Colleges and Universities Must Meet Job Market Needs
12 February 2013
QUEEN’S PARK – Ontario has too many students who graduate with degrees – and deep debts – and then can’t find a job, PC Leader Tim Hudak and Training, Colleges and Universities Critic Dr. Rob Leone said today.
“Our colleges and universities must meet the needs of a twenty-first century job market,” Hudak said. “If we can help them achieve that goal, our investments in post-secondary education will grow our economy too.”
Hudak and Leone – himself a former Wilfrid Laurier professor – made the comments to launch Paths to Prosperity: Higher Learning for Better Jobs.
“Ontario has strong colleges and universities,” Hudak said. “But too many graduates can’t find work in the areas for which they’ve prepared. At the same time, we face a shortage of skilled workers in the coming decades,” he added, noting a 2012 Auditor General’s finding that only 65 per cent had found jobs related to what they studied in university.
Leone said we must ensure we have better schools producing graduates with the skills to meet the needs of our economy: “So along with ideas to improve quality for students at universities, we propose a ‘College First’ strategy for more applied learning.”
Higher Learning for Better Jobs calls for:
- Allowing colleges to offer three year applied degrees, such as a Bachelor of Applied Technology Degree, designed to teach leadership roles in the construction industry
- Expanding the “dual credit” program, so more high school students consider college, in which students can earn credit toward their high school diploma and their college education, and
- Encouraging regional relationships between colleges and universities and linking future growth in universities to creating paths for transferring college students
Hudak called our colleges and universities “the great equalizers” for giving students from any background a path to a good job. “Our strategy will ease the pressure on universities, and ensure students who choose university are properly prepared and receive the best quality education.”