Ontario Investing In Youth Skills Training

Ontario is expanding its Specialist High Skills Major program.

Starting in September, there will be more than 100 new programs to make nearly 2,000 across the province.

The program helps Grade 11 and 12 students prepare for successful careers with hands-on work experience and career counseling.

Locally, Riverside Secondary School is getting programs in manufacturing and transportation, Kingsville District High School will have a new Arts and Culture program, while Essex District High School will get a non-profit program.

Minister of Education Mitzie Hunter made the $190-million funding announcement Monday.

She says it's a great way to keep students engaged.

"It's making what they're learning inside the classroom linked to the real world of work. Students are able to choose from 19 different sectors and pick a program area that really compliments their interests and what they care most about."

Hunter says a wide range of sectors will be covered.

"Transportation, manufacturing, agriculture, the environment, energy, areas that we know peak the career interests and choices that students want to make later on. While they're in Grades 11 and 12, they're able to really specialize in that subject area."

Hunter adds, the programs offered will be based on the economic climate of each school's region.

"Incredibly important that students do have an awareness of what the economy is doing. Where are all the jobs? It gives them an opportunity to really test drive their career options before making firm commitments in one direction or another."

More than 50,000 students across the province will be enrolled in the specialty programs this coming school year with that number expected to grow to 70,000 over the next three years.