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Popular Second Career program will not be cut: Minister

Ontario’s Second Career retraining program will survive the upcomingbudget, says John Milloy, the province’s minister of training, collegesand universities.

Ontario’s Second Career retraining program will survive the upcoming budget, says John Milloy, the province’s minister of training, colleges and universities.

The push to get unemployed Ontarians back into school will last its full three-year session, despite burning through its original funding and nearing the end of a second infusion of cash.

Milloy said his ministry has “eliminated” a backlog that unexpectedly built up last fall after a torrent of 10,000 fresh applicants in August and September swept away funding meant to last another 18 months.

Among the applicants who fell through the cracks during the funding limbo was hospitality student Derek Baker.

He waited from September to December for funding approval. In January, having already paid George Brown College $145 to hold his spot, Baker could wait no longer and started classes, even though he can’t afford the tuition.

Last time he spoke to his career counsellor, she told him he would have to drop out because Second Career funding isn’t available to those who are already students.

“All I want to do is learn and contribute,” said Baker, 38, a bike mechanic who was laid off from Duke’s Cycle after the store burned down during the 2008 Queen Street fire.

“You guys are telling me that in order to go to school I can’t go to school? Are you crazy?”

About 26,000 Ontarians have updated their training through Second Career, which was launched in June 2008.

 
 
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