Galileo Adult education students thrive with expanding Work Integration Program

Photograph from Samantha Gades of people celebrating under christmas lights in an atrium
Montreal - Friday, February 2, 2018

Galileo Adult Education Centre in Montreal North has launched an innovative work program where Social Integration Services (SIS) students are learning invaluable work skills at school and in their individual stages at various employment locations. The number of students participating has increased from three to 10 this year.

This work program provides support for students who are transitioning from school to a new part-time workplace. Galileo’s educators ease this transition by simplifying job-training pathways for SIS students with diverse needs and a strong desire and potential to work.

Michel Massé and Julie Mancini lead this work program and are seeing the students reap enormous benefits. Massé is responsible for placing individual students in their stages and the Socio Vocational Integration Services (SVIS) program. He assesses their interests, aptitudes, and abilities, and courts companies that will offer internships. One of the biggest obstacles he faces is educating the companies on the many positive outcomes they will receive when offering a stage to SIS students. This year, partners include Maxi (Pie-IX), Home Depot (Anjou), Canadian Tire (Henri Bourassa), and Shell (Pie IX).

This success and growth is due to the one-on-one work preparation skills that students receive in the classroom with their SIS teachers, and building relationships with potential employers in the community. It has also grown due to the positive feedback of the students that participated in last year’s pilot project. Their experiences in the working world have been contagious and have cultivated great interest with their peers.

Mancini is responsible for training different groups of students in Galileo’s in-house work program. Students work in a newly designed work skills classroom where priorities such as cleanliness, teamwork, work methods, being polite and professional when in the work environment are adhered to. We have a partnership with Les Importations Cavan Inc. Tasks include: packaging, labeling, and piecing hairclips together. Students also collect and shred papers for the administration. Galileo is always on the lookout for new and innovative contracts.
The SIS teachers and their parents are happy to see the positive changes in their students. Student JL did not socialize or smile until he began his stage at Home Depot. Now loving his work, he smiles and interacts with his peers and staff more often. “I see their self-esteem, independence, and communication skills improve,” share all teachers, who see the possibilities of each individual student. Parents have also confirmed by communicating with their teachers that their child’s maturity level has grown.

Martina Schiavone, principal of Galileo Adult Centre, takes great pride in this expanding SVIS program. “Our students are learning the skills in our classrooms that are needed in the workforce. They are gaining a very practical, hands-on education which they are bringing to the real world outside of the school walls. It is creating momentum as the students see the benefits that their peers reap, and want to try it out themselves. With such positive feedback from our students and their employers, we are expanding the program to include group stages of five to seven students at a company. We see this new work integration program expanding in the coming years at Galileo Adult Centre and we are excited about the future!”

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