BORRELLI – St. Clair College officials are urging the provincial government to approve policy changes that would allow them to expand their career-specific degree programs.
The college says Ontarians overwhelmingly support proposals to expand the range of career-focused degree programs at colleges, with a new poll showing nearly 70% support creating a degree program from three years.
The proposed changes would include the creation of new three-year study programs, an increase in the number of four-year study programs, and the creation of master’s programs in specialized technical fields such as robotics and animation.
College President Patti France said the changes would create more career options for graduates, including new opportunities to step into leadership positions.
Ontario colleges currently offer a mix of four-year degree programs, two-year and three-year degree programs, classroom apprenticeship training, and graduate certificate programs for university and college graduates.
France says the three-year degrees currently offered by Ontario colleges do not match academic standards in other parts of the world.
“Completion of at least three years of study at a post-secondary institution, regardless of its educational format, deserves the designation of a ‘diploma’,” she said. “The expansion of college degree programs will help more students acquire the specialized expertise employers are looking for. “
Unifor and the auto company Flex N Gate have written letters of support for credential reform that colleges are asking the provincial government to do.
“Graduates of the Ontario college system are consistently motivated, skilled and talented contributors to our businesses,” said Guido Benvenuto, vice president of engineering for Flex N Gate. “Within our companies, their exemplary academic learning experience translates into the type of technical and leadership attributes that are fully compatible with a degree designation.”
Dino Chiodo, automotive director at Unifor, said his union strongly supports the college’s initiative to meet the changing skill needs of the auto industry as the auto industry shifts to electric vehicles.
“Improving access to degree programs in St. Clair is critical to ensuring Unifor members and other workers in the Windsor-Essex region can fully support and benefit from this transition. of the automotive industry, ”said Chiodo.
The online survey of more than 1,000 Ontario adults was conducted last month by Innovative Research. Overall, research has found strong support for expanding the range of college degree programs.
Specific results of the survey can be viewed online.