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Skills Boost initiative gives a second chance to adult learners


Credit: JEN DOEDE

Kate young announces launching of Skills Boost initiative for fall of 2018.


Jen Doede and Brooke Quinlin | Interrobang | News | March 5th, 2018



On Feb. 23, Kate Young, MP of London West, spoke to members of the Fanshawe community regarding the new Skills Boost initiative and the support it will provide for adult learners who want to go back to school. The Skills Boost initiative is a new program from the Ministry of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour that will assist adult learners who have been out of school for over 10 years in returning to their studies via a new grant opportunity and flexibilities pertaining to Employment Insurance.

“What we want to make sure people know is that if you're thinking of going back to school in the fall of 2018, this is the time to consider it because there will be more opportunities to receive grants and to make sure you can continue receiving your Employment Insurance,” Young said.

Full-time mature students who are eligible for the Canada Student Grant will receive an additional $1,600 per academic year, which equates to $200 per month in top-up funding. In addition, expanded access to the Canada Student Grant will be available for part-time students starting in the upcoming fall semester.

According to a Ministry of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour press release regarding Kate Young's news conference at Fanshawe College, in fall 2018, “nearly 10,000 more part-time students from low- and middle-income families will benefit from up to $1,800 in non-repayable grants per year and up to $10,000 in loans. Additionally, access to grants for parttime students with children will be expanded allowing them to benefit from up to $1,920 per year in grants.”

Along with the grants, the Skills Boost program also introduces more flexibility for those relying on Employment Insurance. As of now, individuals who recently went on Employment Insurance may not have been able to receive monetary assistance due to their income from the previous year. However, starting in the fall of 2018, an individual's current income will be considered when applying for the Canada Student Grant, as opposed to their income from the previous year.

“The goal [of the initiative] is to make sure people realize that going back to school and increasing their skills is just as important as looking for a job. You should not be penalized if you are out of work and are on Employment Insurance but you want to go back to school. [] We are making it easier to be able to continue to collect your Employment Insurance and go back to school and get a grant or a loan to make it happen,” Young said.

The news release states that the Skills Boost initiative is estimated the help 43,000 low and middle class income families with top-up funding in the upcoming academic year.

At 10 a.m. around 25 people gathered in the mezzanine hall in T Building in regards to the MP of London West, Kate Young releasing information about the Skills Boost Initiative. Coffee and cookies were available after wards along with discussions with fellow attendees.

Fanshawe president, Peter Devlin, shared his thoughts about the news.

“I'm very pleased with this announcement. I believe its good news for potential learners that would like to start their studies this fall. I note that it's focused on adult learners, folks that have been out of the post-secondary world for 10 years or more. It provides grants as well as loans, its flexible, respectful of current circumstances for both the work and family point a view.” Peter Devlin said.
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