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Preparing students for jobs of the future

The Ontario government is implementing a new high school graduation requirement to help better prepare students across our province for the jobs of tomorrow.

Starting with students entering Grade 9 in September 2024, all students will now be required to earn a Grade 9 or 10 technological education credit as part of their Ontario Secondary School Diploma.

“I am proud to announce another step forward to ensure all students learn the critical skills necessary to succeed and get a good paying job,” Education Minister Stephen Lecce said. “By requiring students to take at least one technological education credit in high school, we are opening up doors and creating new pathways to good jobs in STEM and the skilled trades. All students will benefit from a greater emphasis on hands-on learning experiences and technical skills in the classroom so they can graduate with a competitive advantage in this country.”

This new learning graduation requirement will expose Ontario’s students to at least one technological education course that could guide them to a future career in the highly skilled workforce, including the skilled trades. With more than 100,000 unfilled skilled trades jobs right now, it is critical Ontario attracts more young people to pursue a fulfilling, good-paying career in the trades.

The technological education curriculum covers a broad range of sectors, including construction, transportation, manufacturing, computer technology, hospitality and communication. In Ontario, men make up more than 70 per cent of workers in trades-related occupations. The exposure to these career pathways as a mandatory graduation curriculum requirement will ensure more young women make the choice to pursue a career in the trades.

While almost 39 per cent of Ontario secondary schoolstudents were enrolled in a Technological Education course in 2020-21, nearly 63 per cent were male students. With this graduation requirement, more young women will have an opportunity to explore the trades. This new requirement means a student may be introduced to programming learning in Grade 9, explore the apprenticeship pathway further and may ultimately decide to become an Aerospace Manufacturing Technician.

“For Ontario to succeed, we need more women and girls to pursue fulfilling careers in the skilled trades. I am proud our government is taking action to ensure students across our province have the tools and skills they need to build a new generation of prosperity in Ontario,” said Charmaine Williams, Associate Minister of Women’s Social and Economic Opportunity. “This mandatory graduation requirement means a brighter future – not just for Women and Girls – but for our entire province.”

This new graduation requirement builds upon other actions taken by the government to bolster its Skilled Trades Strategy, including developing an accelerated Grade 11 to apprenticeship pathway for students to get into the skilled trades faster.

“Ontario is facing the largest labour shortage in a generation, which means when you have a career in the skilled trades, you have a career for life,” said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development. “That’s why our government is taking an all-hands-on-deck approach to attract and train our next generation of skilled trades workers for better jobs and bigger paycheques for themselves and their families.”

This action supports the next steps in Ontario’s Plan to Catch Up and ensures students have exposure and access to learning opportunities to consider STEM fields, including in the skilled trades, as a future career.

 

Photo: The exposure to technology and skilled trade career pathways as a mandatory graduation curriculum requirement will ensure more young women make the choice to pursue a career in the trades.

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