Hon. Liz Sandals, Minister of Education: Statement to the Legislative Assembly
Take Our Kids To Work Day
November 5, 2014
Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to stand in this House today — to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Take Our Kids to Work Day.
Today, more than 250,000 Grade 9 students in Canada are spending the day learning in the workplace of a parent, relative or friend.
And I am delighted to have Piers Burnfield Wiebe, a Grade 9 student from Harbord Collegiate joining my office today as part of Take Our Kids to Work Day.
I would also like to welcome all of the Grade 9 students taking part in learning opportunities today at the Ministry of Education as well as all of the other ministries across government and in offices here at the Legislature.
I'd like to thank The Learning Partnership who have been sponsoring this program since 1994 and helping Grade 9 students get a head-start to their future by providing career options that connect them directly with the world.
Take Our Kids to Work Day is a unique way for students to experience a ‘day in the life’ of a profession or workplace.
We know that students today are more likely to have many careers over the course of their lifetime and we need to equip them with the tools they need to be part of Ontario's highly skilled workforce.
Take Our Kids to Work Day is one of many programs that create opportunities to help students see the connections between their studies, the world beyond high school and their future careers.
Additional programs for students include: the Specialist High Skills Majors program, the Dual Credit program and Co-operative Education.
These programs allow high school students to tailor their experience through a variety of new and enhanced learning options.
And I am pleased that approximately 42,000 high school students are enrolled in Specialist High Skills Majors programs this year, each one spending more than 220 hours in hands-on work placements in their sector of focus.
And through the numerous activities and programs, including Ontario's Co-operative Education programs, an estimated 40,000 employers across the province provide over 80,000 high school students with valuable work-related learning opportunities.
Programs like these have helped us achieve impressive results over the past decade. In 2003, the graduation rate in Ontario was 68 per cent and that's equivalent to about one-third of students not graduating from high school.
With the help of innovative programs and the hard work by parents, teachers and school administrators, our graduation rate is now 83 per cent.
Mr. Speaker, what this means is that more than 138,000 students are now on a better path in life.
We want to give students meaningful workplace learning opportunities to gain valuable skills and experience that they will need for their future careers.
Take Our Kids to Work Day provides this for Grade 9 students. It is another wonderful opportunity for Ontario students to get this real-world experience.
We know that experiential learning is helping students achieve excellence — which is a key goal of Ontario's renewed vision for education.
The other goals of the vision include: ensuring equity, promoting well-being and enhancing public confidence.
Ontario's renewed vision for education will help prepare our students for a productive and successful future.
And our renewed vision provides the necessary focus for everyone to work together to ensure that all students in our publicly funded education system feel engaged and included.
Mr. Speaker, again, I extend my appreciation to The Learning Partnership.
And I encourage everyone in this House to recognize this day and support our students as they take part in learning opportunities in workplaces throughout Ontario.