Brookfield and the Ontario Government Launch Digital Literacy Pilot

Coding and digital literacy has become so important in today’s society that it should be a part of a balanced education.

The Government of Ontario agrees with that sentiment, as they have launched a new Digital Literacy + Coding Pilot aimed at those between 12 and 15 years old. The pilot will help young folks learn to code and prepare them for jobs in the increasingly digital economy.

In total, the government is donating $1 million over two years, matching a donation by Janice Fukakusa, Greg Belbeck, and family.

“Investing in digital skills training for young people—women and visible minorities, in particular—not only gives them the exposure and experience they might not otherwise get, but it also improves their chances at success in their future endeavours and strengthens our shifting economy,” said Janice Fukakusa.

The new pilot is being launched in partnership with the Brookfield Institute and will support up to 1,000 youth with valuable skills relating to STEM fields. The program itself was designed by experts in digital literacy and youth engagement and will be delivered in five Ontario cities: London, Belleville, Hamilton, Sudbury and Toronto.

“While Canada’s youth are well-equipped to adapt to the rapidly changing future of work, not all segments of the population will experience these technological trends equally,” said Sean Mullin, an executive director at the Brookfield Institute. “We’re thrilled to be able to lift our research off the pages and to test a community-based model that has the potential to scale across the country.”

The reasoning behind this kind of increased funding is clear, according to new reports. Those aged 15-24 made up nearly 20 per cent of jobs that are at high risk of automation. On top of this, Canada’s developer industry still lacks diversity, as 83 per cent are white, and less than 10 per cent are female.

This is not the only digital literacy initiative in progress either. The federal government recently launched the Digital Literacy Exchange Program, investing close to $30 million to support nonprofits that advance the cause of teaching digital skills to those who would benefit from entering the digital world.

There are other partners involved in this pilot, including Actua, Canada Learning Code, YMCA, and more.