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Date Posted
January 31, 2018

Edited January 31 at 2:10 p.m.

Grey County and partners throughout the community are delighted that the Province of Ontario has supported an application to develop a Regional Skills Training, Trades and Innovation Community Hub at the former Sydenham School site adjacent to Georgian College in Owen Sound. The full announcement from the Province is available on the website.

The facility will include a trade and innovation centre to support employment and education in skilled trades, technology, healthcare, and open the door for enhanced culinary innovation at the Georgian College campus. The plan under development involves distinct and strategically aligned areas including post-secondary, child care and innovation. A fourth is in preliminary discussions and is yet to be confirmed.

The post-secondary area will allow Georgian College to expand programming in the trades, technology and innovation both on campus and through the hub.

The child care area will provide services to address infant care, child care and child minding needs. Grey County will work with Georgian College through their early childhood education program to bring the classroom to the hub. Students will have the chance to observe the child care further their skills.

The innovation area will include supports for businesses and startups. The Business Enterprise Centre will be conveniently located in the centre, increasing its profile as a regional resource. There will also be space to operate a maker space/device lab. Grey County staff are coordinating with the private sector to develop an incubator/accelerator component.

The Province will fund ongoing operating and maintenance costs for the former Sydenham School in Owen Sound for up to 18 months. During this period, Grey County and partners will build a business case and funding model to operate the hub for the long term.

“We’re excited and grateful to have the Province’s support as we develop our plan for a Skills Training Trades and Innovation Hub to serve Grey County and the surrounding region,” said Grey County Warden Stewart Halliday. “We have a lot of work ahead of us to make this vison a reality. We’re eager to continue working with our partners to build a resource centre that helps our businesses and communities prosper.”

The joint application was filed by Grey County, Georgian College, the Bluewater District School Board, Bruce Grey Catholic District School Board and the City of Owen Sound. More than 100 local stakeholders from both the public and private sector have already been engaged.

Engagement and research are ongoing. Grey County will continue working with partners and a comprehensive plan will be shared with Grey County Council once all draft planning is complete.

Community Support

“The approval of Grey County’s application for the establishment of a regional skills training community hub is fantastic news for our students pursuing skilled trades related career pathways. We are excited to continue working with our community partners to help bring this concept to fruition, which will bolster educational program choices and career opportunities in our region,” says Alana Murray, Director of Education for Bluewater District School Board.

"We are pleased to be part of this partnership team that recognizes the needs of our communities. This good news has great potential to provide a sustainable support program for youth and adults alike, those looking to move or transition into new career opportunities. In today's ever changing world, we can't ever have enough innovative centers of learning and transition. We look forward to the next phase of program and business plan development," says Jamie McKinnon, Director of Education for Bruce Grey Catholic District School Board.

“Georgian College is pleased to support Grey County in this important initiative for the community. The approval of the Regional Skills Training, Trades & Innovation Community Hub application in Owen Sound will allow us to work together to fully realize the potential of the community and provide pathway opportunities for students. This continues Georgian College’s long history of partnerships with Grey County to deliver post-secondary education that meets the needs of the local and greater region,” said Fred Varkaris, Dean, Owen Sound Campus & Centre for Marine training and Research.

“On behalf of council and staff at the City of Owen Sound, we are enthused by the positive news regarding the SPTI funding for the Regional Skills, Training and Trade Centre in the former Sydenham School. This regional partnership that includes the County, Georgian College and school boards is key to supporting the success and growth of the College and supporting business in the region.” said City of Owen Sound Mayor, Ian Boddy.  “This Community Hub will fill a need in Owen Sound and the region for employers and those looking to expand their job training and work related skills. We look forward to continuing to work with our partners and all other stakeholders to make this vision reality.”

For media inquiries contact Rob Hatten, Communications Manager at or call 519-372-0219 ext. 1235  or   519-373-1592.

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