OSAP-Eligible Intensive Programs To Support Professional Workers
The Ontario Government, this month, released the first list of “micro-credential” eligible programs for funding under the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) to support professional workers as they upskill or reskill for a changing career landscape and challenging economic times.
York University’s School of Continuing Studies launched its initial suite of programs in the OSAP-eligible intensive format earlier this year with more scheduled this fall and winter.
The School of Continuing Studies’ initial suite of professional certificate programs offered as OSAP-eligible intensive formats include the Certificate in Family Mediation, and the award-winning Certificate in Cyber Security Fundamentals and Certificate in Advanced Cyber Security. The School is also offering an OSAP-eligible intensive format of its Certificate in People Analytics this fall, with OSAP-eligible intensive formats of the Certificate in Digital Marketing, Certificate in Big Data Fundamentals, and Certificate in Advanced Data Science and Predictive Analytics scheduled for winter 2022.
Since the launch of the initial two intensive programs, three cohorts of students have graduated and prepared for new careers in high-demand roles. The School’s intensive format allows learners to quickly complete programs in under 12 weeks and acquire the necessary skills to pivot and take control of their careers.
A number of students in the Cyber Security Intensive have been hired into the field after completing the program. Ed Dubrovsky, Managing Partner & COO, Cyber Breach Response at Cytelligence Inc, states: “I have personally hired many students from the Cyber Security program into my company including most recently the Cyber Security Intensive program. The program has no equal in the industry in terms of being an incredible jumping board into a rewarding and satisfying career. As an instructor in the program, I have seen hundreds of students combine enthusiasm, hard work, and integrity into the program and emerge as cybersecurity professionals in the field.”
The pandemic has significantly impacted the landscape of the Canadian economy, with 355,000 workers losing jobs in 2020 alonei. The School has played a leadership role in advocating that professional continuing education programs qualify for OSAP at a time when the Ontario labour force needs help adapting to the rapidly changing world of work or finding new employment opportunities.
To facilitate this need for mass reskilling and upskilling, the School is helping to remove potential financial barriers that might prevent people from pursuing new career paths. By quickly adapting select certificate programs to a shorter, intensive delivery format, the School is able to make its certificate programs in high-demand fields more accessible.
According to Christine Brooks-Cappadocia, Director of Continuing Professional Education at the School of Continuing Studies, “These innovative re-skilling programs were designed in collaboration with industry experts to adapt to market shifts and prepare workers for in-demand roles that we know employers are looking to fill immediately.”
The School is also meeting the need for Canadians to upskill and reskill by offering more career supports. This fall, the School is launching a globally accessible, personalized career development platform for current students. The platform contains resources such as a resume and interview optimizer, job listings, networking opportunities, career coaching, and much more. Students will be able to acquire the tools and know-how to navigate the employment market before they graduate.
The School will also be launching an AI-driven, career platform that will allow users to identify key information about job opportunities, such as average compensation, growth rates, companies hiring, and much more. This tool will be accessible to everyone, and not exclusive to School students or alumni.