McGuinty Government Helps Students Stay In School

Archived Release

McGuinty Government Helps Students Stay In School

Ministry of Consumer Services

Creating More Opportunities For Youth To Succeed TORONTO, Jan. 16 - The Ontario government is giving youth who left high school without a diploma a chance at success by expanding the OPS Learn and Work Pilot Program, Government Services Minister Gerry Phillips announced today. "Our government is committed to providing the youth of this province with every opportunity possible for success in the future," said Phillips. "The OPS Learn and Work Program offers a positive, innovative approach to helping young people stay in school, complete their education and gain real-life work experience." The expanded OPS Learn and Work Program is designed for youth between the ages of 16 and 19 who have left high school without a diploma. Upon completion of the program, participants will have earned up to 10 academic credits toward their high school diploma and up to 27 weeks of meaningful work experience in the Ontario Public Service and its Crown agencies. Mary Anne Chambers, Minister of Children and Youth Services, and Kathleen Wynne, Minister of Education, joined Phillips for today's announcement at Centennial College in Toronto, where successful participants from the initial pilot are now completing their education in a similar program run by the Ministry of Education. "Our government believes that young people can deal with their challenges and achieve personal success, with the right supports," said Chambers. "By working with our many partners to provide these young people with valuable learning opportunities along with work experience, this program is offering youth another chance to find success and achieve their full potential." "This is another example of how our government is transforming the high school experience to reach every student," said Wynne. "Ontario's graduation rate will continue to rise because students can customize their education with more relevant learning opportunities that match their skills, goals and interests." The initial pilot was an 18-week program at Lester B. Pearson Collegiate Institute in Scarborough's Malvern community, with participants earning up to five credits toward their high school diploma. The expanded program is being delivered at: - Lester B. Pearson Collegiate Institute in Scarborough - Father Henry Carr Catholic Secondary School in the northwest area of Toronto - JL Forster Secondary School in Windsor and - St. Pius X Catholic Secondary School in Ottawa. The OPS Learn and Work Program is part of the McGuinty government's $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 just one example of what the government has done 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 support 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. "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. "When I saw how successful the pilot program was, I knew we had to open up this opportunity for more students." Disponible en français www.mgs.gov.on.ca Backgrounder ------------------------------------------------------------------------- OPS LEARN AND WORK PROGRAM The OPS Learn and Work Program gives youth ages 16 to 19 who have left high school without a diploma the opportunity to earn up to 10 credits and gain up to 27 weeks of paid work experience in the OPS and its related agencies. The program contributes to the following government priorities: - Increasing the high school graduation rate to 85 per cent by 2010 from 71 per cent as of 2005 by helping more students succeed, through increased learning choices and customized programs. - Providing a coordinated approach to preventing youth violence by providing new and positive learning and work opportunities for youth. - Promoting the OPS as an employment opportunity. Work placements for the program include more than 10 government ministries and related agencies, the Ontario Rental Housing Tribunal and the Ontario Science Centre. The Toronto District School Board, the Toronto Catholic District School Board, the Greater Essex County District School Board and the Ottawa-Carleton Catholic District School Board are important partners in this program, providing necessary resources and support. In September 2006, with the ability to accommodate up to 20 students at each facility, the OPS Learn and Work Program expanded beyond Lester B. Pearson Collegiate Institute in Scarborough to also include: - Father Henry Carr Catholic Secondary School in the northwest area of Toronto - JL Forster Secondary School in Windsor and - St Pius X Catholic Secondary School in Ottawa. This is just one example of the government's Student Success Strategy to ensure all Ontario students have the opportunity to reach their full potential and continue learning until the age of 18 or graduation. Other initiatives include: - Special credit recovery classes to help students complete credits without repeating the entire course - 1,600 new or reassigned high school teachers, including 800 Student Success teachers, dedicated to helping struggling students. These teachers work with students to track their progress, help students catch up on missing credits and support the development of better programs and services - Adding the new Specialist High-Skills Major to the Ontario Secondary School Diploma to allow more students to customize their education - Expanding cooperative education programs through increased partnerships with business and community organizations. Disponible en français www.mgs.gov.on.ca Contact Info For further information: Paul de Zara, Minister's Office, (416) 327-3072; Ciaran Ganley, Communications Branch, (416) 325-8659 HELP | CONTACT US | PRIVACY | IMPORTANT NOTICES © Queen's Printer for Ontario, 2008-2009 — Last Modified: February 15, 2009 For further information: Paul de Zara, Minister's Office, (416) 327-3072; Ciaran Ganley, Communications Branch, (416) 325-8659