Pathways to Employment graduates on their way to fulfilling dreams

Category: Community

For Rebecca Fleming, graduating from the Pathways to Employment program in Brockville will bring her dream of becoming a Landscape Architect to life. She and 27 other students will be celebrating their graduation on March 25. The graduation ceremony will be held at 10 am in the Marianne van Silfhout Gallery at St. Lawrence College, Brockville. Joining them in their celebration will be Member of Parliament for Leeds Grenville, Gord Brown.

“When I started the program, I was 18 years old, without a high school diploma and minimal work experience. I didn’t have my driver’s license and college seemed very unlikely in the near future,” Rebecca said. “The program really motivated me. I have acquired my driver’s license and I will graduate from high school, and I’ve been accepted to two colleges of my choice for the fall 2011!”

Pathways to Employment provides three weeks of classroom instruction to teach employability skills: work ethics; interview skills; career exploration; resume writing and to obtain certification in WHMIS, Basic First Aid; and Service Excellence, while earning minimum wage. The program also includes a 20 week work placement whereby participants are encouraged to pursue their “dream job”. They were given the opportunity to work in various fields, including funeral directing, interior design, computer graphics, secretarial work, auto mechanic, retail sales and in a dental hygienist office. The program ran simultaneously in Cornwall, Kingston and Brockville.

“During my placement I learned carpentry skills and how to be a responsible employee,” said Rob Simey. “I also developed stronger work ethics, and hope to becoming a licensed carpenter, and pursue an apprenticeship. I am also working towards obtaining my grade 12 diploma.”

Pathways to Employment was funded by Service Canada through the Youth Employment Strategy Program, Skills Link. The $537,000 contract was awarded to St. Lawrence College as an answer to the needs of youth with employment barriers. Some of the acceptance criteria included:

· Between 15 and 30 years of age · Out of school – high school non completion ·

· Health, drug and/or alcohol related problems · Low levels of literacy and numeracy · Street involvement ·

“This program has met all our objectives; demonstrating the college’s commitment to accessing and engaging learners who need customized learning environments with innovative curriculum. We look forward to continuing to offer these solutions and watching our graduates attain their career goals,” said Charlie Mignault, Director of Business Development, Corporate Learning & Performance Improvement at St. Lawrence College.

The success of the Brockville program is shared with our community partners: TR Leger School of Adult Alternative and Continuing Education School; CSE Consulting; Employment and Education Centre; our employers and most importantly Service Canada. All of the graduates are actively pursuing their grade 12 diploma. One has applied for post secondary education, others have been offered apprenticeships, full-time employment and one is working towards starting their own business.