Evidence of meeting #77 for Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities in the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was students.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Lawrence Slaney  Director of Training, United Association Canada
Alain Tremblay  Executive Director, Internship and Work Placement Services, Université de Sherbrooke, As an Individual
Colleen Mooney  Executive Director, Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa
Orville Lee  President and Co-Founder, Pathfinder Youth Centre Society
Ruth Lee  Executive Director and Co-Founder, Pathfinder Youth Centre Society

4:10 p.m.

Executive Director and Co-Founder, Pathfinder Youth Centre Society

4:10 p.m.

Liberal

Dan Ruimy Liberal Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge, BC

The challenge that I am running into is this. The program has moved around—17 weeks to 10 weeks or whatever it is—but even at 17 weeks—

4:10 p.m.

Executive Director and Co-Founder, Pathfinder Youth Centre Society

Ruth Lee

It's not enough time.

4:15 p.m.

Liberal

Dan Ruimy Liberal Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge, BC

—it's not enough time. Do we have an overly high expectation of, let's say, the skills link training program?

4:15 p.m.

Executive Director and Co-Founder, Pathfinder Youth Centre Society

4:15 p.m.

Liberal

Dan Ruimy Liberal Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge, BC

The skills link program is very defined. Then we have this other thing that's going on, and that's everybody's responsibility. It's the provinces, the municipalities, and that sort of stuff.

Tell me a little bit more about your thrift store. To me, experiential learning is “Let me get my hands on it, let me touch it, let me feel it, and I'll get excited”. Tell us a little more about that.

4:15 p.m.

Executive Director and Co-Founder, Pathfinder Youth Centre Society

Ruth Lee

I think the panel alluded to hands-on in terms of training, internship, and apprenticeship. Those are all intertwined with hands-on, with having somebody there to guide you and lead you. Sometimes there's too much theory. These youths learn by hearing, but a lot of them are visual and hands-on. Those are the kinds of gifts we try to pull out and let shine: “It's okay that you can't read a paragraph, but, man, can you build this. Let's focus on trying to get you into a trade where you're constantly working with your hands.”

That's what we're trying to say: build on their abilities and not their disabilities.

4:15 p.m.

Liberal

Dan Ruimy Liberal Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge, BC

Have you been able to tap into any funding for your thrift store?

4:15 p.m.

Executive Director and Co-Founder, Pathfinder Youth Centre Society

Ruth Lee

Not yet, no. We're on hold. We actually did receive a letter saying that we're not funded “right now”. We hang on strong to this.

4:15 p.m.

Liberal

Dan Ruimy Liberal Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge, BC

It doesn't mean no.

4:15 p.m.

Executive Director and Co-Founder, Pathfinder Youth Centre Society

Ruth Lee

It doesn't mean no. We'll continue going on.

December 7th, 2017 / 4:15 p.m.

Liberal

Dan Ruimy Liberal Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge, BC

It's a never give up attitude. Okay.

Moving along, some of your students have actually come to my office, and a lot of them don't get.... I say to them that they could go and get a student loan or a grant and take a care aide program. I mean, we've talked here about seniors and the struggles they have. We need more care aides. We need more people working in seniors homes. The jobs are there, but there's a lack of getting people into training for that. It's only a one-year program. When I've mentioned that to some of the folks who have come into my office, their first reaction has been, “Oh, no, I don't want a student loan.” I'm trying to understand why when that's their best way to get to a job.

Do you have those conversations with them?

4:15 p.m.

Executive Director and Co-Founder, Pathfinder Youth Centre Society

Ruth Lee

We never get to that level after they graduate.

4:15 p.m.

Liberal

Dan Ruimy Liberal Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge, BC

Not even.

4:15 p.m.

Executive Director and Co-Founder, Pathfinder Youth Centre Society

Ruth Lee

No. It's overwhelming. We kind of chop things up in little pieces and let them digest it piece by piece.

It's just like when you graduate at 17 and you get asked, “What are you going to do? Which university are you going to?” Nine times out of 10, they don't even complete, or midway they figure out, “This is really not my gift. This is not what I want to do.” Then they've wasted all that time.

We try to inject little things. The certification that we provide opens up many industries. They get a taste of a bit of everything. Everything we do is basic skills that will get them employed.

4:15 p.m.

Liberal

Dan Ruimy Liberal Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge, BC

My time is up, but can you submit to the clerk some of your programs so that we can have that in evidence? I'm thinking of the thrift store, for instance.

4:15 p.m.

Executive Director and Co-Founder, Pathfinder Youth Centre Society

4:15 p.m.

Liberal

Dan Ruimy Liberal Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge, BC

Thank you.

4:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Bryan May

Thank you.

Now over to MP Sansoucy, please.

4:15 p.m.

NDP

Brigitte Sansoucy NDP Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.

My thanks also to the witnesses for making their presentations.

My first questions go to you, Mr. Tremblay. As you said, the expertise you have developed is very relevant for our study. In situations like this, I find it important to not reinvent the wheel. If expertise already exists and has been developed, I feel that we should make use of it. I represent the constituency of Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot. A lot of our young people go to Sherbrooke to study and it is basically because of the co-op program.

Looking at the survey you conducted on the placement rates of graduates, which you call “La Relance” is very interesting. We can see that 47% of those graduating from undergraduate programs earned their degrees in the co-op program, which places you second. The percentage is far higher than the national average of 12%. We can also see that 28% of those graduates found their first job as a result of the internship they did during their studies.

Are you saying that half the students in the co-op program find employment because of their co-op placement?

4:15 p.m.

Executive Director, Internship and Work Placement Services, Université de Sherbrooke, As an Individual

Alain Tremblay

That's right. We say half of them, or more. In computer science, for example, we receive eight placement offers per student. So, at the moment, we are short of students, as are almost all the universities in Canada. In certain areas, the demand is far greater than the number of students we can supply.

4:20 p.m.

NDP

Brigitte Sansoucy NDP Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Are you saying that the impact of co-op placements on job searches at graduation is positive, even for those who are not part of the co-op program?

4:20 p.m.

Executive Director, Internship and Work Placement Services, Université de Sherbrooke, As an Individual

Alain Tremblay

Let us say that, in a university like ours, those students benefit from our brand. An engineering student completing his program with two years of experience under his belt is a more mature student who knows what working in a company means. Going from studies to employment is much easier.

4:20 p.m.

NDP

Brigitte Sansoucy NDP Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Okay.

We also read that 70% of the graduates work full time in their field.

Is the rate higher for graduates from the co-op program?

4:20 p.m.

Executive Director, Internship and Work Placement Services, Université de Sherbrooke, As an Individual

Alain Tremblay

For them, it is 100%.