Rio Tinto Alcan supports stay-in-school initiatives with $13 million for Pathways to Education

MONTREAL, Feb. 18 /CNW Telbec/ - Rio Tinto Alcan will contribute $13 million over five years to Pathways to Education to help implement and manage stay-in-school programmes in the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, Mauricie, and Montreal region.

Pathways to Education will use these funds to create a regional headquarters in Quebec and support stay-in-school initiatives in Montreal and other selected regions where the dropout rate is particularly high. Application terms have not been determined but will be announced in the near future. 

"This partnership represents a major investment in our young people. I am confident that it will produce outstanding results to benefit all of Quebec," said Jacynthe Côté, chief executive, Rio Tinto Alcan during Hooked on School Days, an event held in Montreal for the first time this year and organised by Montreal Hooked on School

"We undertook a rigorous consultation process with the Ministry of Education, experts in this field, and several other agencies to determine the needs and identify the most effective solutions to the school dropout problem," Ms. Côté said. "We then decided to create a strategic alliance with Pathways to Education, an organisation that has proven its success, to continue its exceptional work in Quebec."

Pathways to Education was created to reduce poverty and its effects by lowering high school dropout rates and increasing access to post-secondary education among disadvantaged youth from at-risk areas. Originally implemented in 2001, their effective model has helped reduce dropout rates by 70 per cent. Pathways to Education's achieved extraordinary results, and the programme can be adapted to other communities with equal success. The group has operated in Quebec for several years via the Toujours Ensemble organisation in Verdun.

"This investment reflects Rio Tinto Alcan's bold leadership in addressing a critical issue affecting Quebec and our country," said David Hughes, president and chief executive officer, Pathways to Education Canada. "This is a clear response to Pathways' call-to-action to build a 'Graduation Nation', where all youth have an equal opportunity to complete high school and realise their full potential."

This agreement follows a decision by Rio Tinto Alcan Canada Fund's Board of Trustees to allocate close to $15 million over five years for a new programme called Keeping Youth in School Together. Rio Tinto Alcan has announced various initiatives since early 2010 to lay the groundwork for the new programme and provide a glimpse of the positive results to come.

This latest investment will significantly increase the programme's impact by capitalising on the resources of an organisation with a proven track record with stay-in-school initiatives. A study by the Boston Consulting Group has shown that every dollar invested in Pathways to Education creates a return of $24 to society and a cumulative lifetime benefit of $600,000 to society for each student enrolled in the programme.

About Rio Tinto

Rio Tinto is a leading international mining group headquartered in the UK, combining Rio Tinto plc, a London and NYSE listed company, and Rio Tinto Limited, which is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange.

Rio Tinto's business is finding, mining, and processing mineral resources. Major products are aluminium, copper, diamonds, energy (coal and uranium), gold, industrial minerals (borax, titanium dioxide, salt, talc) and iron ore. Activities span the world but are strongly represented in Australia and North America with significant businesses in South America, Asia, Europe and southern Africa.



For further information:

Rio Tinto Alcan Media Relations
Bryan Tucker
Tel.: +1 514 848 8151



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