College leaders meet in Ottawa to discuss advanced skills shortage

February 8, 2012

61 presidents of colleges, institutes, and polytechnics descended on Parliament Hill this week to discuss Canada's advanced skills shortages with MPs and other government officials. Association of Canadian Community Colleges president James Knight says the dual pressures of the country's demographic deficit and increasing technological sophistication of the workplace means that in a decade, employers will be unable to fill the 1.5 million available jobs with qualified candidates. Immigration alone will not solve the skilled labour shortage, Knight cautions. "To meet these challenges, we'll have to engage our marginalized communities and find ways to partner with them...like improving the educational achievements of Aboriginals, disabled, poor immigrants." Knight would also like to see an increase in federal funds for applied research and development invested in higher education that goes toward colleges. Currently, just 1.25% of $2.9 billion in federal money reaches colleges, and Knight would like to see the figure rise to 5%. ACCC News Release | Globe and Mail