Education and Schools

Waterloo Region is home to many high-quality educational institutions from elementary and high schools to post-secondary institutions and many options for continuing education.

Read on for details on local education, career training, education loans and second career training.

School boards (elementary and high school)
Post-secondary institutions

Waterloo Region is home to 65,000 post-secondary students, including more than 20,000 co-operative education students.

Education grants and loans (OSAP)

List of programs for full-time and part-time students (Ontario only).

General Equivalency Diploma Program (GED)

This program, offered through Conestoga College, is for adults 19 or older who want to complete their high school education. To qualify, you must have been out of school for at least a year. The program prepares you to write the GED test to obtain a high school equivalency certificate or apply for admission to an educational or training institution.

Ontario Works (OW) clients can improve their math, language, social studies and science skills with an individualized learning program. They must attend classes daily from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Clients will first write a GED pre-test to assess their skill level. Testing for OW clients is offered at 99 Regina St. S. in Room 112.

Next steps:

  • Once the pre-test is marked, your caseworker will provide a written assessment. This will determine if you are accepted into the GED program
  • A child-care subsidy can be arranged through the Region and a monthly travel and transportation allowance will be provided while attending the program
  • Students are expected to call if they cannot attend class; a monthly attendance sheet will be provided to the caseworker
  • Once there are sufficient numbers, the Independent Learning Centre will be contacted to arrange GED testing in Kitchener-Waterloo. The testing will be open to all OW clients, and if there are openings, to others in the community as well

If you have questions about the course or wish to set an alternate date for a pre-test, please contact Laureen Smith at or call 519-883-2101 ext. 5801 and leave a message.

Second Career program
The Province of Ontario offers funding for tuition for retraining through the Second Career program. To qualify, you must:
  1. Have been laid off from a full-time job within the last four years
  2. Be unemployed, working fewer than 20 hours per week or underemployed
  3. Be interested in training for a new career

Visit the Second Career website for more information on how to qualify for funding.

Second Career is a grant provided on the basis of need, so you may be asked to contribute what you can to your training or education.

Second Career provides up to $28,000 for:

  • Tuition
  • Books
  • Other instruction costs (such as manuals or workbooks)
  • Transportation
  • Basic living allowance

More support may be available for:

  • People with disabilities
  • Dependent care costs
  • Costs of living away from home
  • Academic upgrading

Second Career is administered by the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities.

Employment Resource Centres

Employment Resource Centres (ERCs) are community self-help centres with free services to help with education, training and employment search.

They offer information on:

  • Career planning
  • Job search
  • Labour market
  • Education and training
  • Apprenticeship
  • Second Career funding
  • Ontario Self-Employment Benefits

ERCs also offer employment workshops on these topics:

  • Resumes
  • eResumes/text resumes
  • Interview preparation
  • Second Career information sessions
  • Weekly employment coaching

You will also find access to:

  • Computers, printers and faxes
  • TTY, telephones and voicemail boxes for your job search
  • Job postings and classified ads

Resources Centres are open Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., at these locations:

  • Kitchener
    235 King St. E.
  • Cambridge
    150 Main St.
  • Waterloo
    99 Regina St. S.

In rural communities, residents can get information and help with career planning, job search and software for drafting resumes. Regional staff members are available by phone from these locations:

  • Woolwich Community Services

73 Arthur St., Elmira


  • Wilmot Family Resource Centre

175 Waterloo St., New Hamburg


  • Family Counselling Centre of Cambridge & North Dumfries, Community Support Services

173 Northumberland St., Ayr


  • Wellesley Township Community Health Centre

187 Queen's Bush Rd., Wellesley


Canada Learning Bond

What is the Canada Learning Bond (CLB)?

  • A Federal education grant that provides up to $2,000 in education funds for eligible children
  • Currently, only one in five children who are eligible are accessing this grant

How to get it:

  • Visit Service Canada to get a Social Insurance Number (SIN) for yourself and your child
  • Open a Registered Education Saving Plan (RESP) and ask to be registered for the CLB. There are no-cost, no-contribution RESP options. Visit to apply online, or ask at your bank
  • The Government of Canada will deposit $500 into the RESP right away, and an additional $100 every year your child is eligible until age 15

Resources and bank letters:

For more information, call Community Services at 519-575-4400 

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