April 9, 2018 – Ontario is helping young people between the ages of 12 and 15 learn to code and improve their digital skills, preparing them for jobs in an increasingly digital economy.
Today, the government announced its support for a new program, delivered in partnership with the Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship. In Hamilton the program will be delivered by the Boys and Girls Club.
The Digital Literacy + Coding Pilot will provide up to 1,000 youth with valuable new skills in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields, equipping them with in-demand skills employers are looking for.
The program was designed by experts in digital literacy, youth engagement, community development and education policy. It will be delivered by a different community partner in five cities across the province, including: Belleville, London, Sudbury, and Toronto.
Increasing digital literacy to grow tomorrow’s highly skilled workforce is part of the government’s plan to support care, create opportunity and make life more affordable during this period of rapid economic change. The plan includes free prescription drugs for everyone under 25, and 65 or over, through the biggest expansion of medicare in a generation, free tuition for hundreds of thousands of students, a higher minimum wage and better working conditions, and easier access to affordable child care.
- Ontario will invest $1 million over two years in the Digital Literacy + Coding Pilot, matching a private donation by Janice Fukakusa, Greg Belbeck, and family.
- Ontario has committed to increasing the number of STEM graduates by 25 per cent, from 40,000 to 50,000 per year, and graduating 1,000 applied masters in Artificial Intelligence, both within five years, positioning
- Ontario as the number-one producer of postsecondary STEM graduates per capita in North America.
- The Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship is an independent and nonpartisan institute, housed within Ryerson University, dedicated to making Canada the best country in the world to be an innovator or an entrepreneur.
- Additional pilot partners include: Actua, Boys & Girls Clubs of Canada, the Information and Communications Technology Council, Canada Learning Code, RBC Capital Markets, Shopify, Toronto Public Library, YMCA, and United Way Toronto & York Region.
â€śThereâ€™s nothing like watching a kid pick up a new piece of tech and just get it. Thatâ€™s why our government is partnering on a project that takes an important step toward a digitally inclusive province â€” one that will nurture curiosity, build a love of learning for young people and help prepare them for new job opportunities.â€ť
President of the Treasury Board and Minister Responsible for Digital Government
â€śThe Digital Literacy + Coding Pilot will go a long way in helping young people develop the skills theyâ€™ll need to succeed in the workforce for years to come. Our government understands that todayâ€™s in-demand skills are shifting â€” itâ€™s why we made a commitment to increase Ontarioâ€™s STEM graduates by 25 per cent over the next five years. By supporting this program, weâ€™re making sure Ontarioâ€™s workforce stays competitive and adaptable in the new digital economy.â€ť
Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development
â€śWhile Canadaâ€™s youth are well-equipped to adapt to the rapidly changing future of work, not all segments of the population will experience these technological trends equally. We’re thrilled to be able to lift our research off the pages and to test a community-based model that has the potential to scale across the country.â€ť
Executive Director, The Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship at Ryerson University
â€śOur Kiwanis Boys+Girls Club is an ideal hub to pilot this innovative digital program. Our local youth stand a much greater chance for academic and career success with the tools that this creative investment provides.â€ť