For more than a decade, the Elgin, Middlesex, Oxford Workforce Planning and Development Board delivered the Passport to Prosperity campaign, supported by the Ministry of Education. The campaign has supported educators and employers in developing experiential learning opportunities for high school students across the province. The program provided communities with the tools and resources to respond to their local workforce development needs and contribute to the growth of the local economy. Today, more than 40,000 employers across Ontario have recognized the value of incorporating student programs into their human resources strategies.
The Passport to Prosperity program has come to an end due to the challenging economic climate and the elimination across the province of Ministry of Education funding for this program. We would like to share with you the many successes of the program’s mission: to ensure that every employer in Ontario sees the value of connecting to the future workforce by engaging high school students in meaningful work experiences and essential skills training. The same opportunities help students explore career options and develop essential and citizenship skills. The work experience is an opportunity for students to see how their in-school learning is applied in the workplace. It also assists students to make a successful transition into the labour market.
Experiential learning programs provide employers with an early opportunity to engage Ontario's future workers, expose them to career options in industries they may not have known about or considered and help them acquire the specific workplace skills and experience businesses seek.
Local Passport to Prosperity facts:
· increased employer participation in experiential learning programs; such as workplace tours, job shadowing, mentoring, cooperative education, school-work transitions, and the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program through the network built in the community including local chambers, associations and economic development offices
· Employers actively involved with providing experiential opportunities – 245, a 28% increase from April 1, 2011 (ER is an online community connecting employers and educators to engage students in learning experiences outside the classroom) an increase of 78% from April 1, 2011
· 297 educators on the ER an increase of 47% from April 1, 2011
· Built relationships with the Curriculum Coordinators, Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) Project Leaders, Learning Coordinators, Student Success, Careers and Guidance Counselors, resulting in an increase on requests to support new SHSM programs, workshops and career fairs
· Collaborations with the London Region Manufacturing Council, Excellence in Manufacturing Consortium (EMC) and the Business Education Network on promotion of the types of careers in Manufacturing today through the Manufacturing Open Doors Tours – 5 plants, 50 attendees –Guidance Counsellors, co-op teachers and employment service providers
· Planning and coordination of SLOME Science, Technology and Trades Interactive Career Exploration Day to over 25,000 students since 2000 www.slome.org
· Planning and coordination of Oxford Invitational Youth Robotics Challenge, encourages youth to consider careers in engineering, technology or the skilled trades - over 380 youth participated since 2005 from Elgin, Middlesex and Oxford Counties and the City of London www.oxfordroboticschallenge.ca
· Nominated 6 Employer Champions for their commitment to providing experiential learning opportunities to Ontario’s high school students in 2010 – 2012. All of the nominees received the designation: CAW Local 1520 and the Ford St. Thomas Assembly Plant, London Home Builders’ Association, Steelway Building Systems, 105.7 myFM Strathroy-Caradoc, Marwood Metal Fabrication Limited and London Police Service
· Nominated Rona for new Employer Designation – presented during 2011 Experiential Learning week by the Minister of Education Leona Dembrosky· Coordinated 18 guest speakers for 4 days of SHSM Regional Sector Meetings to 150 educators from South Western Ontario
“I thought Kathryn did an excellent job in coordinating the employer/expert panel at the London area regional meetings. I had the opportunity to be there both yesterday for the SHSM Construction meeting and last week for the SHSM – ICT meeting and it was obvious to me the good work that Kathryn contributes the success of SHSM programs in her region."
Aldo Cianfrini, Education Officer, Ministry of Education
Thank you to all of the businesses, organizations, community members and educators who have worked with us on Passport to Prosperity.
Thank you to the Passport to Prosperity Coordinators who have worked with us over the years to achieve success under this project: Laura Sherrett, Martin Withenshaw and for the last five years, Kathryn Tull. The local accomplishments of this project have been due to your leadership and vision.