$300,000 in skilled trades scholarships to be given at Mohawk College in Hamilton each year


Published February 9, 2023 at 7:08 pm

Aspiring carpenters, electricians, steamfitters and welders in Hamilton are getting a boost through Mohawk College being part of the largest skilled trade scholarship program in Canada.

The Schulich Foundation, whose scholarships have historically been associated with university education, announced Thursdqy that it is endowing the largest skilled trade scholarship program. Known as Schulich Builders, the program will offer $3 million a year to help students cover their tuition, tools, and living expenses at 10 colleges in Ontario, including Mohawk.

For Mohawk, whose Marshall School of Skilled Trades and Apprenticeship is based at the Stoney Creek campus, that works out to $300,000 in scholarships each year to 10 students. Five applicants will receive $20,000 for one year, and five will receive $40,000 to be parsed out across two years of study.

“Mohawk College is grateful to be involved in the Schulich Builders program, as the Schulich Foundation extends its strong philanthropic tradition of student scholarships to Canadian colleges,” Mohawk president and CEO Ron McKerlie stated on Thursday.

“At a moment in time when workforce shortages have the potential to hamper the country’s recovery, colleges have the expertise and the capacity to train the skilled trades workforce of the future… these Schulich Builders Scholarships are certain to help many more people find their way into these programs on their way to important, rewarding careers in the trades.”

Mohawk added that the program will give priority to students nominated by their high school. However, it is also possible to apply through one of the 10 participating colleges.

Mohawk noted that along with assauging that the financial pressures on students, the program will also have a leadership training/mentoring component.

“The financial challenges facing college students are growing, with 45 percent of our students indicating that financial pressure represents the greatest barrier to the completion of their education,” stated Katie Burrows, Mohawk vice-president of students, alumni and international.

“Schulich Builders Scholarships will ease the weight of that burden. The inclusion of leadership training and mentorship in the Schulich Builders program is also welcome, as 33 percent of our students are the first in their families to earn a post-secondary education. We appreciate the well-rounded support the Schulich Builders program will provide Mohawk College students.”

The creation of the program comes as the construction and development industry faces a challenge of increasing capacity to increase housing stock in Hamilton and cities across Ontario. While there is rigorous debate about what and where to build, and concerns about exacerbating the environmental determinants of human health, there is consensus on a housing shortage is universal. The province is aiming to build 1.5 million new homes in a decade, with Hamilton tasked with adding 52,400.

“Ontario is facing the largest labour shortage in a generation, which means when you have a career in the skilled trades, you have a career for life,” Labour Minister Monte McNaughton stated on Thursday. “With Schulich Foundation’s skilled trade scholarship program, they are helping to attract and prepare a new generation of skilled trades workers here in Ontario for better jobs and bigger paycheques.”

Centennial, Durham, George Brown, Humber and Sheridan are also among the southern Ontario colleges offering Schulich scholarships. Algonquin, Conestoga, Fanshawe, and Loyalist are also taking part.

Further info about the program is available at schulichleaders.com. More info about skilled trades and apprenticeships at Mohawk is available at mohawkcollege.ca.

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