No Job? No Problem! Get Re-Trained Through the Second Career Program!


Because I work at a private college in Ontario, I am often asked questions regarding Ontario’s Second Career program. I know that it can be confusing, at times, to review all of the information available, so I thought that I’d simply write a blog post about it and give all of you out there all of the information that I have acquired thus far.

Firstly, let me simply explain what Second Career is for those of you who may not even be aware of it. It is a government funded program that provides workers who have been laid off with “skills training to help them find jobs in high demand occupations in Ontario and financial support” to do so. It is a cost-sharing grant that is provided on the basis of need, so you may be asked to contribute whatever you can to your education. It should be noted, however, that Second Career will cover up to $28,000 of educational costs, such as tuition, books, transportation, and a basic living allowance. All in all, it’s a pretty great program, I’m sure you would agree. And thanks to our Ontario government, many workers who have been laid-off have had the opportunity to be re-trained, with relevant skills, at almost no cost to them.

Ontario Legislative Assembly

However, you have to remember that not everything that is free comes easily. There is some effort that must be done on your part to actually receive the funding; and this is where this blog becomes extremely poignant.

I have called one of the government offices that offers the Second Career program, vpi Inc., Mississauga Skills Training Enhancement Program (STEP), to gain as much information as I possibly can (without actually enrolling in the program myself!) in order that I may share it with you:

  • In order for someone to be considered a Second Career candidate, theymust go to an office that provides the Second Career program, such as vpi Inc. (Please also note that if you have previously visited an office prior to August 2010, and it has since closed down, it is due to the fact that the government wanted to provide all of the same service at each centre; each centre now provides the exact same programs.)
  • If you decide to become a candidate for the program, you must bring your Social Insurance Number (SIN) with you to the office, as well as a current resume.
  • In order to considered as a candidate for the program, you must have been laid-off in 2005 or later, and must be unemployed and not enrolled in a school. (If a candidate is working, he/she must be underemployed [i.e. be working 20 hours a week or less], and if enrolled in school, class-time must add up to no more than 9 hours per week.)
  • In order to be considered as a candidate, one must attend a STEP (Skills Training Enhancement Program) success workshop or consult with a career counsellor in order to be assessed to see if one meets the eligibility requirements.
  • After attending the workshop and/or meeting with the counsellor, a candidate is then required to do all of the research for his/her desired program (i.e. provide a list of educational institutions that provide said program, pricing at each institution, locations, etc.).
  • Once the research is completed, it is beneficial for the candidate to get acceptance letters from 3 different educational institutions (i.e. private colleges, colleges, etc.) to provide a variety of options.
  • It is much more beneficial for a candidate to enroll in a private college because they have start dates throughout the year, whereas public colleges only have intakes in September and January. At a private college, candidates will be able to begin studying much earlier.
  • The quicker a candidate gathers all of the information (i.e. acceptance letters, start dates, pricing info, etc.), the faster he/she may begin studying. If the counsellor is given all of the information within 2 weeks, he/she may prepare the rationale much faster and earlier.
  • It is more beneficial for a candidate to apply for a program in which he/she already has already gained some working experience (i.e. a former Administrative Assistant opting to study a program preparing him/her for an Executive Assistant position), but it is not a deciding factor in all cases.
  • Depending upon the case and the speed that the candidate is able to gather all of his/her information and sits with his/her counsellor, the case may be approved in as little as 1 month or may take up to 1 year (again, also depending on which college they choose to attend – private or public).

Also, when applying to the 3 colleges (or more, if you desire), remember that the college will need to see proof of your most current education, such as a high school diploma, college diploma, etc.

I hope this information has helped you figure out how to navigate through the Second Career program a little easier. This Ontario government site has a list of FAQ’s, but if you have any more, please let me know…I’d be happy to help out as much as I can!


2 Responses to “No Job? No Problem! Get Re-Trained Through the Second Career Program!”

  1. I wish our government had a program like that. I sure could have used that kind of help when I went back to school to get my masters in internet marketing in the US. I had to pay for the whole thing!

  2. Yes, we’re quite lucky, I must say! The government has created this fantastic program, and yet there are so many unemployed/laid-off workers that don’t even know about it. And if they do, they have no idea how to get started, so I thought I might help out a bit. 🙂

    Thanks for dropping by again, Steve!

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