Canada announces C$4.5 million funding for SHRC

TORONTO (03/18/2004) - The Canadian federal government on Thursday announced an investment of C$4.5 million (US$3.3 million) for a series of projects from the Software Human Resource Council (SHRC), all funded under the Sector Council Program.

Seven programs will share this round of funding, including: Canadian IT Awareness Web site (C$313,113); Connecting the Community (C$386,000); the Development of HR Strategy for Hardware (C$99,500); Infrastructure (C$1,800,750); Occupational Skills Profile Model (OSPM) Maintenance Model and Communications (C$750,000); Certification Feasibility Study (C$228,319); and Information Technology Support Associate (C$971,507).

The Canadian IT Awareness Web site initiative is geared towards increasing youth recruitment into the IT field through enhancements to a Web site, DiscoveryIT.org. However, projects that may be of interest to Canadians already in the IT workplace include the Certification Feasibility Study -- a project that aims to assess the need for a national recognition process for certification -- as well as the Information Technology Support Associate project, which is developing national standards and certification associated with the IT Support Associate.

According to a statement issued by the Department of Human Resources and Skills Development on Thursday, as mentioned in the 2004 Speech from the Throne, the Canadian government is "committed to refine and enhance its programs to encourage skills upgrading, in concert with Sector Councils, unions and businesses."

The Sector Council Program was awarded approximately C$37 million for 31 projects by Minister of Human Resources Joe Volpe earlier this week. Sector Councils are organizations comprised of labor, business and educational stakeholders in certain industries, enabling them to communicate about skills and human resources issues. There is currently a total of 29 sector councils, covering industries such as mining, textiles and biotechnology.

The Infrastructure project, which was awarded the highest amount of funding of all the SHRC projects, will provide the sector council with "stable operating funds allowing it to focus on responding to skills needs, representing the collective interest of industry partners, developing linkages with the educational system and being results-based," according to the statement.

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