Hydro One pledges additional $3 million to Ontario colleges for future workforce
By Anthony Capkun
January 24, 2012 – Yesterday, Hydro One said it will invest in Ontario college engineering students with a $3-million commitment to “educating and training its future workforce”. With up to 30% Hydro One’s workforce eligible to retire in the next five years, promoting careers in the utility sector, says Hydro One, is a timely initiative.
According to the company, this is the second $3‐million contribution it has made to the four colleges that make up the Hydro One College Consortium: Algonquin, Georgian, Mohawk and Northern. The first pledge was made in 2007. The funds support scholarships, curriculum development, co‐op placements and equipment to educate the next generation of energy professionals.
“The results are in from the first phase of this partnership and they are outstanding,” said Laura Formusa, president & CEO of Hydro One. “The four colleges have been very effective in attracting more students to their electrical programs, ensuring a stronger workforce for Hydro One and the entire utility sector. This is good news for the people of Ontario.”
Enrolment and graduation rates from electrical engineering technician and technology programs have doubled at Algonquin, Georgian, Mohawk and Northern since the partnership began.
The four colleges geographically span across the province, making it a beneficial partnership for the whole province, says Bob Emptage, consortium chair and dean of Engineering Technology & Environmental Studies at Georgian College.
“This is a great example of an innovative partnership that is strengthening the provincial economy. Hydro One’s investment in college facilities and curriculum allows us to continue providing the highest quality education to our students, who will then be ready for rewarding and good‐paying jobs in the utility sector as soon as they graduate,” said Emptage.
The colleges will continue their recruitment and curriculum strategies from the first phase, including student‐focused mentorship events that Formusa and her senior team have attended at Georgian and Mohawk colleges.
Emptage says there will also be new projects, including expanding applied research activities to test new ideas and bring them to the marketplace and developing a new recruitment campaign to increase the number of women and aboriginal people in engineering programs and working at Hydro One.
“The colleges are able to implement curricula that meet the needs of our growing and evolving industry. Future applied research projects will help keep Ontario at the global forefront of smart grid technologies,” said Formusa.
Each college will receive $750,000 in support of their electrical engineering programs and recruitment over the term of this four‐year partnership.