The province has given the green light for Ontario’s colleges to increase the number of degree programs they are allowed to offer. The move will allow for three-year applied degrees in areas where there are talent shortages, such as highly skilled technology workers in the health care, digital, data, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity and process automation sectors. The government will also be looking for programs that help to prepare the talent needed to build electric, autonomous and connected vehicles, as well as programs to support the development of workers who will help build the province’s infrastructure, roads and transit. The expansion will also enable increased access to education for students in smaller communities and rural areas, allowing learners to graduate sooner and enter the workforce more quickly in these critical fields.
Colleges will be allowed to develop new three-year degree programs that are in an applied area of study, career-oriented, distinct from university degrees and are reviewed by the Postsecondary Education Quality Assessment Board (PEQAB) and approved by the minister. The cap on degree programs that colleges can offer will be raised by five per cent for all publicly assisted colleges. This means degree cap limits will become 20 per cent for Institutes of Technology and Advanced Learning (ITALs) and 10 per cent for all other colleges.
For Mohawk College in Hamilton the news means a doubling of the number of degrees that can be offered. Said Ron J. McKerlie, President and CEO of Mohawk College. “We look forward to including more degree options to Mohawk College’s first-rate educational programs. This will provide students with greater career opportunities and will ensure even more regional employers will benefit by hiring Mohawk’s job-ready future-ready graduates.”
The change in credentialing benefits companies that promote themselves and their workforce internationally, as most jurisdictions outside Ontario aren’t familiar with the diploma credential.
“Degree holders enjoy more opportunities in our global manufacturing world,” said Guido Benvenuto, the vice president of engineering at Flex-N-Gate, a supplier to the global automotive sector. “This will make a significant difference in our sector.”