Business people take action to keep kids in school
Montréal, March 31 2009 The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal is proud to launch the 13th edition of Operation Back to School, through which more than 250 guest speakers representing a wide range of career paths will meet with almost 9,000 Secondary 3, 4, and 5 students to encourage them to pursue their studies.
For the Board of Trade, encouraging students to stay in school is a priority since it leads to the training of the next generation of skilled workers. The meetings we organize between students and business people present young people with a variety of fascinating role models. There is more than one way for students to make their way through Quebec's school system, and we must inspire them to find their own path. Indeed, the Ménard report concludes that efforts such as those made by the Board of Trade for more than a decade can make a real difference, declared Michel Leblanc, President and CEO of the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal.
The Board of Trade unconditionally supports the conclusions of Jacques Ménard and his task force. It is unacceptable that Quebec ranks ninth out of the ten Canadian provinces in terms of high school graduates. Each year, this high dropout rate deprives Quebec of 28,000 skilled workers and costs the provincial government $1.9 billion. This situation is all the more alarming in that we will soon experience a lack of skilled workers in many key sectors of our economy. Business people are deeply concerned about this situation, and that is why they wish to participate in the challenge launched by the Ménard report, explained Leblanc.
In our efforts to facilitate and promote the transition to professional and vocational training, we are proud to count on many leaders of the business community to encourage high school students to keep their dreams alive and explore their passions. These business leaders include Gerry Frappier, President and General Manager of Réseau des sports, Serge Landry, Director General at TELUS, Yvan Delorme, Police Chief for the City of Montréal, Alain Giguère, President of CROP, Gautier Dirckx, President and CEO of BNP Paribas (Canada), and Elliot Lifson, Vice-President of Vêtements Peerless Clothing Inc. We know they will help convince students, one-on-one, of the vital importance of earning a high school diploma, concluded Leblanc.
Operation Back to School is made possible by a contribution from the Fonds Ville-Marie. The Board of Trade would also like to thank the Comptables agréés de Montréal, who are again offering a study grant to one of the young people visited during this activity.
The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal has some 7,000 members. Its primary mission is to represent the interests of the business community of Greater Montréal 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.
Coordinator, Media relations
Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal
Tel.: 514 871-4000, ext. 4015