New High-Tech Programs Next Fall

new programs

St. Clair’s Fall 2023 semester will see the introduction of two new programs, approved by the school’s Board of Governors during its June 28th meeting.

The reports recommending the launch of the programs were presented to the Board by President Patti France and Senior Vice-President of Academics and College Operations Waseem Habash. Providing dditional commentary at the meeting was Vice-President Academic and Registrar Mike Silvaggi.

The first diploma program is a two-year-long one in Computer Programming – which may, eventually, be expanded into a three-year-long advanced program.

This is the resurrection of the Computer Programming program, last offered at the college 18 years ago.

This is added to the mix of computer-related programs that already feature an enrolment of 1,200 students: Computer Systems-Networking, Web Development and Internet Applications, Mobile Applications Development, Data Analytics for Business, Cybersecurity, and the Honours Bachelor of Business Administration (Information Communication Technology).

The report presented to the Board explained the rationale for the new program:

Demand for computer programmers and technicians is at an all-time high, and it is forecasted to increase over the next five to ten years. In April, 2022, St. Clair strategically created the Zekelman School of Information Technology to focus on the growth of this sector.

Computer programmers are an integral part of many industries. From medicine, automotive and education, to entertainment, business and IT, computer programmers support the technology that industries use by developing new applications to support the business operations or modify and support existing technology solutions. Students in the program will learn the core fundamental programming skills that will allow them to enter the workforce directly upon graduation, or to remain at the college for additional postsecondary credentials such as degree completion. Students in the program focus on three main development streams: desktop application development, native mobile application development, and web development. By focusing on these three streams, students will have a solid foundation to adapt to most industries that require their services.

Offering a two-year diploma in computer programming has several benefits. It will provide students who are looking for a shorter two-year program to develop fundamental programming skills, while also providing the flexibility to continuing their education at St. Clair College. Successful graduates of the two-year diploma will have the opportunity for the following pathways:

• Continue into the Mobile Application Development program. This would allow students to successfully complete an Advanced Diploma and expose them to additional programming pathways such as Gaming and advanced Cross-Platform Mobile Development;

• Pursue future post-graduate certificates. Students who continue their education after completion of the two-year diploma will have the opportunity to enhance their skill sets to better prepare them for employment.

This program is designed to appeal to prospective students interested in becoming computer application developers. Students will gain fundamental programming knowledge with a focus in the three development streams – desktop application development, native mobile application development for Android and iOS devices, and front-end and back-end web development. Students will also gain knowledge in database fundamentals, object-oriented analysis design, and user interface design. Graduates of this program may find entry level positions in industries that write, modify, and integrate software – both web and native – for mobile application devices, internet-based applications, and in other information technology and systems roles. Employment opportunities may be found in computer software and mobile applications development firms, information technology consulting firms, business environments, corporate training development organizations, and information technology units throughout the private and public sectors. This program will be an update to a computer programming course (T856) that was previously offered at St. Clair College.

LABOUR MARKET RESEARCH: Computer programmers are utilized in a wide variety of sectors including computer system design and development, finance and insurance companies, software developers and publishers, and public administration. Computer developers can also be employed in the various manufacturing sectors, as well as education services. It is expected that the employment outlook will be good for computer programmers, as there is an expected shortage of skilled workers over the period of 2019-2028.

STUDENT DEMAND RESEARCH: There are currently two colleges in our catchment area – Lambton College and Niagara College – that offer a similar program. A review of the 2017-2021 applications for all colleges offering a similar program indicates a stable demand from domestic and international students.

Enrolment for the new program is expected, conservatively, to see 125 students taken in each year: 20 domestic and 105 international.

Tuition revenue plus government grants, minus expenditures, is expected to see the program generate a financial profit for the college of about $1.83 million over its first eight years of operation (2023-24 to 2030-31).


Also approved by the Board, based upon another France/Habash report, is a two-year-long diploma program in Electric Vehicle Technician – again, to be launched in the Fall 2023 semester.

The report explained:

Electromobility now represents one of the most innovative and trailblazing areas of automotive technology.  There is a notable shift from the internal combustion engine (ICE) to electric vehicles (EV). All vehicle manufacturers have committed to an electric vehicle platform, with some phasing out of fossil-fuel-burning vehicles completely. For example, Ford Motor Co. has revealed its commitment to electrification through the evolution of its Ford truck (F-150) platform, which has been the Number One selling truck for over four decades, and has introduced an electric version which will have improved performance characteristics (i.e. power-to-weight ratio).

This shift towards electric vehicles has created a need to develop a graduate who is versed in digital electronics, network topology and module programming. As a result, students in this program will acquire new industry skill sets as they apply to service, repair and fault recognition problem-solving.

This diploma program will prepare a student for a career as an Electric Vehicle (EV) Technician within the maintenance, service and repair of EV (Electric Vehicle), PHEV (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles), and HEV (Hybrid Electric Vehicles).

The first year of this program will introduce students to the aspects of EV theory and practical fundamentals. Upon completion of the first year, students will obtain a certificate in Electric Vehicle Fundamentals, and may choose to seek employment in industry as a service maintenance assistant or enter into an apprenticeship program. The student will also have the opportunity to continue into the second year and obtain the Electric Vehicle Technician diploma. In the second year, the student’s theoretical knowledge and practical skills will be enhanced with focus on topics such as: EV powertrain, energy storage systems, electric machines, power electronic modules, thermal management systems, power and digital electronics, electric vehicle sensors/actuators including control systems, electric vehicle LV (low voltage) and HV (high voltage) charging, and electric vehicle computer network communication. This understanding will enable the student to apply problem-solving strategies associated with software, firmware and hardware used in automotive electric vehicle architecture.

Students will also be engaged in project-based learning and extensive hands-on experience and interpersonal skills’ development through practical learning experiences in conjunction with local community partners. Students will also be engaged in a work placement component in the third semester of the program, and which the college has secured placement commitment letters from local employers for 50 students.

LABOUR MARKET RESEARCH: The automotive sector is moving towards a new generation of automotive design and manufacturing, driven froward by rapid technological change, government policies and consumer preferences.  Connected, autonomous, shared, and electric vehicles will include cars, trucks, and commercial fleets that are equipped with hardware and software, giving them smart mobility features. Support for this evolution is evident through several leading industry associations, and provincial and federal policies and initiatives. This transition will result in a demand for technical skill sets associated with these new technologies.

Overall demand for automobility related roles has increased significantly in Ontario, from 303 job postings in 2019 to 2,395 in 2021. Employers are expecting employees to have new skill sets related to the autonomous and electric vehicles. Graduates from the Electric Vehicle Technician program can expect to find employment opportunities in both the direct manufacturing sector, as well as the sales and service sectors associated with automobility.

In addition to the above, St. Clair College wishes to support the regional efforts. Windsor-Essex continues to position itself as a leader in the Electric Vehicle space with the recent announcement of the Stellantis/LG Energy Solutions joint venture (the planned $4.9 billion Electric Vehicle battery plant).

EMPLOYMENT PROSPECTS: Some examples of employment opportunities for graduates from the two-year program will be in the areas of connected vehicles, the autonomous vehicle, cybersecurity, and electrified powertrains. Positions could be focused on: Service/Repair and testing EV systems and subsystems, local charging systems infrastructure implementation/repair, ICE to EV conversions, maintenance and repair of EV systems. Some examples of employers are PEM Motion, RIMAC, Ettractive, Potential Motors, MTB Transit and major OEMs (Ford/GM/Stellantis/Honda/Toyota).

STUDENT DEMAND RESEARCH: There are currently no institutions in our region with programs with an emphasis on electric vehicles.

First-year enrolment intake fon this program is estimated at 62 students annually: 40 domestic/Canadian and 22 international.

For its first eight years (2023-24 to 2030-31), this is expected to be a money-losing proposition for the college, with expenditures exceeding revenues by $1.7 million over that period. That deficit is caused chiefly by the significant capital investment of new equipment and lab/workshop reconfiguration necessary to deliver the new-from-the-ground-up program. Theoretically, equipment donations from electric vehicle manufacturers and suppliers might reduce those substantial start-up costs.

Despite the financial situation, the Governors shared France’s philosophy that it was essential for the college to develop training for what is anticipated to be an integral new industry in this area (and in Ontario and Canada).

She and Silvaggi both noted that many details associated with this and future electric-vehicle-related programs will be pinned down in coming months. Even now, France said, many leaders in the new industry aren’t entirely sure what knowledge-bases and skill-sets they will be requiring in their new employees. As those decisions are made, the college will be better able to set curriculum for this proposed program and other more specialized ones.

France and Silvaggi added that the new program:

- could be delivered, in part, in apprenticeship format;

- could generate some research-and-development opportunities for the school; and

- is so unique - not offered by any other school in the province - that it will foster St. Clair’s effort to be perceived as a “destination college”.


• Year-end financial details: 

• College’s energy conservation efforts: 

• Low domestic enrolment report: 

• College in good shape for new provincial funding formula: 

• President honoured, Board’s “changing of the guard”: