The Premier’s Highly Skilled Workforce Expert Panel on Thursday released its final report, which will help Ontario develop an integrated strategy to meet the needs of a dynamic economy for today and tomorrow.
Building the Workforce of Tomorrow: A Shared Responsibility makes recommendations on how the province can build on its world-class skills, education and training systems to prepare Ontario’s current and future workforce for the technology- and knowledge-based jobs.
Premier Wynne said: “A highly skilled and adaptable workforce is the foundation of Ontario’s economic competitiveness. Employers, educators and government all have key roles to play to prepare the workforce for tomorrow’s technology-driven knowledge economy. I want to thank the panel members for their report. I look forward to continuing to work with them, and all of our partners, to address the recommendations.”
The government will continue to work with the panel members in the next few months to develop actions informed by the report’s recommendations in six key areas:
- Building stronger partnerships between educators and employers by establishing a new Planning and Partnership Table, supported by a new Workforce Planning and Development Office within government. Employers, educators, labour, government and others would work through this table to drive solutions for skills and talent development, and for experiential learning. And Industry Tables would address mismatches between the skills that industries need and what the workplace offers
- Increasing access to job market information by working with the federal government to help lead the creation of a national system to give employers and job-seekers better access to information such as where jobs exist and which skills employers will need in the future
- Expanding opportunities for learning by experience by funding more placements so that every student completes at least one experiential learning opportunity bef ore graduating from high school, and another before finishing college or university
- Promoting both traditional and non-traditional career paths by increasing students’ exposure to options including the arts, science, engineering, technology, skilled trades and entrepreneurship
- Investing in human capital by launching programs to support training in the workplace and encouraging large employers to share successful training programs with small and medium-sized enterprises
- Closing gaps in skills and competencies by finding ways to teach and recognize the skills that students learn, such as teamwork, problem solving and entrepreneurial spirit, and by developing training programs for groups underrepresented in the workplace to allow them better access to employment opportunities.
The panel will use the remainder of its mandate to work with the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Dev elopment and other ministries to develop projects that will implement recommendations in the report.
Investing in people’s talent and skills is part of the government’s economic plan to build Ontario up and deliver on its number-one priority to grow the economy and create jobs. The four-part plan includes helping more people get and create the jobs of the future by expanding access to high-quality college and university education. The plan is making the largest investment in public infrastructure in Ontario’s history and investing in a low-carbon economy driven by innovative, high-growth, export-oriented businesses. The plan is also helping working Ontarians achieve a more secure retirement.
- Ontario invests $1 billion annually in education and skills training through Employment Ontario.
- Starting in 2017–18, the Ontario Student Grant will make average college and university tuition free for students from families with incomes of $50,000 or less, and more affordable for students from families earning from $50,000 to $83,000.
- The province will expand the Specialist High Skills Major program this fall to accommodate 2,000 more students and over 100 new programs for the 2016–17 school year.
- Since 2003, Ontario has invested more than $300 million in over 360 Ontario Bridge Training Programs that have served over 60,000 internationally trained individuals. – Ontario Government/CINEWS