TORONTO — Ontario’s Ministry of Education has announced spending to support expansion of the province’s Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) program to include an additional 122 new programs aimed at encouraging more high school students to enter the skilled trades.
The new programs are related to 19 different sectors, including construction, agriculture and mining, stated an Oct. 31 release.
The new programs will be introduced for the current school year. As a result of the program expansion, it is estimated that more than 54,000 students will be enrolled in over 2,100 SHSM programs in more than 700 secondary schools across the province.
The expansion represents an additional government allocation of $10 million since 2017-18, bringing total funding to $42 million in 2019-20.
The release said it is estimated that by 2021, one in five new jobs in Ontario will be in trades-related occupations, with employers facing a shortage of workers in key sectors.
“We know that a labour market shortage exists today and will rise over time in the high-paying skilled trades,” said Minister of Education Stephen Lecce in the statement. “My top priority is to ensure students get the skills they need and, by investing in the skilled trades, our government is helping more students gain the competitive edge and job prospects they deserve.”
“By offering programs like dual credits, students are not only gaining these skills, but doing so in ways that accelerate their careers and address employment gaps in Ontario quickly and efficiently,” said Ross Romano, minister of colleges and universities.