Specialist High Skills Major

What is SHSM

The Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) program, which is part of the Ministry of Education’s Student Success initiative in the province of Ontario, has been introduced to offer province-wide specialized programs in specific ministry-identified sectors to support the success of all students. Ontario secondary schools are offering expanded programs to help meet students’ individual learning styles and interests. These options include Dual Credits, Specialist High Skills Majors and Cooperative Education. These programs help to meet the needs, interests and strengths of all students, engaging them in learning and better preparing them for graduation and beyond.

Students who choose an SHSM designation learn through co-operative education and experiential learning placement within the community. Students who complete an SHSM designation can be confident when they leave high school that they are equipped with the knowledge, skills, and industry-recognized qualifications desired by employers and post-secondary institutions. Thunder Bay Catholic District School Board is proud to be partnered with many local businesses and agencies within the Thunder Bay Region to offer its students rich and diverse opportunities to gain practical experience and expertise in their chosen career fields.

Bundled Credits: Each SHSM program offers students a bundle of 8-10 Grade 11 and Grade 12 credits. The credits include: 4 “major” credits in their area of interest, English and Mathematics, other elective courses in Science, Business or Social Sciences that are designed to complement the major courses, and at least 2 co-op courses related to their SHSM.

Sector-Recognized Certifications: Related to the major and selected from a list, both generic and specific to support the sector (i.e. WHMIS, First Aid, Fall Arrest).

Experiential Learning Opportunities: Which includes: Job-shadowing, job-twinning, work experience, cooperative education, field trips and other workplace experiences for students to explore careers related to that sector.

Reach Ahead Experiences: In the field and sectors considered as a post-secondary destination, ranging from a few hours to full courses (e.g. Dual Credit program)

Sector Partnered Experience: ICE Training, Coding or Math Literacy 

  • Employers and post-secondary institutions recognize that a student has participated in specialized, career focused programming.
  • SHSM students receive an additional transcript outlining their accomplishments.

Talk to your Guidance Counsellor.

Applications can be submitted in Grade 10, 11 or 12.  Submitting an application in Grade 10 will ensure that your academic and experiential schedule will satisfy SHSM requirements.

Return your SHSM Application form to your guidance counsellor. 



St. Ignatius
High School SHSM
St. Patrick
High School SHSM
Thunder Bay Catholic
District School Board
School Lead: Sabrina Peterson Phone: (807) 344-8433
Email: speterson@tbcschools.ca
School Lead: Ramon Verardo Phone: (807) 623-5218
Email: rverardo@tbcschools.ca
SHSM Board Consultant: Marcy Barry Phone: (807) 625-1576 Email: mbarry@tbcschools.ca




© Thunder Bay Catholic District School Board 2023