SUDBURY -- The Ontario government is providing $3 million to Algoma University to create a virtual campus that will offer degrees in business and economics, computer science, and health-related fields.

As well, shorter-term certificates, micro-credentials and expanded college to university pathways will be available online, increasing access to skills upgrades and second career opportunities in Sault Ste. Marie.

“This $3 million will create a state-of-the-art online learning platform that will help Algoma University offer an outstanding education virtually,” Ross Romano, MPP for Sault Ste. Marie, said in a news release Friday.

“Helping Algoma University develop its online learning environment will generate further revenue for our local institution and help our community develop a highly educated workforce, create jobs and attract new investments in Sault Ste. Marie.”

The $3 million from the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC) will help Algoma build its infrastructure capability and talent to proceed with the development and implementation of an e-learning platform over the next five years, creating 71 new full- and part-time jobs, the province said.

Algoma, through its work with the Ministry of Colleges and Universities and Contact North | Contact Nord, was able to deliver a fully online summer course offering. The university will now be able to use these skills, combined with the $3 million, to develop their state-of-the-art e-learning platform.

Student-centred programs

“The generous funding provided by NOHFC combined with ongoing support from the Ministry of Colleges and Universities will help expand access to quality university education programming for countless students from across Northern Ontario and beyond,” Asima Vezina, president and vice- chancellor, said in the release.

“Ultimately, this initiative will provide high-quality, student-centred university programming opportunities to those living in remote, rural, and Indigenous communities, while simultaneously supporting the economic recovery and work-force development needs required to ensure a brighter future for the region.”

The NOHFC promotes economic prosperity across Northern Ontario by providing financial assistance to projects – big and small, rural and urban – that stimulate recovery, growth, job creation and skilled workforce development.

Since June 2018, the NOHFC has invested more than $225 million in 1,492 projects in northern Ontario, leveraging more than $991 million in investment and creating or sustaining 4,298 jobs.

"A new and improved NOHFC program will be launched in January 2021, making it easier for more people and businesses to apply and support more projects in rural northern communities," the province said.