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Tories aid women seeking IT careers

As part of last week's International Women's Week (March 2 to 8) celebrations in Ontario, Dianne Cunningham, Minister Responsible for Women's Issues, presented a cheque for up to $364,423 to Dixon Hall through the government's Information Technology Training for Women Program.

Dixon Hall is a community-based, non-profit centre that works with Centennial College to provide IT training to low-income women.

"The best social program in the world is a job, and careers in IT offer a bright future at the leading edge of our economy," Cunningham said. "We need more women working in IT to support their independence."
Dianne Cunningham, Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, with the daughter of a volunteer in the ITTW program, presenting a cheque at Centennial College.

ITTW, a partnership between the Ontario government and the private and volunteer sectors, provides women with training to start careers in the field of Information Technology. The Futuresmart program at Dixon Hall offers students an 11-month program that includes in-class training, mentorship and work placements.

The Ontario government will commit $5.8 million over five years to help women train for work in the skilled trades, and $2 million to train women for jobs in IT.

The ITTW program focuses on low income women who are unemployed or underemployed, immigrant women with IT skills who lack Canadian experience or certification, and women with disabilities.



A partnership between Cambrian College and Rainbow District School Board is providing high school teachers with information about high-demand career opportunities for students.

The board has 22 teachers participating in the initiative called Pathways to College. Until April, teachers from nine secondary schools are participating in two-day mentor and orientation sessions about the skilled trades, technology and hospitality programs at Cambrian College.

Teachers spend time in classrooms and labs to observe, discuss curriculum with college professors, and to learn about potential career opportunities for their secondary school students.

Exchange of information

During this month and next month, teachers from Espanola High School, Manitoulin Secondary School, Confederation Secondary, Chelmsford Valley District Composite School, Lo-Ellen Park Secondary, Lockerby Composite, Lively District Secondary, and Lasalle Secondary will be at Cambrian to observe programs such as electrical engineering, power engineering, carpenter general, automotive technician, and to find out about apprenticeship opportunities.

Teachers are then presenting this information to students as part of classroom activities, and are helping students select courses to prepare for college programs.

Once the Pathways to College program is complete in April, Cambrian professors will be invited to secondary schools to tell students about college programs in areas of growing employment demand.

"During the next few years, thousands of jobs will be created in Ontario in technology and in skilled trades," says Sylvia Barnard, president of Cambrian College.

"Cambrian College is pleased to be a partner with Rainbow District School Board in bringing information to students about these fields and the career opportunities that exist locally and globally."

Joan Mantle, superintendent of schools with the Rainbow board, added, "This is the sort of exchange of information that will help our students make an informed choice in skilled trades, technology fields, and other areas."

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