Career Ready Fund

Learn how to get funding to offer hands on learning opportunities for college and university students.

About the program

Part of the Career Kick-Start Strategy, the Career Ready Fund helps publicly-assisted colleges and universities, employers, and other organizations create more experiential learning opportunities for postsecondary students and recent grads.

Experiential learning is “hands on learning” in a real or simulated workplace that helps prepare students for the transition to work. It also helps employers connect students and new graduates with the skills they need to hit the ground running.

There are two streams of funding available to publicly-assisted colleges and universities, employers and other partners as part of the Career Ready Fund:

  • Employer and Regional Partnerships
  • New Grad Career Bridge

Employer and Regional Partnerships

Goal

This stream provides funding to develop and expand innovative and sustainable partnerships that create experiential learning opportunities. Partners can include employers, publicly-assisted colleges and universities, and others that create experiential learning opportunities. Partnerships can be local and province-wide.

Eligibility

Employers, intermediaries (like industry associations and NGOs), publicly-assisted colleges and universities, or consortia of any of these groups. Applications must include a relationship to an employer and a postsecondary institution.

To be eligible for funding, all proposed experiential learning opportunities must meet the six criteria in the experiential learning checklist below.

Funding

Successful applicants can receive funding for two years. Projects that include matching cash and/or in-kind contributions are preferred.

New Grad Career Bridge

Goal

This stream provides funding to:

  • place recent grads in internships or similar experiences
  • develop open license curriculum to help graduates develop job-ready skills
  • support programs that promote and facilitate internships and opportunities for new graduates

Eligibility

Employers, intermediaries (like industry associations, NGOs), and / or publicly-assisted colleges and universities.

Funding

Successful applicants can receive funding for two years. Initiatives that include matching cash and in-kind contributions are preferred.

How to apply

The deadline to submit expressions of interest to the Employer and Regional Partnerships and New Grad Career Bridge streams was November 10, 2017. Thank you to everyone who made a submission.

The ministry is evaluating submissions, and proponents will be contacted regarding the results. Short-listed expressions of interest will be asked to submit a formal application.

Experiential learning checklist

The Career Ready Fund supports the goal of providing every student with at least one meaningful experiential learning experience before graduating high school or postsecondary education.

You can use the checklist below to clarify which learning opportunities for postsecondary students count towards achieving this goal.

To count and to be eligible for funding under the Career Ready Fund's Employer and Regional Partnerships stream, the criteria below must apply:

  • The student is in a workplace or simulated workplace.
  • The student is exposed to authentic demands that improve their job-ready skills, interpersonal skills, and transition to the workforce.
  • The experience is structured with purposeful and meaningful activities.
  • The student applies university or college program knowledge and/or essential employability skills.
  • The experience includes student self-assessment and evaluation of the student's performance and learning outcomes by the employer and or university/college.
  • The experience counts towards course credit or credential completion OR is formally recognized by the college or university as meeting the five criteria above.

Also, it is important that opportunities comply with employment laws and regulations, and that experiences are accessible and are offered in inclusive environments.

Examples of experiential learning

There are many types of experiential learning, including what is sometimes known as work-integrated learning. Here are some common examples:

  • apprenticeships
  • performance and artistic productions
  • bootcamps/hackathons
  • clinical placements
  • co-ops
  • field placements
  • incubators and accelerators
  • industry-sponsored research projects
  • job shadowing
  • mandatory professional practice
  • practicums
  • service learning
  • workplace simulations
  • work-study programs

Contact us

For more information on the Career Ready Fund, or to receive a copy of our experiential learning policy e-mail us at ExperientialLearning@ontario.ca.

Related

Highly Skilled Workforce

Specialist High Skills Majors for Secondary School Students

Co-op Education