QUÉBEC'S AEROSPACE SECTOR HONORS ITS COMMITMENT TO SCHOOL RETENTION - Hundreds of elementary school students introduced to the airplane manufacturing process

LONGUEUIL, QC, Jan. 12 /CNW Telbec/ - Aéro Montréal, Québec's Aerospace Cluster, today reaffirmed its commitment to school retention and unveiled a series of scientific presentations in elementary schools called "The sky is the limit!". The presentations aim to demystify the aerospace world and promote rewarding careers in the sector among Grade 5 and 6 students attending schools in the Greater Longueuil region.

"The aerospace industry recognizes that the cause of school retention is a social responsibility shared by all players in society," said Hélène Séguinotte, a member of Aéro Montréal's executive committee and President and CEO of Morpho Canada, a SAFRAN Group company. "Driven by the desire to continue contributing to the well-being of the Québec population, Québec's aerospace cluster has taken action and launched a tour of "The sky is the limit!" scientific presentations."

"To help young people build their dreams and to promote certain professional career options, the aerospace industry has decided to begin intervening as early as elementary school," added Suzanne M. Benoît, CEO of Aéro Montréal. "Through an educational activity that is fun and geared to the elementary school level, the initiative is helping to raise awareness about science and technology careers among young people. At the same time, it is introducing them to experts from aerospace companies who are true role models for the younger generation."

This innovative initiative has been launched in association with the Conseil du Loisir Scientifique de la région Métropolitaine (CLSM) and the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Foundation Canada, with financial support from the Conférence régionale des élus de l'agglomération de Longueuil (CRÉ) and the participation of aerospace giant Pratt & Whitney Canada. It allows young people to put themselves in the shoes of an aerospace engineer during interactive sessions held in the classroom.

Working in teams, these budding engineers compete to build gliders in accordance with certain laws of physics related, among others, to aerodynamics, concepts that are inherent to the construction of an aircraft. Technicians and engineers from Pratt & Whitney Canada also participate in the classroom activities and share their career experiences with the students.

"Thousands of new skilled workers will be needed in the coming years to meet the needs of the industry," noted Benoît Brossoit, Senior Vice President, Global Operations, Pratt & Whitney Canada. "If we want the Greater Montréal region to remain a world leader in terms of concentration of aerospace jobs, we need to start preparing the groundwork for a competent succession today. This initiative is proving to be extremely stimulating and productive and Pratt & Whitney Canada is proud to be associated with it."

This tour of scientific presentations in elementary schools began as a pilot project last fall in the Greater Longueuil region and plans are underway to extend it to other locations in Greater Montréal.

In Longueuil, schools were selected to allow the greatest number of municipalities to participate in the "The sky is the limit!" project. To date, more than a dozen elementary schools in Longueuil, Saint-Lambert, Saint-Bruno-de-Montarville, Brossard, Saint-Hubert and Greenfield Park, representing a variety of socio-economic communities, have participated in the program.

Upon completion of this pilot project, nearly 750 young people from Grades 5 and 6 in the South Shore will have taken part in the interactive scientific sessions.

"The next generation is at the heart of the activities of the CRÉ from the agglomeration of Longueuil," explains Monique Brisson, President of the CRÉ. "As the main financial partner, we are pleased to fund a project that creates links between the business community and the school environment, illustrating the CRÉ's role in our agglomeration. We firmly believe that through joint mobilization and through the participation of several partners that we will contribute to the development of the agglomeration of Longueuil."

"As mayor and chairperson of the agglomeration of Longueuil, I am delighted that this initiative has taken off in our community," said Caroline St-Hilaire, Mayor of Longueuil. "Not only is this tour of scientific presentations a good example of cooperation among regional stakeholders, but it is unquestionably contributing to the promotion of stimulating careers among our young people."

The initiative is a project of Aéro Montréal's Human Resources Working Group and demonstrates how industrial members of the aerospace cluster are supporting the issue of school retention and academic success among youth. This was confirmed in 2008 with the signature of collaboration agreements with regional organizations that are working actively with school boards in Greater Montréal.

Aéro Montréal's Human Resources Working Group is composed of representatives from the aerospace industry, mainly human resources policy makers, as well as senior managers from educational institutions and the Centre for Aerospace Manpower Activities in Quebec (CAMAQ).

The Human Resources Working Group is responsible for the planning, coordination and implementation of a concerted action plan to address the major issues of aerospace succession and human resources and, ultimately, for increasing the industry's competitiveness.

About Aéro Montréal

Aéro Montréal, Québec's aerospace cluster, is a strategic think tank that brings together all the major decision makers in Québec's aerospace sector, including companies, educational and research institutions, associations and unions.

Aéro Montréal's mission is to mobilize industry players around common goals and focused actions to increase cohesion and optimize competitiveness. By fostering the growth and expansion of the aerospace cluster, it intends to make this industry an increasingly important source of wealth creation for the Montréal region, Québec and Canada.

SOURCE Conférence régionale des élus de Longueuil

For further information: Isabelle Fontaine, Tel.: (514) 843-2331, Cell.: (514) 473-7742; Source: Amélie Hudon, Aéro Montréal, Tel.: 514 987-9334

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Conférence régionale des élus de Longueuil

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