Archived — Government of Canada Investment Helps Expose Youth to Science and Technology

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For immediate release
April 27, 2012

Ottawa, Ontario — Royal Galipeau, Member of Parliament for Ottawa-Orleans, on behalf of the Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), today announced a federal investment of up to $961,275 for an Ottawa Network for Education project that exposes local students to computer programming and the opportunities that exist in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math.

"Our government knows that the innovations of the future depend on helping our young people discover the possibilities that exist in science and technology today," said MP Galipeau. "This investment will allow the Ottawa Network for Education to reach out to more than 10,000 students in the Ottawa area, encouraging them to take a closer look at the opportunities that exist in computer programming and technology, and contributing to future high-quality jobs, growth and long-term prosperity."

The Ottawa Network for Education will use the investment to extend its High School Technology Mentor pilot program to schools throughout the Ottawa area, including Francophone schools. Newly branded as TechU.Me, the program places employees from the local technology industry to serve as mentors in secondary school classrooms and helps students create their own computer software. Partners in the program include IBM, Adobe, RIM and Macadamian.

The expanded program from the Ottawa Network for Education will also include five weeks of summer camps, a "best mobile application" competition, and a basic programming course for students in grades 7 and 8.

"We are thrilled to receive the level of support that the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario is offering the TechU.Me program," said Kathryn McKinlay, President and CEO, Ottawa Network for Education. "FedDev Ontario's funding will help us provide today's youth with real opportunities to explore all that the tech industry has to offer in Ottawa."

The investment is provided through FedDev Ontario's Youth STEM initiative, aimed at encouraging students in kindergarten through grade 12 to pursue an education or career in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, also known as the STEM fields. The Youth STEM initiative is one of the ways the Government of Canada is working through innovation to drive growth and job creation in Canada.

For more information on the Ottawa Network for Education and the High School Technology Mentor program, please refer to the backgrounder.

Created in 2009, FedDev Ontario supports the southern Ontario economy by building on the region's strengths and creating opportunities for jobs and economic growth. The Agency has launched a number of initiatives to create a Southern Ontario Advantage and place the region in a strong position to compete in the global economy. These initiatives are designed to encourage partnerships and support projects that help the region's businesses and communities become more competitive, innovative and diversified. To learn more, please visit www.feddevontario.gc.ca or call 1-866-593-5505.

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For more information, contact:

Michele-Jamali Paquette
Director of Communications
Office of the Honourable Gary Goodyear
613-947-2956

Media Relations
FedDev Ontario
519-571-6879


Backgrounder

The Ottawa Network for Education and the High School Technology Mentor program

The Ottawa Network for Education (ONFE) works with school boards, colleges, universities and other stakeholders to develop and implement collaborative initiatives that leverage community resources to support student learning and skill development.

In 2007-08, the Ottawa Centre for Research and Innovation (OCRI) launched pilot projects for local students and schools designed to increase the number of students pursuing a career in the technology sector, specifically IT engineering and computer science; educate all students on the importance of science and technology to their future employment opportunities; build a stronger connection between the local technology community and the students, teachers, guidance counselors and parents; educate all parties on the viable career paths, workplace opportunities, training options, and future trends for technology careers; and provide a model for replication in other schools.

ONFE fell under OCRI until 2011, when OCRI began planning to rebrand and reorganize as Invest Ottawa. The two organizations officially split in January 2011 and ONFE established its own brand. With the creation of Invest Ottawa out of OCRI in 2012, and its increased focus on economic development and investment attraction, TechU.Me and other education programs were shifted permanently to ONFE. Developing programs and resources to inspire young people in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields is a key focus area for the organization.

Through the Youth STEM initiative, FedDev Ontario is investing up to $961,275 to help ONFE expand its industry mentor program for high school students; introduce computer programming to grade 7 and 8 students; establish and deliver technology-focused summer camps in the Ottawa area; and create an "application development" competition.

More information about the Ottawa Network for Education and the High School Technology Mentor program is available at www.onfe-rope.ca and www.techu.me.

Youth STEM Initiative

FedDev Ontario's Youth STEM provides funding to eligible not-for-profit organizations to expand, enhance and coordinate the reach and impact of educational outreach programs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) for children and youth in kindergarten through grade 12. The initiative is designed to encourage young people to pursue further studies and careers in these fields, creating a future talent pool that is well-positioned to fuel business innovation and growth in southern Ontario.

For more information, please refer to the program information available on the FedDev Ontario website at www.feddevontario.gc.ca.

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