May 20, 2021Print | PDF
The Government of Ontario recently expanded the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) to offer financial aid for select courses, certificates and modules considered micro-credentials. The announcement includes 19 non-credit programs offered by Wilfrid Laurier University.
Laurier is focused on credential innovation and making education more accessible to modern learners who want to acquire new knowledge and skills at different stages of life. The new student loan opportunities for micro-credentials and the focus on developing such programming mean that learners seeking to upskill and reskill for in-demand jobs will have greater access to relevant training programs.
“Micro-credentials allow Laurier to broaden its reach and make university-level education more accessible to people who may not have the time or finances to commit to a traditional, full-time degree,” says Laurier President and Vice-Chancellor Deborah MacLatchy. “Making micro-credentials OSAP-eligible further improves their accessibility.”
To be considered a micro-credential, a program must take less time to complete than a degree or diploma, have a virtual delivery model and include skills development opportunities that match employer needs.
The 19 Laurier programs deemed OSAP-eligible through the expansion represent Continuing Education opportunities across industries, including education, public safety, communications and sales.
“I’m thrilled to see the importance of micro-credentials recognized across the province, and to be able to provide further opportunities to a wide range of learners here at Laurier,” says Provost and Vice-President: Academic Anthony Vannelli. “As the post-secondary landscape continues to evolve and adapt with time, we remain committed to providing an exceptional academic experience for students, including equipping them with the knowledge and skillset to truly thrive upon completion of their studies.”
Micro-credentials within the Digital Literacy and Emerging Technologies program, offered by Laurier’s Centre for Public Safety and Well-Being, address issues of cybercrime, “smart” cities and the future of digital technology. The courses consist of short, intensive modules that learners can progress through at their own pace.
The Mental Health Issues in the Classroom certificate takes a similar flexible approach, offering kindergarten through Grade 12 educators online modules to help develop skills and strategies to support students experiencing mental health challenges. Topics range from disruptive behaviours to self-harm and anxiety disorders.
While education and training in areas including mental health and digital literacy are relevant for job seekers and employers, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the need for people to adapt skillsets for new careers and changes in the workplace environment.
“Laurier is in a unique position to meet this growing demand with our faculty expertise and our close ties to businesses and community organizations,” says MacLatchy.
Take advantage of training opportunities for in-demand skills employers want and employees need: explore the Laurier programs currently eligible for funding through OSAP for micro-credentials and review the financial aid eligibility requirements.
Developed and delivered by Wilfrid Laurier University’s distinguished schools, faculties and centres, Continuing Education provides a comprehensive variety of personal and professional development opportunities. With a rich assortment of online, in-class and blended learning opportunities available, Laurier makes acquiring new knowledge rewarding and flexible.
Director (Acting), Continuing Education
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