Ontario colleges praise government’s commitment to higher education

Mar 8, 2010

(TORONTO, March 8, 2010) – Ontario’s colleges, including Niagara College, are praising the important commitments made by the Ontario government today to produce more college and university graduates.

“Greater numbers of people will get the higher education and training they need to achieve success,” said Anne Sado, the chair of the colleges’ committee of presidents, “This is an important commitment to people’s futures and to producing a stronger workforce in this new knowledge economy.”

The government’s throne speech today included a commitment to increase the number of spaces in colleges and universities by 20,000 this year. As well, the government is pledging to support increasing the attainment rate of post-secondary credentials to the required 70 per cent from the current level of 62 per cent.

The throne speech also included a commitment to develop a new, five-year plan to improve the quality of post-secondary education. And the government says it will aggressively promote Ontario post-secondary institutions abroad, and increase international enrolment by 50 per cent.

“Today’s throne speech is a strong endorsement of the importance of Ontario’s post-secondary system in transitioning and strengthening Ontario’s economy,” said Dan Patterson, President, Niagara College, “Niagara College has taken a leadership role in re-training Niagara’s workforce for new careers in a changing economic landscape, and we welcome the enhanced focus and support by the Ontario government as we move forward.”

In addition, the government will create a new Online Ontario Institute, bringing the best instructors from colleges and universities to people’s homes through online learning.

“The government clearly recognizes the demand for post-secondary education and training continues to grow,” Sado said. “Ontario colleges are pleased with the vision spelled out today and look forward to seeing more details in the upcoming provincial budget.”

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For more information:

Sally Ritchie
Senior Communications Officer
Colleges Ontario
416-596-0744, ext. 242

Gord Hunchak
Niagara College

Niagara College professor inducted into trades hall of fame

Mar 8, 2010

Niagara College professor Don Gemmell was among nine inductees to the Klaus Woerner Skilled Trades Hall of Fame, during the ninth annual Skills Canada – Ontario Building Futures, One Dream at a Time, Fundraising Gala on March 5 in Kitchener.

Gemmell, a professor in Mechanical and Welding Techniques programs and Metal Fabricator (Fitter) Apprenticeship program at Niagara College, was recognized for his leadership in developing outstanding programming and lab facilities at the College. Gemmell was also instrumental in helping to raise funds for equipment in support of high school technology training. Since 1994, Gemmell has served as a Skills Canada – Ontario judge at the Ontario Technological Skills Competition (OTSC).

Niagara College’s Dr. Ben Cecil, Dean of the Environment, Media and Technology Division, and Kevin Hewitt, Manager of Apprenticeship and Technical Training, nominated Gemmell for the honour.

“Don is a strong advocate for skilled trades training, and recognizes the important role that skilled trades play in the sustainability and competitiveness of our manufacturing and industrial sectors,” said Dr. Ben Cecil, Dean of Environment, Media and Technology.

The Klaus Woerner Skilled Trades Hall of Fame recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to the advancement of skilled trades and technologies, including invention, innovation or advocacy in Education/Training, Entrepreneurship, Industry or Leadership.

Skills Canada – Ontario is a not-for-profit organization that promotes careers in the skilled trades and technologies to young people in Ontario as viable, first choice career options. Since 1989, through its partnerships in education, industry, labour and government, Skills Canada – Ontario is helping young people brighten their futures and industries strengthen theirs.

Niagara College is one of Ontario’s 24 publicly-funded Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology. With 8,000 full-time students, Niagara College offers more than 90 diploma, baccalaureate degrees and advanced level programs at campuses in Welland, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Niagara Falls and St. Catharines. Areas of specialization include food and wine sciences, advanced technology, applied health and community safety, and the College is home to the globally-recognized Niagara Culinary Institute and Niagara College Teaching Winery. In 2008, Niagara College launched an unprecedented $90 million campus redevelopment project, which is scheduled for completion in 2011. For more information, visit www.NiagaraCollege.ca.


For more information, contact:

Gordon Hunchak
Director, Marketing & Communications
905 735-2211 ext. 7567
905 650-7820 (cell)


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