Passport to Prosperity
Update – Fall 2005
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The PPC Leads with Vision and Commitment
The Provincial Partnership Council (PPC) is comprised of key leaders from the private, public and voluntary sectors. Through its province-wide campaign, Passport to Prosperity, the PPC works together with the Ontario Business Education Partnership, local business-education councils and training boards, school boards, the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Training Colleges and Universities to find more employers willing to offer work experience opportunities to high school students.
"The Council was formed in 1999 with Donald Jackson as Chair. We thank Don for his vision and long-term commitment and also recognize the work of the many dedicated PPC members and association partners who have helped build momentum for Passport to Prosperity," says Grant Clarke, Director, Secondary School Policy and Programs Branch, Ministry of Education.
Tom Flanagan, President and COO of BMO Investorline and Jon Hamovitch, Vice President Human Resources for AOL Canada, have assumed leadership of the PPC as Co-Chairs. They have been actively involved in the Passport to Prosperity campaign for several years.
The goals of the Council are two-fold. One: to help ensure that every interested Ontario student has a work experience. Two: to encourage all employers across the province to consider offering work experience opportunities to students.
Laura Crane is always on the go and spends a lot of time traveling across the city in her portable "office". Laura transports students files, their curriculum, prizes and a hard hat for her visits to construction sites. Just in case an interview opportunity arises, she also has extra clothes to lend a student.
Laura is one of several co-op teachers leading a new continuous intake program at the Toronto District School Board. The program is a pilot of the Learning to 18 and Student Success initiative, launched in January 2005 by the Ministry of Education, to support successful outcomes for all students, towards their destinations of choice: work, apprenticeship, college and university. Learning to 18 and Student Success aims to go beyond traditional academic achievement and incorporate excellence in alternative high school programs.
"Co-op is phenomenal", says Laura. "It is a way for the students to gain work experience many of them have not had before. The students are treated as equals and this goes a long way with them. I can see that they all grow from the experience and witnessing that transformation is what I appreciate most about the job."
Laura has watched the students benefit from the program, developing goals and earning workplace credits that are getting them that much closer to graduation.
As with other co-op programs, Laura covers the pre-placement curriculum with the students, teaching them about workplace standards and etiquette, and the Health and Safety Act. The students also learn how to write résumés and cover letters, and must actively participate in their job search. This helps the students take ownership of their jobs and ensures they fully understand the job search process.
One of the students from the continuous intake co-op program says, "This program gives you many opportunities to achieve your goals and gain real-life experience. It will allow you to figure out what you want to be in life."
Laura loves her job. What's more she says, When I get excited, the students get excited and that's what I like to see.
Last Spring, the Provincial Partnership Council recognized five Employer Champions and five Merit Award winners. While there are thousands of employers in Ontario training the workforce of tomorrow, these ten employers were recognized for their long term commitment to providing work experiences for students. The 2005 Employer Champions were featured in the Spring Update. The 2005 Merit Award winners are highlighted here.
Aramark Canada, Mississauga
Dr. Bruce Gibson, Lakefield
Kruger International, Pembroke
Niagara Health System, Niagara Region
Reko Tool and Mold, Windsor
"Choosing a career path is a challenge at any age. Work opportunities give students a glimpse of career options which they may not have considered, increasing awareness of new and traditional industries," comments Tom Flanagan, Co-Chair of the Provincial Partnership Council.
All Ontario school boards are required to offer school-work opportunities to interested high school students. To meet this obligation, school boards need the help and involvement of employers.
"There are more than 26,000 employers across the province already working with students through the Passport to Prosperity campaign. It is impressive to have so many committed employers." says Jon Hamovitch, PPC Co-Chair. "It is a great start but there is much work to be done. There are more than 700,000 high school students across Ontario, all potentially in need of a work experience. We have a big gap to fill. The PPC has taken up the challenge to spread the word with employers."
The week of October 30 to November 5 marks Canada Career Week, a great time for employers to take up the challenge. Employers can offer a range of school-work opportunities from one day job-shadowing such as "Take Our Kids to Work Day" to cooperative education placements of several months. For more information on providing work experience to high school students in your community, please check out the Ontario Business Education Partnership (OBEP) at www.obep.on.ca.
Once you have decided which school-work opportunity is the best fit for your organization, there is some preparation required to ensure success for the organization and the students.
The preparation needed varies by school-work experience, within two general categories, off-site and on-site.
Off-site school-work experiences may include career talks, career fairs or career days, and mentoring.
Things to consider when planning any of these school-work activities:
Some tools and materials that may be helpful when participating in off-site school-work experiences:
On-site work experiences may include workplace tours, mentoring, job shadowing, school-work transitions, cooperative education and OYAP.
When bringing students into the workplace, we suggest the following preparation:
If your organization plans to offer school-work transitions, cooperative education or OYAP, develop a plan to include:
Often employers want some tips on creating a positive school-work experience. We gathered advice from four experts, two Employer Champions and two Merit Award Winners.
What makes a successful placement?
– Anita Goodman, Food Services Director, Aramark GE Canada
– Peter Milojevic, Training Department Manager, Bruce Power
– Lorrie Forget, Volunteer Resources, Niagara Health System
What would you say to employers who are hesitant about taking on a student?
Larry Girardi, Manager, Rector Machine Works
Anita Goodman, Food Services Director, Aramark GE Canada
Peter Milojevic, Training Department Manager, Bruce Power
Lorrie Forget, Volunteer Resources, Niagara Health System