News Releases

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4 Regional Employers Helping Students Succeed

Ontario Government Recognizes Employers Supporting Student Jobs, Future Careers


April 30, 2014

Employers from Hamilton, Barrie and Mississauga were recognized at the Ontario Cooperative Education Association conference for helping local students gain hands-on learning opportunities for their future careers.

The following employers have received Employer Champion Awards for providing high school students with valuable work experience, including career talks, classroom visits, co-operative education and Specialist High Skills Major placements:

Helping students succeed is part of the government's economic plan that is creating jobs for today and tomorrow. The comprehensive plan and its six priorities focus on Ontario's greatest strengths — its people and strategic partnerships.


“We're proud to acknowledge employers who have made a lasting, positive impact on the lives of many young people in their communities. By providing a wide array of meaningful workplace learning opportunities, they are helping our students develop the passion and skills they need for their future careers.”
—Liz Sandals, Minister of Education

“Our business model is one of collaboration and community partnership. Students are an integral part of the daily operations, which provides them with the opportunity to learn new skills and develop a strong work ethic — key to their future careers.”
—Coleen Rokoczy, early childhood educator, Peter Pan Co-operative Preschool

“For many of the students, whether they are in the co-op program or in a volunteer capacity, St. Joseph is their first experience in health care. We feel we have the opportunity to greatly influence and nurture them from the very beginning. Indeed, our goal is to help students realize that volunteering and co-op placements help to develop a wide range of transferable skills that employers will find very useful.”
—Susan Zidaric Seymour, director, volunteer resources, St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton

“We are proud to offer students a wide range of co-operative education learning opportunities and firsthand contact with career professionals. Youth also have the opportunity to interact with the elderly. And residents of the facility can interact with young people, in both cases enriching their lives.”
—Sheila MacDonald, co-ordinator of volunteer services, Roberta Place Long-Term Care Home

“Through our on-going training and support, we are giving students a better understanding of the scope of the job and helping them set goals for themselves within the industry. The training also ensures that they are well prepared and knowledgeable about products, salon duties, and customer service. We've had the opportunity to hire many of the students for part-time and full-time employment in various areas of the salon.”
—John Donato, owner, Donato Salon and Spa


  • An estimated 40,000 employers across the province provide high school students with valuable work-related learning opportunities through numerous activities and programs, including Ontario's Co-operative Education and Specialist High Skills Major programs.
  • Approximately 42,000 high school students are enrolled in Specialist High Skills Major programs this year, spending over 220 hours in co-operative education work placements in their sector of focus.
  • Ontario's five year graduation rate is stable at 83 per cent, which is 15 percentage points higher than the 2004 rate of 68 per cent.
  • The percentage of students graduating in four years is now 75 per cent, up from 74 per cent last year.