McGuinty Government Helps Students Return to School and Graduate

    Continues to Create More Opportunities for Youth to Succeed

    TORONTO, June 18 /CNW/ - The Ontario government congratulates 53 students
who are graduating from the Ontario Public Service (OPS) Learn and Work
Program, Government Services Minister Gerry Phillips, joined by Education
Minister Kathleen Wynne, announced today.
    "This is a positive, innovative approach to helping these young people
stay in school, complete their education and gain real-life work experience,"
said Phillips. "I'm proud of the program's growth, we want to give more
students the chance to succeed and I look forward to many more successful
years to come."
    The OPS Learn and Work Program is designed for youth between the ages of
16 and 19 from priority communities. The program was piloted in February 2006,
and has grown from a one-semester program helping 20 students, to a one-year
program helping students in four locations across the province. Upon
completion of the program, participants will have had the opportunity to earn
academic credits toward their high school diploma and obtain up to 27 weeks of
meaningful work experience, consisting of one co-op placement per semester in
the Ontario Public Service and its Agencies.
    "This is another example of how our government is transforming the high
school experience to reach every student," said Wynne. "Over the past two
years, 12,000 more high school students graduated because they were able to
customize their education with more relevant learning opportunities that match
their skills, goals and interests."

    The current program is being delivered at:
    -   Lester B. Pearson Collegiate Institute in Scarborough
    -   Father Henry Carr Catholic Secondary School in northwest Toronto
    -   J.L. Forster Secondary School in Windsor
    -   St. Pius X Catholic Secondary School in Ottawa.

    The ministers attended a student success forum today at the Ontario
Science Centre with students from the two participating Toronto-area schools.
    "Our government believes youth in Ontario can overcome their challenges
with the right opportunities and supports," said Minister of Children and
Youth Services Mary Anne Chambers. "The OPS Learn and Work Program helps young
people realize their full potential and increase their chances for personal
    The OPS Learn and Work Program is part of the $28.5-million Youth
Opportunities Strategy, a broad plan to help young people faced with
significant challenges achieve individual success and promote stronger and
safer communities.
    This is one of the many steps the McGuinty government has taken to
support students and young people in this province. Other initiatives include:

    -   A $1.3 billion Student Success Strategy that is providing more
        students with new programs and to help them customize their education
        to match their own skills and interests
    -   Creating 1,000 skilled trades training spaces
    -   Bringing back grants for students who need help the most: 60,000
        students will get grants this coming year
    -   Doubling student aid so families can afford higher education
    -   Introducing an anti-bullying strategy and school safety audits

    Disponible en français

For further information:

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

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