Helping Kitchener Students Stay In School And Achieve Success

    McGuinty Government Investing In Pathways To Education

    KITCHENER, ON, Nov. 19 /CNW/ - Students in Kitchener will benefit from
the McGuinty government's investment of $19 million over four years to expand
the successful Pathways to Education program to communities across Ontario,
John Milloy, Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, announced today.
    "The keystone of our government's strategy is to invest in the skills and
potential of our people," Milloy said. "Pathways to Education has a proven
track record in Toronto and I want to make certain students in Kitchener have
the same opportunity to succeed."
    Pathways to Education Canada is a charitable foundation that helps reduce
poverty by lowering the dropout rate and increasing access to postsecondary
education and training among young people from at-risk neighbourhoods. The
program was developed by the Regent Park Community Health Centre in Toronto in
2001. Since September, it is being offered in Kitchener by the Catholic Family
Counselling Centre.
    Pathways has developed a comprehensive approach to addressing the needs
of youth from at-risk communities, comprising academic tutoring, social
support through mentoring, financial support and bursary funds for
postsecondary educational costs, and advocacy support through student/parent
support workers. In Kitchener, Pathways is helping students from the Chandler-
Mowat and Kingsdale-Vanier neighbourhoods.
    The McGuinty government is committing $19 million over four years, in
addition to a $10 million donation from the United Way of Greater Toronto, to
expand the program to Kitchener, Ottawa and the Lawrence Heights and
Rexdale/Jamestown neighbourhoods in Toronto.
    "Our government is helping more young people to stay in school. This
investment will directly help more students graduate from high school and
continue on to university, college and apprenticeship placements," said
Leeanna Pendergast, MPP Kitchener-Conestoga. "We believe in working together
to support every one of our students to be their very best, to become
contributing members of society, and to realize their dreams."
    "Pathways has tremendous potential to improve the lives of youth across
Ontario and we are proud to be part of that change," said Cathy Brothers,
executive director of the Catholic Family Counselling Centre. "I'm delighted
that our centre has the opportunity to host and develop this exciting program
in Kitchener. We feel honoured to work with so many wonderful students and
their families to help ensure more young people have opportunities to pursue
postsecondary education and training."
    "The McGuinty government is proud to help teenagers stay in school as
well as provide access to quality postsecondary education and training," said

    Disponible en français



                           OF HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS

    The McGuinty government is investing $19 million over the next four years
in Pathways to Education. This investment, together with a $10-million
contribution by the United Way of Greater Toronto, will help Pathways expand
its operations to students in Rexdale/Jamestown and Lawrence Heights in
Toronto, and in Ottawa and Kitchener.
    Between 2004-05 and 2006-07, the Ministry of Education and the Ministry
of Training, Colleges and Universities have invested nearly $2.6 million in

    The success of Pathways to Education can be seen in Toronto's Regent Park
neighbourhood, where there has been:
    -  A reduction in dropout rates to 14 per cent from 56 per cent
    -  A 65 per cent reduction in school absenteeism
    -  An increase in high school graduation rates to 75 per cent from
       42 per cent; 80 per cent of these students go on to postsecondary
       education and training - a four-fold increase from the time before
       Pathways began operating in the neighbourhood.

    Further, a July 2007 review of Pathways in Regent Park identified other
associated benefits: a decrease in teen pregnancies, a decrease in the smoking
rate, and an increase in the general health of community members.
    Of those students going on to postsecondary education and training as a
result of Pathways in Regent Park, 90 per cent are First Generation students.
First generation students are those whose parents did not participate in
postsecondary studies. Youth whose parents do not have a postsecondary
education are 2.4 times less likely to attend college or university.
    Today's investment builds on the work of the government's historic
$6.2-billion Reaching Higher plan and student success strategy.
    The McGuinty government has set an ambitious high school graduation rate
target of 85 per cent for 2010-11 - a significant increase from 68 per cent in
2003-04. To reach every student, more teachers have been hired and more
learning opportunities have been created. The result has been a rising
graduation rate that is on track to achieve the government's target. When it
is achieved, 20,000 more students will graduate each year from provincial high
schools. The realities of not completing high school are harsh: dropping out
doubles the chance of being unemployed and needing social assistance.
    In Ontario today, 40 per cent of 18-24 year olds participate in
postsecondary education or training, compared to 35 per cent in 2002-03. The
province also has one of the highest postsecondary graduate rates in the G-8
with 54.6 per cent of Ontarians aged 25 and older having completed
postsecondary education or training.

    Miriam Griffin
    Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities

    Disponible en français


For further information:

For further information: Karen Edwards, Minister's Office, (416)
314-0268; Miriam Griffin, Communications Branch, Ministry of Training,
Colleges and Universities, (416) 325-7526; Public Inquiries: (416) 325-2929 or
1-800-387-5514, TTY: 1-800-263-2892

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