In recent weeks, we presented a variety of ways to get involved with youth, for example by creating company-run intervention programs, by developing partnerships to support organizations involved in training youth and through concrete, simple efforts in schools, such as testimonials from business people to encourage youth.
Every year for the past 22 years, the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal has been committed to fighting early school leaving with the Operation Back to School program.
A quick look at the program
Operation Back to School is an annual series of presentations in French-language and English-language public and private high schools in Greater Montréal. More than 4,200 business people go back to school to share their experience and their passion with almost 160,000 high school students and to encourage them to stay in school.
The Chamber strongly encourages schools and community organizations to register student groups for the program. It also encourages the city’s businesses and business people to talk to young people about their education and careers.
A concrete example of success
Last year, Steve Mwamba Tshibasu won one of the stay-in-school scholarships offered by Operation Back to School. It wasn’t easy for Steve to go back to school at age 19. He was successful in his studies, but didn’t have much confidence in the future.
A young student at Eulalie-Durocher high school, he was moved and inspired by the visit of André St-Pierre, director of InnovÉÉ, Innovation en énergie électrique.
“I got a lot out of your presentation and your professional journey, which were incredible sources of motivation and inspiration”
Steve stood out by asking the businessman questions about starting a business, his experience and his education. After the encounter, he even asked for a one-day internship at InnovÉÉ, which André St Pierre agreed to as a one-time arrangement.
Steve’s history teacher said that Mr. St-Pierre’s visit left a mark on many students in the class and created a shift in many of their lives.
Steve’s story is like that of the many high school students who take part every year in Operation Back to School.
Partners in school retention
The Chamber appreciates the contribution of Montréal Relève, which has been supporting the program for over 20 years, and the involvement of Intact and belairdirect, which became the main ambassador for the program this year.
They are involved through a variety of initiatives to fight early school leaving.
“For plenty of young people, support activities such as Operation Back to School, mentoring and career exploration programs can make a big difference in their education and confidence. These initiatives increase their chance of persevering and continuing on to higher education or vocational training.
We are cognizant of the needs of younger generations, and we are determined to make a difference to encourage young people to get their diplomas, a crucial step in having access to the job market and becoming a full member of society.
Intact and belairdirect want to ensure that younger generations continue to dream big. This is why we have made a commitment to support school retention. And you can contribute personally to these efforts.”
Thanks to the support of our partners, including Montreal Hooked on School, an association partner for the program for a number of years, the Montréal CPA Group, an ambassador for a number of years, and Pomerleau Inc., an ambassador for the second year running, younger generations enjoy Operation Back to School support and bursaries.