• Stephen Lecce, MPP

Ontario Preparing Students for Skilled Trades and Technology Careers

June 03, 2021

The Ontario government is investing almost $440,000 to help more than 2,000 high school students learn more about available skilled trades and technology careers. The project, led by not-for-profit Junior Achievement (JA), will help local communities recover more quickly from COVID-19 by addressing a shortage of workers in jobs like electrician, plumber, carpenter, computer analyst and software developer. Details were provided today by Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development, and Jane McKenna, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development. “There are exciting skilled trades and technology careers waiting for young people today and will be even more as current workers retire in the years to come,” said Minister McNaughton. “This investment is part of our strategy to break the stigma that still surrounds working in the skilled trades. We need to show students and their parents that becoming a tradesperson – a carpenter, a plumber, or an electrician – can be as fulfilling as becoming a doctor, laywer or an engineer.” Free activities and events will be offered virtually and in-person for high school students aged 15 to 18, including:


  • A provincewide virtual fair in October 2021 for 2,000 students to learn about skilled trades and technology careers.

  • A 50-hour training program from July 2021 to March 2022 for 800 students to acquire technical skills that help prepare them to succeed in these sought after professions.

  • A provincewide virtual event in March 2022 for hundreds of youth to demonstrate their new skills and connect with local industry mentors.

“From a modernized math curriculum that focuses on job and life skills, to mandatory learning on financial literacy and coding, our focus remains on giving young people the tools to succeed,” said Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education. “Our continued investments in the skilled trades, coupled with real-world learning, will ensure more young people enter and succeed in these dignified, well-paid, and often entrepreneurial vocations.” This initiative aligns with the province’s Skilled Trades Strategy, which supports economic recovery by breaking the stigma of the skilled trades, simplifying the apprenticeship system and encouraging businesses to hire more apprentices. “Junior Achievement in Ontario welcomes the support of the Skills Development Fund for JA’s Building a Stronger Future initiative – a youth entrepreneurship program specializing in the trades and technology sectors,” said Jennifer Holmes Weier, President and CEO at JA Central Ontario. “In partnership with JA charters across Ontario, this initiative will leverage JA’s signature Company Program, teaching high school students to think like entrepreneurs, learn essential skills, support their employability, and inspire them to consider careers in the trades and technology sectors.” This new investment is part of Ontario’s $115 million Skills Development Fund, designed to support fresh ideas for training and skills development that will help our economy recover and prosper.


Quick Facts

  • Students, parents and teachers interested in the program can contact info@jacentralontario.org to find out more.

  • Fifty per cent of students participating in the program will come from underrepresented groups including women, people with disabilities, and racializied groups.

  • Data suggests that the need to replace retiring workers is greater for skilled trades workers than for other occupations. In 2016, nearly 1 in 3 journeypersons were aged 55 years or older.

  • In April 2021, the information technology (IT) sector, employed more than 700,000 people or about 10 per cent of all workers in Ontario. Employment is already 6.1 per cent (40,800) above the pre-COVID levels.

  • As part of the 2021 Budget, Ontario continues to support workers hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic by investing an additional $614.3 million during 2020–2021 and 2021–2022 to provide targeted employment and training supports.

Additional Resources

  • Skills Development Fund

  • Employment Ontario: Free Programs and Services for Job Seekers, Workers and Employers

  • 2021 Budget - Ontario’s Action Plan: Protecting People’s Health and Our Economy

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