Conestoga news

July 14, 2009 1:20 PM

Wilkinson Announces $111,584 for Conestoga Literacy Programs

Ontario is expanding its literacy and basic skills programs across the province, John Wilkinson (MPP, Perth-Wellington) announced today on behalf of his colleague, the Hon. John Milloy, Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities. As part of this activity, the Stratford campus of Conestoga College will receive an additional $111,584.

"I am delighted that Conestoga College in Stratford is receiving this significant increase in funding,” Wilkinson told a gathering of College officials and skills upgrading students at the campus. “Investing in literacy skills means providing more opportunities for our most important asset in Perth-Wellington, our people. It allows us all to be our best, strengthens our local rural economy and helps our communities prosper in the 21st Century."

"Over the last few months, the demand for our academic upgrading services has been increasing steadily," said Dieter Klaus, Chair of Preparatory Programs at Conestoga. "People need to transition to jobs with higher level skills and be prepared for the new economy. These additional resources will enable Conestoga College to meet these needs and provide opportunities for more learners to be academically prepared for post-secondary college programs, apprenticeship and other further training or to directly enter employment. During 2008-09, Conestoga served 1,339 upgrading students, which is an increase of 31 per cent over the previous year. More than 300 of those attended our Stratford campus or Listowel location."

The government is investing an additional $25 million in colleges, school boards and community literacy organizations in the Employment Ontario network across the province to help laid-off workers and other adult learners train for highly skilled jobs.

In addition, Ontario is investing $5 million across the province to expand online literacy training. The e-channel project helps English-speaking, French-speaking and Aboriginal learners living in remote communities.

John Milloy, Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities and Minister of Research and Innovation, comments, "We’re taking action now to help people strengthen their skills while laid off and looking for work so they’ll be better able to find jobs in the new economy."

Currently there are 3.4 million Ontario adults who have literacy skills at less than a high school level. By 2020, it is expected that approximately 70 per cent of new jobs will require postsecondary education and training.

"Working together we make things better", Wilkinson added.

CONTACT: Dieter Klaus, 519-748-5220, ext. 2371,