CAW Local 1520 and the Ford St. Thomas Assembly Plant receives a 2010
Employer Champion Award

Local assembly plant recognized for outstanding development of school-work programs

ST. THOMAS, ON, Feb. 26 /CNW/ - Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) Local 1520 and the Ford St. Thomas Assembly Plant today received a 2010 Passport to Prosperity Employer Champion Award in recognition of their outstanding commitment to providing meaningful experiential learning programs for high school students in the community.

"By providing valuable workplace experiences to high school students, these employer champions are helping young Ontarians make some of the most important decisions in life, including setting career goals and choosing what type of postsecondary education and training to pursue," said Leona Dombrowsky, Minister of Education. "School-work partnerships are critical to boosting student achievement and helping more students graduate."

"I applaud the work of CAW Local 1520 and the Ford St. Thomas Assembly Plant for giving young people an important insight into the skills and experience essential to finding work in today's economy," said John Milloy, Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities. "Helping students learn about careers, and the education and training necessary for success, will help build the skilled workforce Ontario needs."

CAW Local 1520 and the Ford St. Thomas Assembly Plant have been supporting specialized experiential learning programs for high school students in the London District Catholic School Board for six years. They provide comprehensive health and safety training and mentorship for students in construction work experience programs, aviation technology programs and the manufacturing Specialist High Skills Major program. In 2000, this employer helped establish the Skills London Oxford Middlesex Elgin (SLOME) interactive career exploration day for students in grades five to twelve, where they now participate as an exhibitor with interactive, hands-on pneumatics displays promoting careers and skill sets in manufacturing. Since its inception, SLOME's student attendance has grown from 200 to more than 4,000.

"At CAW Local 1520 and the Ford St. Thomas Assembly Plant, we are committed to quality, environmental responsibility and to our community. The students who participate in our health and safety training program help us deliver on this commitment by working safely in their community and helping to promote safe workplaces for themselves and others," said Joel Van Bynen, Apprenticeship Coordinator, CAW Local 1520 and the Ford St. Thomas Assembly Plant. "We are extremely proud of the students who have chosen to offer us their enthusiasm, time and dedication."

The Employer Champion Award program was established by the Provincial Partnership Council (PPC) to recognize employers in communities across Ontario who demonstrate outstanding dedication and commitment in providing meaningful work experiences to local high school students. The Passport to Prosperity campaign, led by the PPC, encourages Ontario employers to provide experiential learning opportunities for high school students.

"CAW Local 1520 and the Ford St. Thomas Assembly Plant are examples of forward-thinking leaders that recognize the value of experiential learning as an effective way to recruit, train and retain young workers," said Jon Hamovitch, chair of the Provincial Partnership Council. "We applaud the dedication of their staff in helping local students develop practical work and leadership skills through dynamic assignments that best suit their educational backgrounds and learning styles."

Today more than 40,000 employers have recognized the value of opening their doors to high school students, but more are needed. Without the commitment and dedication of employers, including the Employer Champion Award winners, high school students would have limited opportunities to explore their career options and gain valuable training as they prepare for the working world.

About Passport to Prosperity

Passport to Prosperity is a provincewide initiative led by the Provincial Partnership Council (PPC) that encourages and supports Ontario employers in providing high school students with experiential learning opportunities. The PPC works closely with the Ontario Ministry of Education; the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities; and the Ontario Business Education Partnership, representing business-education councils and local training boards across the province.

To learn more about Passport to Prosperity, please visit


For further information: For further information: Cathy Kurzbock, Hill & Knowlton,, Phone: (416) 413-4755

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