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College presidents meet with MPs on the Hill

November 29, 2010 — Today, 78 presidents of colleges, institutes and polytechnics are in Ottawa meeting with MPs and Cabinet ministers to press for a national dialogue on Canada’s looming demographic bombshell and serious shortage in advanced skills.

“With more than 1,000 campuses and learning centres across the country, ACCC’s 150 member colleges are natural partners of the government of Canada,” says James Knight ACCC president and CEO.

ACCC is hosting meetings with ministers, parliamentarians and senior officials to discuss key issues such as increasing Canada’s pool of persons with advanced skills and post-secondary credentials, advancing Canada’s research and innovation capacity, supporting education exports, and increasing the success of Aboriginal learners. Small groups of presidents are also meeting with individual MPs on Parliament Hill to discuss specific issues.

Seventy percent of new jobs now require post-secondary education, with that figure moving toward 80% in a generation. Already many sectors of the economy have positions empty because there are no workers with the advanced skills needed to fill them.

“Colleges, institutes, polytechnics and cégeps are known to be responsive to employers’ needs and are quick to provide educational programs to meet local skills shortages,” says Knight. “But most are already over capacity and many programs have long waiting lists.”

A key strategy for mitigating Canada’s shortage of advanced skills is to increase access to post-secondary education for groups that generally fare poorly in the employment market: immigrants, Aboriginal people, the disabled and those with low literacy skills.

ACCC recommends the launch of a national dialogue with educational institutions, the private sector and provincial, territorial and federal governments to develop an action plan to increase employment participation rates and skills levels.

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For more information:

Debby Duford
Communications Officer
Association of Canadian Community Colleges
Tel.: (613) 746-2222, ext. 3116

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