The Pembroke Regional Hospital and TV Cogeco have both been recognized by the province for their efforts to create work place learning opportunities for students.

Their commitment to student learning in the workplace is being applauded by the Passport to Prosperity program in Renfrew County as a means of getting more local employers to follow their example.

Passport to Prosperity, which is administered by Algonquin College on behalf of the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, unveiled its priorities for the 2010-2011 school year on Take Our Kids to Work Day.

Project co-ordinator Michelle Larivierre-Ranger says creating more opportunities for students who are enrolled in the specialist high skills major program is an important initiative for all local high schools.

"More students are being channeled into career pathways while in high school, but for these students to be successful, more employers need to get involved.

"The Specialist High Skills Major program relies on employers to provide reach ahead opportunities where students can visit workplaces, participate in co-op placements, or be supported by mentors, thereby enhancing the curriculum they are being taught in the classroom. Our role is to help find more of these opportunities for these students," says Larivierre- Ranger.

A provincial data base has been created to allow employers to easily sign on to supporting schools in their district that are looking for more co-op placements for students.

The data base is web based and includes other important information on initiatives that are underway in the county and other parts of the province to support business-education partnerships.

The web site is

Yearly the Passport to Prosperity provincial partnership council recog- nizes employers that have made long term commitments to providing work place experiences to students. Nomi- nations are received from across the province with only a handful of employers receiving Employer Cham- pion awards.

Passport to Prosperity encourages other employers to follow the lead of its two provincial Employer Champi- ons -the PRH and TV Cogeco in the hopes more local companies that will be recipients of this provincial award.

Among the other major priorities for Passport to Prosperity is the Options 2011 Skilled Trades Fair scheduled for April 28 at the PMC. In its ninth year, Options is a major showcase of apprenticeship training opportunities and involves skills com- petitions in as many as 10 trades. Employers who are interested in get- ting involved in any other partner- ships related to student workplace experiences should contact Ms. Lariv- ierre-Ranger at 613-735-4308, ext. 6.