By Adam Brazeau
CORNWALL, Ontario - It's a bittersweet victory for Kemptville College.
University of Guelph Kemptville Campus.
Brad Duguid, minister of training, colleges and universities announced a $2-million cash injection to the University of Guelph at the Kemptville campus Tuesday.
The funding will salvage several one-year programs at the college for the next academic year, including agricultural equipment technician, heavy duty equipment technician, truck and coach technician, welder horticultural technician, and dairy herdsperson.
Students already enrolled in the campus's associate diploma programs in agriculture, equine care, and food science will be able to complete their programs in Kemptville for 2014-15. But two-year agriculture diploma programs will not be continued at this time.
A media release from the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities stated on Tuesday that in addition to regular apprenticeship training, the campus will continue to offer pre-apprenticeship programming as well as the co-op diploma apprenticeship program, which allows participants to earn a college diploma while completing in-class apprenticeship training.
United Counties of SDG Warden Eric Duncan says the provincial financial boost will help buy more time for local community members, stakeholders, area politicians, and the Kemptville College Renewal Task Force to find a solution for the college, which is supposed to close in 2015.
Counties council adopted a strongly worded motion calling for a two-year moratorium on the closure of Kemptville College of Agricultural Technology last month.
"This "stop-gap" funding keeps programming, staff, and students on campus. It's not the solution, but it's a step in the right direction," said Duncan.
The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) welcomed the one-year extension at Kemptville in a press release issued Tuesday afternoon from Guelph, Ontario:
Today‚Äôs $2 million funding announcement by the Ontario government is welcome news to the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA). The new funds extend select skills training programs for one academic year, beginning September 2014, at the University of Guelph‚Äôs Kemptville campus.
According to the government announcement, the funding will provide skills training in trades that support the agricultural sector in eastern Ontario, including agricultural equipment technician, heavy duty equipment technician, truck and coach technician, welder, horticultural technician and dairy herdsperson.
‚ÄúThis is the first positive message we‚Äôve had since the announcement was made to close the college less than a month ago,‚ÄĚ says Mark Wales, OFA president. ‚ÄúOur industry, together with eastern Ontario communities, is grateful for the program extensions. We are still hopeful a solution can be found to continue offering the associate diploma and degree programs in agriculture at Kemptville College too.‚ÄĚ
Students already enrolled in the campus‚Äôs associate diploma programs in agriculture, equine care and food science will be able to complete their programs in Kemptville for 2014-15.
OFA believes our industry needs a plan, continued investment and support for agricultural training institutions like Kemptville College. According to recent University of Guelph research, there are two jobs waiting for every diploma graduate in Ontario and three jobs waiting for every degree program graduate. These job opportunities demonstrate the strength of Ontario‚Äôs agri-food sector and the promising future it offers the next generation.
Ontario Minister of Training, Colleges, and Universities, Hon. Brad Duguid recently announced a new facilitator position will be appointed to assist in the development of a long-term solution to keep Kemptville College operating. OFA supports the minister and looks forward to working with the provincial facilitator, industry stakeholders and the Kemptville College Renewal Task Force to continue delivering agricultural and skills training courses at the college.
The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) is the largest general farm organization in Ontario. As a dynamic farmer-led organization based in Guelph, the OFA works to represent and champion the interests of Ontario farmers through government relations, farm policy recommendations, lobby efforts, community representation, media relations and more. OFA is the leading advocate for Ontario‚Äôs farmers and is Ontario‚Äôs voice of the farmer.