Ontario colleges are urging the provincial government to commit to increasing full-time college enrolment by 30,000 by 2011 in order to produce the skilled workforce needed for the knowledge economy.
The call came after the Association of Colleges of Applied Arts & Technologies released a report Sunday called What We Heard, which is based on last fall's Pathway to Prosperity consultations.
The association held their annual conference in Sudbury on Sunday and Monday.
"We aren't producing the numbers of highly skilled graduates needed to replace an aging workforce and strengthen Ontario's competitive advantage," said Dr. Rick Miner, chair of the colleges' committee of presidents, in a release.
"If we don't set a clear plan and targets for improvement, we run a serious risk of not providing the province with the numbers and types of workers required for our knowledge-based economy."
Currently, there are 150,000 full-time and 350,000 part-time students in Ontario colleges. To increase this number by 30,000, the government must increase its annual operating funding by more that $200 million.
The Pathway to Prosperity consultations focused on Canada's ability to address major workforce challenges such as globalization, rapidly changing technology and a looming shortage of skilled workers due to an aging population.
About 2,000 people participated in the consultations, and about 600 companies were represented. The 60-page report is available online at www.pathwaytoprosperity.ca.