Editor’s Note: The content of the press release below should translate into many more work-placement opportunities for St. Clair students in a number of tech-and-trades programs.
Contributed by the Provincial Government
Ontario's government is investing $19 million in the next generation of talent for the auto manufacturing and advanced manufacturing industries, to create more hands-on learning opportunities for postsecondary students, recent graduates and apprentices.
The announcement of the new funding was made at Windsor’s Cavalier Tool and Manufacturing factory on January 28.
"Ontario's auto sector needs highly skilled people to master the challenges of economic change and stiff global competition," said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development. "Through this investment, we not only help our future engineers, designers, managers, technicians and tradespeople to apply their studies to real world problems, we also allow them to explore the auto industry as a career option."
As part of its Driving Prosperity Plan, the provincial government has released a call for proposals for a second round of hands-on learning projects through. It is creating as many as 4,000 paid work placements, between ten weeks and four months in duration. Automotive manufacturing and advanced manufacturing companies with a footprint in the auto sector, industry associations, postsecondary institutions, and other not-for-profit organizations are encouraged to submit proposals through the Transfer Payment Ontario website.
The first round of the Career Ready Fund's Auto Stream created more than 1,000 learning opportunities for postsecondary students, recent grads and apprentices, through projects by Toyota, Honda, Ford and Fiat Chrysler, as well as from the broader supply chain through Automotive Parts Manufacturers' Association and the Canadian Tooling and Machining Association.
"Hands-on, experience-based learning is a critical part of educating the next generation of workers," said Ross Romano, Minister of Colleges and Universities. "It provides employers and students the opportunity to build connections and ensure that our students are given the training and tools they need to be successful in their careers."
"Once again, Ontario's automotive and tool, mold and die sectors have demonstrated their steadfast commitment to skills training, and we're delighted to continue this productive partnership as part of our Driving Prosperity auto plan," said Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade. "Ontario's highly skilled and productive auto workers are among the province's greatest assets as we advocate for new industry investment and production mandates with global auto makers."
"The Career Ready Fund's Auto Stream helped to create permanent connections between the next generation of Ontario leaders and the limitless potential of its automotive sector," said Flavio Volpe, President of the Automotive Parts Manufacturers' Association. "This Fund bridges the most acute gap we all have to a sustainable future for our sector, and it ensures that the brightest talent finds a home within the province's biggest industry."
"The core of any manufacturing operation is the skilled workforce. We are all aware of the current skilled trade shortages, and the demographic reality that it will get worse. This needs to change," said Tim Galbraith, Sales Manager at Cavalier Tool and Manufacturing. "It has been refreshing to hear that Premier Ford's administration has made this a priority of the government. Access to, and funding of, the resources required to bolster the numbers of trades is imperative if Ontario is to maintain its leadership role as the manufacturing heart of Canada."
The call for new proposals under the Career Ready Fund's Auto Stream will be open until February 25, 2020. Ontario expects to announce the successful proposals in Spring 2020.
The first round of the Career Ready Fund’s Auto Stream provided $5 million in funding to recipients. Ontario is now investing $14 million in the second round.
The fund will provide incentives to employers of up to $3,000 per placement, or up to $5,000 for placements for participants with disabilities.
Experiential learning, sometimes also called work-integrated learning, increases the employability of postsecondary students because it gives them meaningful opportunities to apply their academic knowledge to real workplace problems.
The Career Ready Fund Auto Stream aims to create structured, meaningful work-integrated learning opportunities like internships.
Increasing the pipeline of qualified individuals in the trades benefits the provincial economy by helping businesses in the sector meet their demands for talent, ultimately improving competitiveness and productivity of the industry.
More than 100,000 people are directly employed in Ontario’s auto assembly and parts industry, with thousands more in spin-off jobs in communities across the province.
The auto industry contributes almost $14 billion to Ontario’s economy, representing around two percent of provincial GDP.