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Ontario Expanding Specialist High Skills Major and Dual Credit Programs

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Ontario Expanding Specialist High Skills Major and Dual Credit Programs

Province Connecting More Students With Their Preferred Career

Ministry of Education

Ontario is expanding the popular Specialist High Skills Major and Dual Credit programs to help more high school students turn their passions into career opportunities.

The Specialist High Skills Major program offers high school students the opportunity to match their skills and interests with a career path while earning their high school diploma. This year the program is expanding to serve an additional 2,000 students across the province. Students can choose from 19 different sectors including aerospace, healthcare and transportation to help them prepare for apprenticeship training, college, university or the workplace.  

As announced in the 2015 Budget, a Specialist High Skills Major pilot program is also being expanded to train 6,500 students in skills that are valuable in today's economy including innovative thinking, problem solving, creativity and entrepreneurship.

The Dual Credit program helps students who face barriers in graduating high school to earn credits that count toward their high school diploma and a postsecondary certificate, college diploma, degree or apprenticeship certification. This school year, the program is expanding to include 600 more students across the province.

Helping more students succeed is part of the government's economic plan for Ontario. The four-part plan builds Ontario up by investing in people's talents and skills, making the largest investment in public infrastructure in Ontario's history, creating a dynamic, innovative environment where business thrives and building a secure savings plan.  

Quick Facts

  • This is the 9th year in a row that Ontario is expanding Specialist High Skills Major programs in high schools across the province.
  • The Specialist High Skills Major program was awarded the Gold Innovative Management Award from the Institute of Public Administration of Canada in 2013.
  • Starting this fall, more than 46,000 students will be enrolled in 1,760 Specialist High Skills Major programs — this represents 2,000 additional students and 123 new programs compared to 2014-15 school year.
  • Starting in the 2015-16 school year, 22,400 students will be in over 570 Dual Credit programs at school boards and colleges of applied arts and technology – this represents 600 additional students compared to last year.
  • The number of students in Dual Credit programs has grown from 2,865 in 2007-08 to 22,400 approved placements for the 2015-16 school year.
  • The five-year high school graduation rate was 84 per cent in 2014, which is 16 percentage points higher than the 2004 rate of 68 per cent.

Additional Resources


“I’m very proud of our innovative and highly successful Specialist High Skills Major and Dual Credit programs. School boards have worked very closely with local industry leaders on what skills and knowledge are essential and recognized in their sectors. Jurisdictions from around the world have come to study our success.”

Liz Sandals

Minister of Education

Media Contacts



Education and Training