Passport to Prosperity announces recipients of 2009 Employer Champion Awards

    Leading local organizations recognized for outstanding development of
    school-work programs

    TORONTO, April 28 /CNW/ - Five Ontario employers were presented the 2009
Passport to Prosperity Employer Champion Award in recognition of their
outstanding commitment to providing meaningful work experiences for high
school students in their communities. These opportunities, which include
career talks, worksite visits, job shadowing and cooperative education
placements, aim to help prepare students for the critical transition from the
classroom to the workforce.

    This year's five Employer Champion Award recipients are:

    -   Rogers TV (Kitchener)
    -   RONA Home & Garden (Nepean)
    -   Venere Salon & Spa (Oakville)
    -   The City of Thunder Bay
    -   Aero-safe Technologies (Fort Erie)

    "By providing valuable workplace experiences to high school students,
these employers 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 Minister of Education
Kathleen Wynne. "School-work partnerships are critical to boosting student
achievement and helping more kids graduate."
    "These employer champions are forward-thinking leaders in their sector
and communities who recognize the value of experiential learning as a
cost-effective way to recruit, train and retain young workers," said Tom
Flanagan, co-chair of the Provincial Partnership Council. "They have shown
tremendous dedication to helping local students gain essential work and
leadership skills, all while providing existing employees with opportunities
to enhance their own skills in communication, team work and management."
    The award recipients were honoured at the Passport to Prosperity Employer
Forum and Champion Awards Ceremony. The event, which was held at the Westin
Harbour Castle in Toronto on April 28, also celebrated the tenth anniversary
of the Passport to Prosperity initiative.
    "There are more than 700,000 high school students in Ontario, all
potentially in need of an experiential learning opportunity," said Jon
Hamovitch, co-chair of the Provincial Partnership Council. "The award-winning
programs that our champions have put in place are providing these
opportunities to students through dynamic, flexible assignments that best suit
their educational backgrounds and learning styles."
    Today, there are 26,000 employers in Ontario participating in
experiential learning programs, 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

    Now celebrating its tenth year, Passport to Prosperity is a province-wide
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: or to obtain b-roll footage of the winners and
student testimonials, please contact: Melita Vega, Hill & Knowlton,, Phone: (416) 413-4743; Martine Mangion, Hill &
Knowlton,, Phone: (416) 413-4772

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