring employers in the community. Expanding on the current Second Career program, more applicants will now be eligible for up to $500 per week in financial support for basic living expenses.

“Better Jobs Ontario is an innovative program that provides important opportunities for individuals seeking meaningful employment in their communities,” said Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Children, Community and Social Services. “I encourage individuals on social assistance to pursue this incredible program if they can, with the certainty that they will not lose their health benefits while enrolled.”

The Better Jobs Ontario program funds tuition for training programs of 52 weeks duration or less, including eligible college and some university courses, micro-credential programs, and other vocational training programs.

Since January 2021, 5,168 people have started training through the program to get the hand up they need into in-demand long-term jobs in their communities.

Through Better Jobs Ontario, additional support applicants may also receive disability-related supports, childcare, or accommodation near their training, depending on their circumstances.

SPRING/SUMMER ENROLMENT

The days of largely barren college hallways from May to August are past, given the increasingly common enrolment in a number of programs during the spring/summer semester.

France told the Board of Governors that Spring first-year intake target was 1,350, students and there are currently 971 registered.

There are 3,087 returning students (1,207 domestic and 1,880 international), for a total of 4,058 students in Windsor and Chatham for the Spring semester (beginning May 9).