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Ontario Equipping More Adults with Essential Job Skills for Free

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Ontario Equipping More Adults with Essential Job Skills for Free

Province Doubling Investment in Literacy, Math and Digital Skills Training to Prepare People for Changing Economy

Ontario is providing more free skills training for adults to help equip people with essential literacy, math, and digital skills and prepare them for the changing economy.

Deb Matthews, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development, was at the Laubach Literacy Ontario and Ontario Native Literacy Coalition conference in London to announce this historic new investment.

Ontario is providing free reading, writing, math and digital skills training to an additional 80,000 adult learners across Ontario over four years. In 2015-16, the province helped more than 42,000 learners develop these essential skills through its investments in adult education.

As the economy and labour market become more technology- and knowledge-based, new skills are required. Fifteen per cent of working-age adults in Ontario have difficulty understanding calculations, reading instructions or working with a computer. This new investment will help more people get the training and skills they need to pursue employment and educational goals in a changing economy.

Ensuring adult learners have the skills to succeed is part of our plan to create jobs, grow our economy and help people in their everyday lives.

Quick Facts

  • This $185 million investment means that Ontario will double its support for essential skills training by 2020-21, helping an additional 80,000 learners improve and upgrade literacy and skills.
  • This initiative is part of the government’s Lifelong Learning and Skills Plan, which will ensure that Ontario’s adult learners and workers have the support they need to adapt and thrive at every stage of their career.
  • The Premier’s Highly Skilled Workforce Expert Panel advised that improving literacy was important to developing a workforce prepared for the demands of the modern economy, and made several recommendations to improve adult learning opportunities.
  • Studies have found that a one per cent increase in literacy can lead to a 2.5 per cent increase in labour productivity.

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“The economy is changing and our government is determined to see that no one is left behind. To do this, we need to ensure that people in Ontario of all ages and at all stages of their lives are able to easily access high-quality training that will prepare them for the jobs of today and tomorrow. That’s why our government has made this investment in literacy and essential skills that will help more than 80,000 additional adult learners across the province.”

Deb Matthews

Deputy Premier and Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development

“Literacy matters and is a critical issue for our province. We are thrilled that the Government of Ontario is increasing its investment in adult students and literacy programs across our province. This important funding will help increase the capacity of Ontario’s literacy agencies to support the varied goals and needs of adult students with literacy challenges. This commitment will help adult students to build a brighter future. It’s a good day for literacy in Ontario!”

Jette Cosburn and Joanne Kaattari

Co-Executive Directors, Community Literacy Ontario

“If you don’t have literacy, it puts you way behind in life. I love to help people and I want to be a social worker but I didn’t have the literacy skills to succeed at college. But thanks to the great teaching and encouragement from the Barrie Literacy Council, I’m well on my way to meeting my goals. In fact, my writing skills have improved so much that I’m enrolled in Georgian College’s social work program in September!”

Diane Marion

Literacy and Basic Skills student, Barrie Literacy Council

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