A partnership that enables Aboriginal youth to earn high school and university credits at the same time was announced April 27 at Laurentian University.
Laurentian students can now enroll in the commerce dual credit program that will help toward their high school diploma. It is the only Ontario university approved by the province to offer a dual credit program.
"This pilot program will extend the dual credit concept to the Ontario university environment for the first time ever,” said Laurentian president Dominic Giroux.
Students will be given entrepreneurial experience and the opportunity for business ownership. The program is designed to teach students to create a product or service-based business.
Funding will be provided to start each micro-business and using the services of local banks, students open and maintain accounts, and must comply with all required record keeping and other accountability measures.
The Martin Aboriginal Education Initiative (MAEI), headed by former prime minister Paul Martin, is a key partner for this component of the program.
The MAEI is a non-profit corporation that supports and sponsors pilot projects aimed at increasing the number of Aboriginal people attending post-secondary institutions.
"Right now, almost half of Aboriginal Canadians don't even a high-school diploma and the number of Aboriginal students earning a bachelor's degree is dramatically lower than non-Aboriginal people,” said Martin. “I am hopeful that partnerships like this can help change that.”
Laurentian now serves 9,000 students. Eleven per cent are Aboriginal.