In 2007, the Manitoba Business Leaders Index, a Probe Research survey of 200 business executives, identified a worker shortage as the number one issue facing business. The survey also identified a potential solution – developing a strategy to retain our young people.
In direct response, The Chamber and Pembina Trails School Division established a 16-member Student Council, made up of four students in Grades 11 and 12 from each of Pembina Trails’ high schools – Vincent Massey Collegiate, Shaftesbury High School, Oak Park High School and Fort Richmond Collegiate.
The Council met throughout the year and stemming from the students’ discussion, it was decided the students would plan and host a one-day conference in 2008. Students from 23 high schools attended LeaderCon 08 – Engaging the Next Generation, which explored the possibility of a one-stop source of career information and talked about a vision for an ideal city in which to live.
As a result of LeaderCon 08, other school divisions expressed interest in having their students sit on the Council. The Council was expanded by a dozen new schools, including several private schools.
In May 2009, The Chamber partnered with Junior Achievement Manitoba to host A World of Choices, a day-long career and visioning conference. Students chose to attend three of 13 career track panels and participated in round-table discussions on: Winnipeg’s strengths for the future and what’s missing to make us the best city in which to live.
Currently, there are more than 25 participating schools in The Chamber’s High School Program. The program is evolving and the objective is to provide these bright young students with the tools, knowledge and connections to become leaders in the Winnipeg of tomorrow.
It’s about letting them know how they can make a difference.
In the past two years, the students have been involved with Manitoba BOLD, discussing and promoting their BOLD ideas for making Winnipeg a city that would be attractive to young people.