The Ontario Youth Jobs Strategy that was approved Tuesday, June 11, as part of the Ontario budget represents a significant step in addressing the skills mismatch, said MaryLynn West-Moynes, Georgian College President and CEO.
“Helping young people get good jobs is a priority,” West-Moynes said. “The skills mismatch in Ontario is making this more challenging. Colleges will play a central part in the province’s strategy to help young people acquire skills and qualifications that are aligned with the job market.”
The skills mismatch is the divide between the skills and credentials held by people looking for work and the qualifications sought by employers. Growing numbers of people – particularly young people – are unable to find work because they don’t have the right education and training.
The problem is expected to get worse as new technology and innovations transform the economy and create increasing demands for a more highly skilled workforce.
The government has acknowledged the Youth Jobs Strategy, which was the centerpiece of this year’s budget, must help address the mismatch. Referring to the Youth Jobs Strategy, Premier Kathleen Wynne said recently, “We need to make sure that we are providing training programs in areas where there actually are jobs.”
The career-focused programs at Ontario’s 24 public colleges will be particularly important to the success of the strategy.
The implementation of the strategy should include measures to encourage more people to pursue higher education, including apprenticeship training. The province should also strengthen its credit-transfer system for post-secondary students, to help more people get a combination of both university and college education.
“Even in this difficult economy, applied learning and career-focused training helps graduates find meaningful work,” said West-Moynes. “We look forward to working with the provincial government to help Ontario address the skills mismatch.”