Funding for a bilingual Agri-food Youth Entrepreneurship program at the Campus

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The Kemptville Campus Education and Community Centre has been awarded funding by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) through the Rural Economic Development (RED) program to support a bilingual pilot program in Agri-Food Youth Entrepreneurship. The program will be delivered in partnership with the four school boards operating on campus: Conseil des écoles catholiques du Centre-Est (CECCE) – lead partner; Upper Canada District School Board (UCDSB); Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario (CDSBEO); and Conseil des écoles publiques de l’Est de l’Ontario (CEPEO).

In the pilot year, 20 young people will be engaged in the program from the Campus’s four partnering school boards and from the wider community. The program will support students to shift their thinking towards the possibility of starting a business, provide support and guidance to help students conceptualize and plan business start-ups, and inspire innovation. 

Local MPP, Steve Clark, visited Kemptville Campus to make the announcement. “I’m proud that our government is supporting local economic growth in North Grenville, as our community recovers from the impacts of COVID-19. The RED program is yet another way we are building a stronger, brighter future for rural communities across eastern Ontario.” 

Noted Kemptville Campus’ Executive Director, Liz Sutherland, “Kemptville Campus and the surrounding area have a long history of agri-food production and training. The Agri-Food Youth Entrepreneurship builds on this history and fills a gap by providing local youth with entrepreneurship training to participate in the redevelopment of our region’s strong agri-food industry. We are thrilled to be working with our four school board partners to foster new businesses in the agri-food industry.”

North Grenville Mayor Nancy Peckford noted, “We are pleased to see this investment by the Government of Ontario and school board partners in rural youth and the Kemptville Campus.  The Campus is a 626-acre multi-faceted property – owned by the Municipality – and offers tremendous potential for learning in the agricultural trades.  We are facing crucial labour shortages in so many sectors.  Skills building and fostering an entrepreneurship spirit are critical to a thriving economy and community. This program – offered at the Kemptville Campus – will stand out in eastern Ontario for its innovation in the agricultural sector.”

France Goulard, Superintendent of Education for the Conseil des écoles catholiques du Centre Est, highlighted the expected impact of the pilot program: “We at CECCE, along with the Campus and our other school board and community partners, see youth as important contributors to innovation, local economies, and community resiliency. This program builds on the momentum achieved through our strong local partnerships to support innovation education and training in the region.”

The Agri-food Youth Entrepreneurship Program at Kemptville Campus represents another step towards achieving the Campus Master Plan (also funded by OMAFRA). It also builds on a successful application to the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development – Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP) for Level 1 Commercial Vehicle and Equipment training. The OYAP Training Delivery Agent application has brought industry stakeholders and the four regional school boards together on Campus to design and deliver an innovative apprenticeship format for youth.

The Agri-food Youth Entrepreneurship program will begin in September 2022.

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