Ontario Employers Recognized for Providing Outstanding School-Work Programs to High School Students

    TORONTO, April 26 /CNW/ - Four Ontario employers were honoured today with
the Passport to Prosperity Employer Champion Award. The award is presented to
employers who offer outstanding school-work opportunities to high school
students. School-work programs include career talks, worksite visits, job
shadowing, the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program, school-work transition
programs and cooperative education placements. Recipients were presented with
their awards at the Passport to Prosperity Employer Resource Forum held today
in Toronto.

    The four Employer Champion Award recipients are:
    -   Brampton Fire and Emergency Services, Brampton
    -   The Expositor, Brantford
    -   Frontenac Animal Hospital, Kingston
    -   The Holiday Inn, Cambridge

    Five Merit Award winners were also recognized:
    -   The Guelph Holiday Inn, Guelph
    -   Niagara Region Public Health Department, Thorold
    -   Ross Video Limited, Iroquois
    -   Sobeys Ajax, Ajax
    -   St. Mary's General Hospital, Kitchener

    As changing demographics place increased strain on the supply of skilled
resources, school-work programs can help build the talent pool. Employers can
help the next generation of employees make the transition into the labour
market. They guide students in developing essential skills, while giving
existing employees the opportunity to improve their own skills in
communication, team work and management. School-work programs offer employers
a cost-effective solution to recruiting, training and retaining younger
    "These employers realize the value of school-work programs as attraction,
recruitment and retention tools," said Ian Cunningham, Provincial Partnership
Council. "They are forward- thinking leaders in their sector and community."
    "There are more than 700,000 high school students in Ontario, all
potentially in need of an experiential learning opportunity," Cunningham
continued. "The award winning programs that our champions have put together
are changing the lives of students in this province."
    There are 26,000 employers in Ontario participating in school-work
programs and activities through Passport to Prosperity, but more are needed.
Without the commitment and dedication of employers, such as the Employer
Champion Award winners, high school students would not have the opportunity to
explore career options and gain valuable training and work experience.

    Passport to Prosperity is an Ontario-wide, employer-led initiative to
increase employer participation in school-work programs, such as cooperative
education, job shadowing, mentoring, the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program,
classroom talks, career fairs and workplace visits. The campaign is sponsored
by the Provincial Partnership Council (PPC), a volunteer advisory committee of
leaders from the private, public, and voluntary sectors. The PPC's goal is to
ensure that every employer in Ontario sees the value of engaging high school
students in meaningful work experiences. Passport to Prosperity encourages
employers to engage young people in school-work opportunities while they're
still in high school, as a cost-effective solution to recruiting, training and
retaining young workers. School-work programs also help students explore
career options and develop workplace skills and experience. The campaign is
supported by the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Training, Colleges
and Universities and is implemented in local communities by business-education
councils and local training boards.
    To find out more about offering high school students work experience
opportunities, call 1-888-672-7996 or visit www.obep.on.ca.

    /NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available on
    the CNW Photo Network and archived at http://photos.newswire.ca.
    Additional archived images are also available on the CNW Photo Archive
    website at http://photos.newswire.ca. Images are free to accredited
    members of the media/

For further information:

For further information: Gloria Hong, at (416) 598-5770, or by email at

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