Near North program to help students become ‘career ready’

Project funded by provincial government

Near North District School Board. Nugget File Photo

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The Near North District School Board is set to introduce a new project aimed at providing secondary school students with enhanced employment prospects.

The school board announced the upcoming interactive, online learning platform, called The Skills Catalyst Project, Thursday.

Described as the first of its type in the Near North community, the resource was developed by specialist teachers at the school board and will provide students with an opportunity to learn both interpersonal and technical skills highly valued by modern employers, a media release from the board states.

“As one of our top priorities, our board is firmly committed to re-establishing more realistic, pragmatic relationships with our community partners. Doing so will enable us to respond to community needs to create more meaningful conduits for our students to acquire the skills required in today’s world,” board chairman Jay Aspin said.

“We believe this specially designed, tailored platform will produce a multitude of opportunities which will benefit both our students and local employers and community organizations.”

Education director Craig Myles said the board is “very pleased to be offering these unique opportunities” to its students.

“In collaboration with our community partners, we are empowering our students to pursue their dreams and find meaningful and fulfilling employment,” Myles said.

“Our community will benefit from this partnership. As well, the skills being developed are the ones that are needed by local employers. This will aid in the retention of talent in our community and grow further opportunities.”

Last week, Ontario Labour, Training and Skills Development Minister Monte McNaughton announced the distribution of the funds in Sudbury, which altogether total $1.9 million.

The province says the Near North project, which will see the school board receive $96,220 from the province, will train up to 1,000 students in financial literacy and job-specific computer skills.

The school board says the launch of the platform follows a rigorous application process that began in January and will include a blend of online and experiential learning, allowing students to learn despite the challenges presented by COVID-19.

The program will support traditionally underrepresented groups, the board says, by encouraging engagement through workshops and by supporting local labour market development.

A partnership with Yes Employment Services and The Labour Market Group also will identify the needs of local employers.

Other partners include Canadore College, Nipissing University, the North Bay Regional Health Centre and Voyageur Airways.

“The jobs of the future and the skill sets they require are changing rapidly, and it is so important that we are providing our students with the learning opportunities they will need to join tomorrow’s workforce,” Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli said.

“This exciting new project will equip students in Nipissing with the skills they need to be career ready for the jobs of the future, as well as forming connections with local employers and community organizations for a benefit to our whole community.”

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