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Operation Back to School 2016: Business people and teachers mobilize to promote school retention

Montréal, February 19, 2016 – As Hooked on School Days draw to a close, the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal is mobilizing the city’s stakeholders to promote school retention by launching the 20th edition of Operation Back to School. From March 7 to April 30, speakers from the business community will make dozens of presentations in high schools in the French- and English-language school boards of Montréal.

Operation Back to School has two goals: to encourage students to persevere in school and business people to get involved in education. Over the course of the last 19 editions, more than 4,000 business men and women have shared their experience with almost 150,000 high school students. These enjoyable encounters spark the determination and ambition of young people, who say they are motivated and ready to put in the effort to achieve their professional goals.

“Our society is facing an endemic dropout problem, and without education, there can be no prosperity, social progress or innovation,” said Michel Leblanc, President and CEO of the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal. “In a changing world dealing with an aging population and the emergence of disruptive technologies, now more than ever the younger generation needs to be educated and skilled. From 2013 to 2017, 330,000 jobs will need to be filled in Greater Montréal, 68% of them because of retirement. From 2013 to 2022, a third of the positions vacated will be filled by technical level jobs that require a college education.”

“We still have a ways to go, but we are seeing an improvement,” Mr. Leblanc said. “Efforts are paying off. Concerted action by schools, the government and the private sector have produced tangible results. The dropout rate fell 3.8% from 2009 to 2013, and the graduation rate increased from 67% to 76% over the same period.”

“I am calling on every member of society – organizations, schools, government, businesses and individuals – to continue in their cooperative efforts to eradicate school leaving,” Michel Leblanc said. “We can’t rest on our laurels. We have to step up efforts to support students to succeed in school.”

“Teachers and schools have their role to play of course, but they are not on their own,” said Mr. Leblanc, who, nominated by Montreal Hooked on School, is doing his part by becoming a school retention superhero. “Business people need to get involved in concrete efforts that will make a difference in a young person’s life.”

At the end of Operation Back to School, participating teachers can nominate students who have distinguished themselves for their efforts. Thanks to Operation Back to School ambassadors, students selected at random will be awarded $1500 scholarships. This will help the recipients pursue their vocational, technical or university education.

For more information about Operation Back to School and how to take part, click here.

Operation Back to School is made possible by the support of Montréal Relève and the participation of its Silver ambassadors: ArcelorMittal and EY. The Board of Trade also thanks its association partners: Academos, Youth Fusion and Montreal Hooked on School.

The Board of Trade, which wants to put even more effort into school retention, has joined the Academos coalition for school retention. This initiative brings together companies and organizations that are preparing the younger generation by supporting students in getting their diploma.


About the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal

The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal is made up of over 7,000 members. Its mission is to be the voice of Montréal’s business community and to promote the city’s prosperity. It is involved in key areas of economic development, advocating a philosophy of action based on engagement, credibility, proactivity, collaboration, and innovation. The Board of Trade also offers a range of specialized services to individuals and to businesses of all sizes to support them in their growth at home and abroad.


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Guillaume Bérubé
Advisor, Media Relations
Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal

Phone: 514 871-4000, extension 4042

Twitter: @chambremontreal
Follow the discussion: #ccmmqcca


For registration or information:
Tel.: 514 871-4000, ext. 4095

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