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The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal: proud to celebrate 15 years of motivating kids to stay in school

Press release

The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal:
proud to celebrate 15 years of motivating kids to stay in school

Montréal, February 17, 2011 – The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal is proud to celebrate the 15th anniversary of Operation Back to School and the 10th anniversary of MR3 Montréal Relève’s Student Business program. Since 1997, these two programs have reached out to close to 140,000 students to encourage them to stay in school.

“The business community is very concerned about the personal tragedy of dropping out of school and the wasted talent that could otherwise be contributing to the development of Quebec and the Greater Montréal area,” said Michel Leblanc, President and CEO of the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal. “For the past 15 years, more than 3,500 businessmen and businesswomen have met with students in grades 9, 10 and 11 to talk about how they got to where they are today and the importance of perseverance. I thank our members for their remarkable mobilization in support of Operation Back to School.”

“For the past 10 years, almost 8,000 high school students have completed an exploratory career internship through the Student Business program in professional settings in some twenty industries,” said Marie-Élaine Normandeau, Executive Director of MR3 Montréal Relève. “This represents almost 300,000 hours of mentoring by businesses.”

“We are also pleased to announce that Monique F. Leroux, Chair of the Board, President and CEO of Desjardins Group, has agreed to be personally associated with the 10th anniversary of Student Business as its patron of honour,” said Ms. Normandeau. “Desjardins has been supporting Student Business for the past seven years.”

“Our society has grown richer from a number of perspectives since 1987: we are living longer and in good health, the poverty rate has declined, particularly among seniors, and our global economic performance is stronger,” said Mr. Leblanc. “And yet, the rate of high school completion by age 20 has stayed the same. Urgent action is required, and I would like to take this opportunity to encourage businesspeople to reiterate their commitment to this important cause and to take part in Operation Back to School and the Student Business program.”

Operation Back to School
Every year, Operation Back to School puts close to 300 businessmen and businesswomen from every occupation and industry in touch with grade 9, 10 and 11 students. They share their educational, professional and personal experience through a one-hour presentation to encourage students to stay in school. The patron for the 2011 edition of Operation Back to School is Sylvain Vincent, Managing Partner, Eastern Canada, and member of the Canadian Executive Committee, Ernst & Young LLP, and Chairman of the Board of the Board of Trade.

Student Business
The Student Business program was started in 2001 by MR3 Montréal Relève¯a non-profit organization founded in 1995 through an agreement between the Board of Trade and the Ville de Montréal¯which organizes one-week exploratory career internships in a professional setting for grade 9 and 10 students. Since it was launched, over 650 organizations have played host to young people from Student Business. 

About the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal
The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal is made up of some 7,000 members. Its 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.

About MR3 Montréal Relève
MR3 Montréal Relève, formerly Fonds Ville-Marie, opened its doors in 1995 as a result of an agreement between the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal and the Ville de Montréal. This non-profit organization is financed primarily by Stationnement de Montréal. For the past 15 years, MR3 Montréal Relève has been supporting efforts to motivate young Montrealers from disadvantaged neighbourhoods to stay in school. Its main initiative is Student Business.

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Julie Desjardins
Advisor, Communications
Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal
Tel.: 514 871-4000, ext. 4047
Andrée Peltier
Press Officer
MR3 Montréal Relève
Tel.: 514 846-0003

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