The Ontario government is expanding the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) to include nearly 600 micro-credential programs. Through this initiative, the province is ensuring loans and grants will be available to more learners looking to rapidly upskill and reskill for the in-demand jobs of today and tomorrow.
“Ontario is the first province in Canada to financially support students taking micro-credential programs,” said Ross Romano, Minister of Colleges and Universities. “Micro-credentials offer a short-term option for learners who might otherwise not have the time or flexibility to attend a multi-year college or university program. By helping Ontarians pay for these programs, our Government is continuing to support students who need help the most and provide them access to programs that they need to upskill, reskill and rejoin the workforce.”
Micro-credentials are rapid training programs that help people retrain and upgrade their skills to find new employment. Offered by colleges, universities and Indigenous Institutes, micro-credential programs are short in duration, can be completed online, and are often designed for the specific needs of employers and jobs. They can also be taken in isolation or packaged together alongside degrees, diplomas and certificates.
“The pandemic has had a devastating impact on our economy and many people have lost their jobs and are looking to rejoin the workforce or are looking to increase their skills and expertise in order to succeed in their current job or field,” said Minister Romano. “By supporting these micro-credential programs our government is transforming Ontario’s postsecondary education sector and opening the window of opportunity to those who are looking to develop a new set of skills quickly.”
OSAP approved micro-credential programs include artificial intelligence, biometrics, software quality assurance and testing. Courses are also available in areas such as healthcare, including specialities in pediatrics and digital process automation.
Healthy people are essential for a healthy economy. On March 24, 2021, the government will release the 2021 Ontario Budget. It will focus on protecting people’s health – with a plan to defeat COVID-19 – while supporting people and jobs.