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Open Letter to the Government of Canada: New COVID-19 Support for Students Shouldn’t Exclude Those Attending Private Career Colleges

Lighthouse Labs and Juno College of Technology ask the Government of Canada to include Private Career Colleges in New COVID-19 Student Support Measures 

TORONTO — Lighthouse Labs and Juno College of Technology sent the following letter via email to members of the Canadian government: 

The Right Honourable Prime Minister Justin Trudeau 
The Honourable Bill Morneau 
The Honourable Navdeep Bains 
The Honourable Chrystia Freeland 
The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos 
The Honourable Pablo Rodriguez 
The Honourable Carla Qualtrough 

Dear Prime Minister Trudeau, Mr. Morneau, Mr. Bains, Ms. Freeland, Mr. Duclos, Mr. Rodriguez and Ms. Qualtrough: 

Like all Canadians, we at Lighthouse Labs and Juno College of Technology have been following your government’s actions related to the COVID-19 crisis and would like to applaud the swift and decisive action taken to support Canadians, and the way in which announced policy has been continually adapted to best serve Canada’s interests. 

In this vein, we want to commend your government for recent support measures for students. The Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) fills a much needed gap left by CERB for Canada’s future leaders, and we were pleased to hear about the 76,000 jobs being created for young people. However, we are concerned that Private Career College (PCC) students will be exempted from these new measures. It is for this reason that Lighthouse Labs and Juno College of Technology have joined together to urge you not to leave Private Career College students behind. 

Historically, students of Private Career Colleges have been excluded from government funds benefiting those attending public universities or colleges. In addition, much of the funding for the 76,000 new jobs will be funnelled through the promising Work-Integrated Learning (WIL) program. Unfortunately, when the program was created, eligibility was limited to students at publicly funded Canadian post-secondary institutions, meaning this support will not be available to our market-ready graduates. 

As a result, more than 175,000 students from Canadian private colleges across the country may be left behind by these new student measures. Private Career Colleges deliver career-specific, outcome-based programs in hundreds of essential skilled fields in a manner that is characteristically responsive to employer demand. Canada’s PCCs inject into the job market an especially high number of graduates in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields. These industries are catalysts for development, and will play an especially important role in reshaping our economy over the coming years. As two of the largest software development private career colleges in the country, Lighthouse Labs and Juno College of Technology have personally taught over 50,000 Canadians to code and graduated over 3,000 developers into high-paying technology jobs. 

The fact that our programs and courses prepare Canadians for today’s most in-demand jobs through training that is, above all else, flexible, are reasons Private Career Colleges will be critical to our country’s recovery from the COVID-19 crisis. But for PCCs to play this role, our students need to be supported with the same programs available to other students. A two-tier and unequal system where only College and University students receive benefits would be unfair and unjust. 

We urge the government to: 

  • Ensure CESB is available to all students 
  • Expand eligibility for Student Work Placement Program to include private career colleges 

We deeply appreciate your work during this unprecedented time, and we look forward to working together to ensure that Canada’s students can continue to build their futures. 

Sincerely, 

Jeremy Shaki 
Co-Founder and CEO 
Lighthouse Labs 

Heather Payne 
Founder and CEO 
Juno College of Technology 

About Lighthouse Labs

Lighthouse Labs was created in 2013 by a team of software developers with a passion for code, mentorship, and education. Our mission: to continuously find the best ways to train the next generation of developers and transform the way tech education is delivered. Seven years later, we have introduced over 30,000 Canadians to the practice of coding and launched over 2,000 graduates into careers as professional developers. With the support of a brilliant team of instructors and mentors who view coding as the ultimate craft, we continue to empower students, launch careers, and contribute to the incredible growth of Canada’s tech industry. 

About Juno College of Technology

Juno College of Technology (formerly known as HackerYou) was founded in 2012 by the team behind Canada Learning Code, a recipient of over $18M in federal funding. As one of the only Coding Bootcamp in Canada founded by a woman, Juno’s mission has always been to bring greater diversity and accessibility to the technology industry. From a 12,000 square foot campus in downtown Toronto to our global community of Live Online students, Juno has over 4000 alumni, adding significantly to Canada’s technical workforce. At Juno, we look forward to continuing to transform technical education and help young people get ahead, which we’ll tackle with the same energy and enthusiasm as we have for the past eight years. 

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