In just 15 months, the program surpassed its three-year target of training 20,000 people while spending $355 million. Second Career was strained by a strong September when the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities helped 10,000 people get into a college program - either at a private career college or within the public college system. That’s up about 800 per cent from the 1,200 Second Career applications the Ministry processes in an average month.
The result was a backlog felt in campuses across the province with students facing delayed starts.
The Ontario government announced a $78 million infusion to the program on October 13 to keep up with demand. The new money will permit continued applications on a limited basis, about 550 a month, until new guidelines are set for the program.
“There will be some changes in the coming weeks and there will be new rules for the program,” said Assistant Deputy Minister Laurie LeBlanc in an October 1 letter to the private career college sector. “Potential students are not to begin training until they get final approvals in writing from MTCU.”
Second Career is currently under review to put the program on a more sustainable footing. The new rules are expected by January, said Premier Dalton McGuinty at a news conference.
The Ontario Association of Career Colleges responded by sending a letter to Assistant Deputy Minister Laurie LeBlanc urging the Ministry to reach out to the sector when making changes to Second Career. Since the beginning of the program, career colleges across Ontario have enrolled and trained more than 8,000 people.
“As part of this policy development process, we strongly urge you to consult with OACC and the career college sector,” said OACC Executive Director Paul Kitchin. “We have years of experience on the front lines - providing the training to properly equip unemployed men and women with the skills they need to return to the labour force.”