January 21, 2020

BY WILLIAM WITCZAK

Conestoga officials should be bursting with pride and students no longer have to worry about people making fun of them for going to Conestoga College, thanks to a new study. Economist Larry Smith released the study results March 5, which showed that almost 50 per cent of the local adult population has participated in education or training programs at Conestoga. It also found that:

  • 64.6 per cent of Conestoga graduates live in the local area, defined as Waterloo Region, Guelph and Stratford.
  • These 53,887 graduates represent 10.7 per cent of the local adult population.
  • 2,155 Conestoga graduates are business owners.
  • Since 1990, 197,299 unique individuals were students of Conestoga’s Continuing Education courses.
  • At least 30,000 individuals have received customized training from Conestoga at over 500 employers.
  • The annual employment income of Conestoga graduates is at least $1 billion, and therefore the economic contribution to their employers and to the community exceeds $1 billion each year.

The numbers show the huge effect that the college has had on the community. And there is no sign of it slowing down.
Many people used to think when the word college was uttered it referred to some second rate school for people who couldn’t get into university, something that was almost an embarrassment. But now that opinion is changing, not just for this college but for every college in Canada. The practical skills that are being learned here provide real world jobs.
We doubt our university counterparts could match these results. Sure, Conestoga may not have the same “degree” of reputation, but the fact that the college now offers full-fledged degrees among its many varied programs goes miles to improve its reputation.
The fact that the college is still set to grow is something that all of us can be proud of. Now, whenever we say that we are currently enrolled at Conestoga, the first thought that will run through people’s minds won’t be “Poor you,” but more likely “Good for you. And, “I went there too!”

The views herein represent the position of the newspaper, not necessarily the author.