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In my many years of counseling I have had a sincere appreciation of the role that community colleges have played in helping educate our youth. Students and parents are paying due respect to the colleges acknowledging them as viable alternatives to attending university.

Recently I downloaded a news release from Linda Franklin, President and CEO of Colleges of Ontario, regarding the explosion of applicants wanting to attend Community Colleges.

"Final calculations have confirmed that enrollment at Ontario Colleges is at itís highest level ever.This is a very strong indicator of the appetite that exists for the career-focused programs at the colleges."

"It is a different job market and students understand the need to be as prepared as possible to pursue meaningful careers. Enrolment numbers in the first year is 125,000 with more then 220,000 students enrolled in all programs."

The province has finally recognized the need to address the skills mismatch that is hurting Ontario. There is a shortage of skilled people while there is an abundance of unemployed looking for work.

Colleges are known for their strong relationships with industry and local businesses providing co-op placements for their students. The Colleges have the flexibility to adapt their programs to the rapid needs of the marketplace and ensure that their graduates have the knowledge and skills to achieve long term success.

Increasing numbers of university graduates are looking to the college programs. In the last five years the number of university grads applying to Ontario Community Colleges has increased to 40%. The University of Western Ontario is probably the largest feeder school to Fanshawe.

We all can be proud of Fanshawe College that has provided wonderful career based programs that lead to meaningful employment for their graduates for the past fifty years.

Many of the 200 programs leading to certificates, diplomas and degrees programs feature Co-Op Education, Clinical Studies and learning opportunities giving students first hand experience.

Dayan Boyce, Corporate Communications Officer at Fanshawe, was very gracious and kindly sent along information for us to peruse . The overall student numbers for Fanshawe College is impressive with 14,286 full-time students enrolled. The College attracts students from approximately fifty countries from around the world, especially India, China, Nigeria and Korea.

The success rate for graduating students is close to ninety percent for paid employment after six months leaving school. Check out the web site www.fanshawec.ca/kpi to see the "Graduate Employment" numbers.

To be able to keep all the doors open I advise parents to have their children opt for the Academic Level when registering for high school. Location often decide which programs our students choose. The parents from the more affluent areas that feed London Cenral Collegiate, Lucas, Oakridge, South, Mother Theresa have their children for the most part enrol in the Academic program.

Teacherís perception can play a large part in the decision making. I failed grade one and the vice principal advised my parents that I should take the General (Applied) program. My parents refused and I graduated from London Central, University of Western Ontario, Teacherís college and was employed by the Thames Valley Board of Education.

My philosophy of life/ success is quite simple: You can be and do anything you want if you but persevere.

Len Lesser

Len Lesser posts a report every week

You can email Len at lenlesser@hotmail.com