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Centennial promotes specialized training program

Centennial College and Dixon Hall community centre are leading a unique training program to help long-term unemployed women start productive careers as office and administrative professionals.

Sandra Pupatello, Minister of Women's Issues, attended the graduation of the 45 women who completed the intensive 45 women who completed the intensive 45-week FutureSmart training program.
Centennial College president Richard Johnston and Sandra Pupatello, Minister of Women's Issues, congratulate Maha Sinada, one of the 45 graduates of the FutureSmart program, which provides long-term unemployed women with office administration skills. The project is a joint venture between Dixon Hall community centre and Centennial's Centre for Creative Communications in East York. (Photo, Stephanie Lake)

"These women have started on a journey to become economically independent," Pupatello said. "The McGuinty government is committed to building a prosperous economy in which all Ontarians can reach their full potential."

The women are clients of Dixon Hall, a community centre that serves residents of Regent Park and downtown east Toronto. As part of the FutureSmart program, they attended classes at the centre, learning about effective communication, office management, information technology and career management.

In the second phase of the program, they spent 17 weeks at Centennial College's Centre for Creative Communications in East York acquiring additional computer knowledge, including database, web design and maintenance skills. The final phase consisted of a 12-week internship in a targeted industry, links with mentors and job-search support.

"This project is indicative of the kind of work colleges do best," said Centennial president Richard Johnston. "We partner with employers and community organizations, deliver real-world training and provide students with an education that helps them advance quickly."

The government's Information Technology Training for Women initiative focuses on low-income women who are unemployed or underemployed, immigrant women with IT skills who lack Canadian experience or certification, and women with disabilities.

The skills-training program relies on a number of partnerships with the private and non-profit sectors including: Wired Woman Toronto, Digital Eve Toronto, Office Workers Career Centre and the International Association of Administrative Professionals.

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