Montreal, March 26, 2001 - For the fifth year in a row, the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal and its Education committee, in co-operation with the ministry of Education and the Greater Montreal region's French and English school boards, as well as with financial and professional support from Fonds Ville-Marie, Emploi-Québec, Bos Advertising Agency and host schools, launch an operation whose objective is to stimulate academic perserverance among Secondary III and IV students.
From March 26 to April 30, 2001, more than 500 business people will share their own personal experiences with groups of students who have reached a crucial stage in their lives. Mr. Normand Legault, president of the Board of Trade, points out that studies and statistics from various government authorities have shown that every year, about 10,000 youngsters in the Greater Montreal region abandon their high-school studies. It is estimated that after five years, 35% of all secondary students will not obtain their diploma, and this has a tragic impact on our society and our economy.
The Montreal region cannot afford to lose tens of thousands of youths to such a syndrome that only targets them for poverty and/or delinquency. We wish to create a direct link between school and the business world by stimulating youngsters, and also show them that there are employment and careers available for all who pursue their studies.
Business people from all fields and industry segments, from self-employed workers to large corporation executives and directors, take part in Operation Back to School, whose success keeps growing. The number of teens targeted by this annual activity has almost doubled since its inception in 1997, progressing from 7,000 to over 13,000 this year. The experience has proven extremely enriching just as much for the students as for the speakers. Today's youths crave to know their elders' experiences and career paths and draw great encouragement from these discussions which are intended to present them, and lead them to gain, a positive outlook on the future, concluded Mr. Legault.
The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal has more than 7 000 members. Its mission is to be the leading group representing the interests of the Greater Montreal business community. The objectives are to maintain, at all times, relevance to its membership, credibility towards the media and influence towards government and decision-makers.