New tech requirements announced for Grade 9-10 students

ONTARIO – On March 10, MPP for Perth-Wellington Matthew Rae, Minister of Education Stephen Lecce, and Associate Minister of Women’s Social and Economic Opportunity Charmaine Williams, announced a Technological Education credit requirement for Grade 9 and 10 students, beginning in September 2024.

“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,” stated Lecce.

“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,” explained the press release detailing the announcement.

“Our government continues to take concrete action to encourage more young people to consider a career in the skilled trades,” explained Rae.

“This is an integral step in ensuring all students have the opportunity to experience a career in STEM or the skilled trades.”

And with more than 100,000 unfilled skilled trades jobs at the moment, it is crucial that Ontario attracts more young people who look to pursue a career in the trades.

This curriculum covers a broad range of sectors, which include construction, manufacturing, computer technology and more.

Additionally, it will expose more female students to the skilled trades, as men make up more than 70 per cent of workers in the trades in Ontario.

“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,” explains the release.

Almost 39 per cent of secondary school students in Ontario were enrolled in a Technological Education course in 2020-21, however the majority of them were male. Therefore, with this requirement, more young women will have an “opportunity to explore the trades.”

“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,” explained Williams.

“This mandatory graduation requirement means a brighter future – not just for women and girls – but for our entire province.”

This new requirement continues to build upon the action taken by the government with their Skilled Trades Strategy, which also includes developing an accelerated Grade 11 apprenticeship program with a goal to get students into the skilled trades faster. It also supports Ontario’s Plan to Catch Up, a plan for the 2022-23 school year that helps students catch up on learning, as it was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Melissa Dunphy, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Listowel Banner