Co-op Program Provides Youth With Future Opportunities



    McGuinty Government Helps Youth Get Back On Track

    TORONTO, June 19 /CNW/ -

    NEWS

    After a challenging and rewarding 21-week period, 32 students are
receiving their high school diplomas today thanks to an Ontario Public Service
(OPS) education program.
    Taniya Thompson is one student success story. The Toronto teenager quit
school for a year but didn't want to give up on her future. The OPS Learn and
Work Program gave her the opportunity to get back on track.
    The program helps young people aged 16-19 who want to complete their high
school education and gain valuable co-op work experience through the OPS and
its agencies. Over a 21-week period, students have the opportunity to work in
two paid co-op work terms in government ministries and related community
agencies. Students are enrolled in high school co-op programs with the
opportunity to earn up to nine credits including a summer co-op opportunity.
    The OPS Learn and Work Program is currently available in four schools in
Toronto, Ottawa and Windsor. The program is planning to expand to Hamilton and
Thunder Bay in February 2009.

    QUOTES

    "Taniya Thompson is living proof of the resounding success of the OPS
Learn and Work Program, and I'm pleased we're giving even more young people
like her the chance to succeed," said Ted McMeekin, Minister of Government and
Consumer Services (http://www.gov.on.ca/MGS/en/Home/STEL01_039054.html).

    "It was a wonderful opportunity and a valuable experience. I'm sure many
other young people would also benefit from this terrific program," said Taniya
Thompson, 2008 OPS Learn and Work Program participant.

    "We know that students who have the right opportunities and support to
overcome challenges will acquire the skills needed for success in school and
in life," said Kathleen Wynne, Minister of Education
(http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/).

    "The OPS Learn and Work Program helps young people realize their
potential. Expanding opportunities for our children and youth, especially
those from high-needs neighbourhoods, is the key to helping Ontario grow
stronger for years to come," said Deb Matthews, Minister of Children and Youth
Services (http://www.gov.on.ca/children/english/index.html).

    
    QUICK FACTS

    -   Since 2006, the OPS program has averaged an 80 per cent student
        completion rate.
    -   Students give Learn and Work a 93 per cent satisfaction rate.
    -   Students who leave school early are more likely to be unemployed and
        earn less money.

    LEARN MORE

    Check out other Ontario government job programs
    (http://www.gojobs.gov.on.ca/Internships) for young people.

    Youthconnect.ca is a one-stop source to useful information and government
    services for youth.

    Find out more about the government's Student Success Strategy
    (http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/teachers/studentsuccess/strategy.html).

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                                                  ontario.ca/government-news
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    BACKGROUNDER
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                         OPS LEARN AND WORK PROGRAM
    

    The OPS Learn and Work Program re-engages youth ages 16 to 19 from
priority communities by offering them meaningful cooperative education work
experiences in the Ontario government and its related agencies. For the 2007-
2008 school year, the program provided approximately 90 students with at least
one paid co-op placement.
    Piloted in February 2006, this multi-partnership program is led by the
Ministry of Government and Consumer Services with the Ministries of Education
and Children and Youth Services. The Toronto District School Board, the
Toronto Catholic District School Board, the Greater Essex County District
School Board and the Ottawa Catholic District School Board and their students
are important partners in this program.
    The program will be expanded to Hamilton and Thunder Bay in February
2009. The current program is being delivered at the following schools for up
to 80 students:

    - Sir Sandford Fleming Academy in Lawrence Heights, Toronto
    - Monsignor Fraser College in Jane/Finch, Toronto
    - J.L. Forster Secondary School, Windsor
    - St. Pius X High School, Ottawa.

    The OPS Learn and Work Program is just one example of the government's
Student Success Strategy
(http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/teachers/studentsuccess/strategy.html) to ensure
all Ontario students have the opportunity to reach their full potential and
continue learning until the age of 18 or graduation.

    WHO IS ELIGIBLE TO PARTICIPATE?

    To be eligible to participate, students must live in one of the priority
communities identified by the 2005 United Way of Greater Toronto/City of
Toronto Strong Neighbourhoods Task Force or in a Ministry of Children and
Youth Services priority community across Ontario (GTA, Windsor, Ottawa,
Hamilton and Thunder Bay).

    HOW ARE STUDENTS IDENTIFIED?

    Students from schools located in the hub-school community are identified
by principals and interviewed by the OPS Learn and Work teacher. Ontario
Public Service interviews confirm student placements.

    WHAT KIND OF JOBS CAN STUDENTS EXPECT?

    They work in a variety of positions including:
    - Administrative assistant
    - Emergency management program assistant
    - Events assistant
    - Legal assistant
    - Customer service clerk
    - Mailroom clerk
    - Family resource worker assistant.

    WHERE DO THE CO-OP PLACEMENTS TAKE PLACE?

    Student co-operative education placements for the program include more
than 20 government ministries and related agencies including the Ontario
Science Centre, New Beginnings, the Western Ottawa Community Resource Centre,
Harmony In Action, St. Mary's Home and Minwaashin Lodge, Aboriginal Women's
Support Centre.

    
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                                                  ontario.ca/government-news
                                                      Disponible en français
    





For further information:

For further information: Greg Dennis, Minister's Office, (416) 327-3072;
Ciaran Ganley, Communications Branch, (416) 325-8659

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