Ontario Association of Career Colleges
Conference 2009 Summary
The following are the highlights of the 2009 OACC conference held in Niagara Falls on April 30 and May 1.
Key Note Address – Gerry Visca
Gerry made a high energy presentation to conference delegates designed to inspire them to action. He provided an overview of his 10 laws of creativity, and encouraged attendees to focus on their own brand and the end result that they are striving for. He stressed the value of collaboration and working as a team.
OACC Student Ambassadors
Throughout the conference, there were 4 graduates of member career colleges who told their story about how studying at a career college had changed their lives in a positive manner. Delegates heard from:
A Culinary College grad who won a gold prize in the Ontario Skills competition and a bronze award in the Skills Canada competition, and is working in a culinary teaching capacity at the high school she attended;
A Business Administration grad who is now working for the Director of Channel & Service Integration at Service Ontario at the Ministry of Government Services;
An Addictions and Community Service grad who graduated with honours and is currently working for the Niagara Health System, Newport Centre which is a co-ed Addictions Centre and she works as a counselor making a difference in the lives of others;
A Social Service Worker who has won a youth achievement award from a neighborhood Resource Centre.
Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities
Delegates heard from Diane Wise, the Acting Director of the Service Delivery Branch of the Employment and Training Division of the Ministry, and Bradley Fauteux, the Manager of the PCC Compliance Unit of the Student Support Branch of the Postsecondary Education Division of the Ministry. Highlights included:
· Employment Ontario spends $1 billion annually to serve 90,000 individuals through a network of 120 service provider organizations
· Employment & Training Division is working to improve wait times for those applying for training assistance under Second Career
· An additional $750 million in training funds was included in the 2009 budget and details are to be announced in coming weeks
· Estimate that 8,000 people will have been assisted by Second Career in its first year
· Skills Development was to be for the fastest track back to work and Second Career is for making a job shift based on new emerging employment opportunities included in NOC B or C
· Career colleges are providing 54 % of Second Career training and 77% of Skills Development training
· There are 412 career colleges with 536 campus locations
· 56 new career colleges were registered last year and 870 new programs were approved for a total of 3,449 programs
· Have increased from 5 to 8 Program Consultants, and are working toward having 12
· The first PCC program standards will be for truck driving programs, likely in August
· Still reviewing the criteria for program assessors, and will likely start with a pilot project
· Will start to map PCC programs to the Ontario Qualifications Framework, but still uncertain of the timing
· Still working on performance accountability measures for the entire sector that will be meaningful
· List of top ten non compliance issues
Canadian Education & Training Commission (CETAC)
Derek Jones explained to delegates that CETAC has been overhauled and has a set of quality standards that are based on self evaluation, site visits, student surveys, and staff surveys. The standards include 9 elements: mission, student learning, staff, student policies, finance and building for the future.
Each element has several components and there are evidence pieces for each component.
Derek noted that student success is defined as based on looking at the number of students who start a program, complete it and become employed and have the ability to repay their student loans. He noted that those institutions that are interested in accreditation can download the application from the CETAC website (firstname.lastname@example.org), complete it and send in their payment.
Quality Career Colleges (QCC)
Don Thibert made a presentation to the delegates on the QCC initiative that evolved when the Budget Committee reviewed the feedback from the OACC membership at the 2008 AGM and determined that the one area that still needed a great deal of work related to having quality institutions providing quality programs. The proposed QCC initiative would not replace CETAC, rather it would embrace CETAC and act as a catalyst to accreditation, as a voluntary self funded process that could lead to an OACC Quality Career College certification. It would be a cost effective process that could take up to 3 years to complete in phases that involve a self evaluation, a student satisfaction survey, standardized entrance testing, a staff survey, a facility review, and standardized modules.
Annual General Meeting
The general membership received the President’s report and the Executive Director’s report, approved the budget for 2009 – 2010 which included the addition of a staff person to be responsible for public relations activities, the election of the new board of Directors, and the approval in principle to move ahead with the QCC (Quality Career College) initiative.
Ministry staff and members of the TCAF Advisory Board made a joint presentation on TCAF. They reported that TCAF was originally proposed by OACC as a sector funded mechanism to fund training completions for students impacted by sudden closures or provide tuition refunds when training completions cannot be arranged. The fund is administered by the Government and the Advisory Board is responsible for providing advice in regard to specific closures, testing PCC financial viability, and marketing of TCAF. The fund went live on January 1, 2009 and the final decisions on training completions are the responsibility of the Superintendent.
The Ministry reviewed the premium and security requirements and calculations. It was reported that the fund which has dealt with 2 closures so far has committed to a large number of full tuition refunds and payouts of approximately $1.8 million, leaving a balance of less than $500,000. The Ministry also reviewed their guidelines for handling closures, indicating that it is a work in progress that still requires some changes. A second actuarial study of the financing of the fund is to be commissioned in the very near future. PCCs that are experiencing financial difficulties are encouraged to contact either the Ministry or their association in order to arrange for some early intervention that could prevent a sudden closure.
There was additional discussion about the challenges posed by the need to provide training completions for students enrolled in Dental Hygiene programs, and a call for OACC, the Ministry, and the Dental Hygiene regulatory bodies to work closely together to address the issues and provide satisfactory student protection.
Accountant, Dave McCarroll then made a presentation entitled “Shaping Colleges for Audit Success”. He described what colleges need to know about the schedule of prepaid unearned revenue, the types of audits that may be required, management schedules, and the need to train their auditors.
Wrap-up Key Note Presentation
Claudia Ferryman made a presentation to the delegates on methods of motivating students, stressing that learning is an active process and reviewing the various learning styles. She noted that you can build rapport with students by matching their language and their posture, and getting them engaged.
Reza Moridi, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities addressed the delegates after dinner. He discussed the challenges that face Ontario with the current economic climate and numbers of layoffs in the workplace. He noted that there is a significant need for training and re-training of workers and stressed the important role that the private career college sector has been playing by providing more than half of the Second Career training to date and almost 80% of the Skills Development training. He thanked OACC and the PCC sector. A video of his comments should be available on the OACC website soon.
Train the Trainer with David Stanford
David helped instructors at this session to identify the real cause of poor student attitudes and taught them techniques that will enhance their ability to effectively communicate and motivate their students to do their best in the classroom.
David’s session was highly rated and as a matter of fact we are considering bringing him back to do a one-day “Bootcamp” for instructors.
Financial Aid Administrator Training
Jodie and staff from the OACC Financial Aid Office led Financial Aid Administrators from member schools through the various types of supporting documentation required for student OSAP applications. OACC stressed the value of sending complete applications to OACC for processing – that it will save processing turnaround time and get funding to students much faster.
Trade Show and Sponsor Showcase
For the first time this year the Sponsors and Exhibitors had the opportunity to showcase their services and answer delegate questions. Conference prizes were also drawn at this time. Congratulations to all who won a prize.
Thank you to all sponsors and trade show exhibitors for your continuing support!