Skip to content

College responds to shortage of early childhood educators and educational support workers

Confederation College is collaborating with industry partners to promote the value of these careers and will offer an additional regional intake of the Early Childhood Education program.
Confederation College

Confederation College media release

THUNDER BAY – In response to a shortage of qualified early childhood educators and educational support workers, Confederation College is collaborating with industry partners to promote the value of these careers and will offer an additional regional intake of the Early Childhood Education program this fall.

With such high demand for graduates from the College’s ECE and Educational Support programs, the opportunities are bountiful for finding meaningful employment within people’s home communities.

“We recognize the growing need for professionals in these fields and are excited to more closely align with our industry partners to highlight the benefits of our Confederation programs and these careers,” said Angelina Anderson, director of Confederation’s Dryden and Sioux Lookout campuses.

“Adding another intake of the ECE program within our regional campuses will help to further address the current shortage. Individuals in these fields help to support children and youth to succeed in school, at home and in life.”

Kevin Knutsen, executive officer of Employee and Labour Relations with the Rainy River District School Board is one industry partner feeling the impacts of the shortage.

“The demand for casual early childhood educators is significant across district schools and the Rainy River District School Board is grateful for the high-quality education provided to participants of the ECE program at Confederation College,” he said.

“With a number of these graduates working in our schools, it is evident they acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to help give our earliest learners their best start.”

One graduate with that knowledge and those skills is Sarah Stevenson, who graduated from the ECE program in 1997 and is currently the Director of Integrated Social Services with the Kenora District Services Board.

Her career is a perfect example of the diversity and challenge you can find in the field; it can lead to places far beyond the classroom or daycare.

“I started my career working in a daycare but each time a door opened, I made the choice to walk through,” said Stevenson.

“Confederation College gave me the background, knowledge and confidence to excel in each stage of my career. The program prepares students to enter full-time employment and also gives them the basis for the continued learning that occurs in the workplace.”

Stevenson also stressed that there are many opportunities in the field. “In the Kenora District we’ve undergone a significant child care expansion, which means 150 new kids will be needing care. In support of those kids, we will require a minimum of 30 full-time ECE workers, as well as others that would work on a part-time or casual basis.”

The educational support program also enables graduates to achieve success.

Marissa Mack graduated from the ES program in 2016 at the Lake of the Woods campus in Kenora. The demand for the credential in her community was so high that she was already taking shifts with schools in the weeks before her official graduation.

“The three placements I did were very helpful since they gave me first-hand experience and a foot in the door with employers,” said Mack. “The program was well-designed and every course was relevant to the real world. My diploma gave me an expertise in using technology that other staff at my workplace don’t have. I’m now the go-to person for staff who have questions!”

Educational Support Workers play a crucial role in maintaining supervision and safety in the school setting, implementing modified or alternate academic programming and providing personal care. Early Childhood Educators work with children in their first years to support their development through educational programs, curriculum and play-based learning. Both programs at Confederation College well prepare graduates for employment in these fields.

Community members in Atikokan, Dryden, Fort Frances, Kenora, Red Lake and Sioux Lookout are invited to join Confederation College and its industry partners for Information Sessions to learn more about the Early Childhood Education and Educational Support programs, as well as career opportunities.

Individuals can also visit the Confederation College website for more program information and to apply: and

· Tuesday, July 24, 5:00 p.m.

o Dryden Campus: 100 Casimir Avenue

o Sioux Lookout Campus: 70 Wellington Street

· Wednesday, July 25, 5:00 p.m.

o Lake of the Woods (Kenora) Campus: 900 Golf Course Road

o Red Lake Campus: 60B Hwy 105

· Wednesday, August 1, 5:00 p.m.

o Rainy River District (Fort Frances) Campus: 440 McIrvine Road

o Atikokan – Contact North: 324 Mercury Avenue (in the high school)