Expanding Literacy Training
Increasing literacy and basic skills of Ontarians is a priority for the McGuinty government, which recognizes that literacy training plays an important role in strengthening Ontario's workforce.
The 2009 Ontario Budget announced an additional $90 million over two years to expand literacy and basic skills training. This funding is helping up to 13,000 more Ontarians each year prepare for more highly skilled jobs by supporting literacy and basic skills programs at almost 300 sites across the province.
Part of this additional funding will support 35 Workplace and Community Workforce Literacy and Essential Skills projects to help Ontarians access literacy training. Most of these projects are operated through partnerships among literacy and basic skills agencies, agencies in the Employment Ontario network and local employers. The projects will offer the skills upgrading and basic skills training where people need them the most -- whether in workplace or community centres.
The province is also supporting an upgrade to the Academic Career Entrance (ACE) program to help almost 2,000 learners access online courses this year. ACE is associated with all colleges and Ontario Learn and provides academic upgrading courses.
Ontario is increasing the number of people who receive literacy services through a variety of programs such as Second Career, Pre-apprenticeship Training and Ontario's Rapid Re-Employment and Training Service.
Specialized programs will also help French-language learners, Aboriginal learners and adult learners who are deaf.
In total, over 61,000 learners will access literacy, basic skills and academic upgrading programs this year.
Waterloo Region Projects
Three new partnerships have been formed to deliver Workplace and Community Workforce Literacy and Essential Skills projects in the Waterloo Region:
- The Conestoga Career centre will receive over $558,000 to help 220 learners complete apprenticeships and promote apprenticeship to small and medium businesses. The project will also provide upgrading to unemployed, underemployed and internationally trained skilled workers so they can enter apprenticeships. Partners include Employment Ontario, Preparatory Programs/Academic Upgrading, Trades and Apprenticeships and the Alliance of Ontario Food Processors.
- Project READ Literacy Network Waterloo-Wellington will receive more than $119,000 to develop a curriculum for essential skills numeracy. The curriculum will be field tested with 33 people laid off within the past three years or on Ontario Works. Partners in this project include Cambridge Action Centre, Literacy Group of Waterloo Region, Action Read, Wellington County Learning Centre and Project READ Literacy Network.
- The Literacy Group of Waterloo Region will receive over $77,000 to develop a curriculum to upgrade computer skills and test it with about 25 immigrant workers at Montreal Woolen's Canada.