Staying in school: business people meet with Secondary III, IV, and V

MONTREAL, March 29 /CNW Telbec/ - The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal is proud to be launching the 14th edition of Operation Back to School. This initiative will allow Secondary III, IV, and V students to meet with business people from various sectors of activity that care deeply about student retention and scholastic success. Since 1997, over 2,500 businessmen and businesswomen have gone "back to school" to share their experience and passion with over 100,000 high school students, encouraging them to continue with their studies.

"This year, the business community seems more ready than ever to play an important role in encouraging student retention. We are noticing a ripple effect and increased mobilization on the part of the milieu, notably following the appearance of the Ménard report in March 2009, and of various initiatives by the business community-such as that made by Rio Tinto Alcan. The Board of Trade has pursued its student retention efforts for close to 15 years now because it continues to be a relevant issue, as is evidenced by the dropout rate of over 30% in the metropolitan region," declared Michel Leblanc, President and CEO of the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal.

The speakers taking part in Operation Back to School will visit students in their classrooms and talk to them about various perspectives of the job market, key skills to develop, and the sectors of the future. They will also discuss their own personal experience. "More than just a simple series of talks, the Operation Back to School program provides an opportunity for discussion between business people and youth, helping students to discover their passions and follow their dreams. The program encourages exceeding one's limits and places a value on success, in addition to making business people aware of the difficulties young people experience, and the realities and challenges they come up against," added Michel Leblanc.

"More than ever, the city's economic vitality and prosperity depends on our collective ability to keep our young people in the classroom until they receive a diploma. The success of our businesses is closely linked to the availability of a qualified work force to replace the baby boomer generation. Operation Back to School allows professionals and business people to make a concrete effort to encourage student retention and success," concluded Michel Leblanc.

The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal is made up of some 7,000 members. Its mission is to represent the interests of the business community of Greater Montreal and to provide individuals, merchants, and local businesses of all sizes with a variety of specialized services to help them achieve their full potential in terms of innovation, productivity, and competitiveness. The Board of Trade is Quebec's leading private economic development organization.

SOURCE Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal

For further information: For further information: Sylvie Paquette, Coordinator, Media Relations, Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal, (514) 871-4000, ext. 4015,

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