Experiential Learning Week launches in Ontario

Week also recognizes employers involved in school-work programs

Hoping to encourage employers to participate in school-work programs for high school students — such as co-operative education, job shadowing, mentoring, workplace tours and career fairs —Ontario has launched its first Experiential Learning Week.

Running from Nov. 22 to Nov. 26, the week was organized by the Provincial Partnership Council and its Passport to Prosperity program. The council is comprised of leaders from the private, public and non-profit sectors to work 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.

“There has never been a better time for employers to participate in school-work programs in Ontario,” said Ontario Minister of Education Leona Dombrowsky. “When it comes to preparing our next generation for success, it is time to think beyond the classroom.”

About 40,000 employers across Ontario are participating in experiential learning programs for high school students and throughout the week special events and activities are being held to raise awareness of the valuable experiences school-work partnerships offer for students, employers and communities.

The week is also recognizing the contributions of employers that participate in school-work programs. Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto was honoured with a 2010 Passport to Prosperity Employer Champion Award, recognizing the hospital’s impressive student programs. The centre partners with the Toronto District School Board to welcome 60 to 80 secondary school students each year through placements in a wide range of areas. For students in the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program, Sunnybrook offers placements in trade positions such as carpentry, plumbing and electrical. In addition, Sunnybrook hosts an annual Healthcare Career Fair for students.

“We gain so much from having students on-site at Sunnybrook and the opportunity to develop our future workforce. Our staff, patients and residents benefit from the energy, enthusiasm and innovation that young people bring to the job,” said Barry McLellan, president and CEO of Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre.

The Provincial Partnership Council also launched the Passport to Prosperity Ontario Employer designation to recognize outstanding employers that provide large numbers of experiential learning opportunities to students across the province. The inaugural recipients of the designation are the Ottawa Police, RONA, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Westmont Hospitality Group, Clarion Nursing Home and the Ministry of Natural Resources Junior Ranger Program.

“The Passport to Prosperity Ontario Employer designation distinguishes an elite group of employers that are supporting the futures of young people across the province, and for which their communities, industry sectors and employees should be proud,” said Jon Hamovitch, chair of the Provincial Partnership Council.

Latest stories