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Peel District School Board and Algoma University Establish Pilot Program for Underrepresented Youth 

(BRAMPTON, ON- May 12, 2023): Peel District School Board (PDSB) and Algoma University (AU) are pleased to announce a new and innovative pilot program that builds on the partnership between the two institutions as they work collaboratively to expand post-secondary access in the region. Details were announced Friday evening at the University’s inaugural Gala.

This pilot program aims to create a structure that establishes a pathway focused on increasing access to post-secondary education for underrepresented students. The program is designed for secondary school students in grades 11 and/or 12; specifically students from Black, Indigenous and other racialized, marginalized and underrepresented communities. The program will begin in the fall of 2023 and participants will be in two cohorts of up to 25 students per cohort from various PDSB schools.

“The program is focused on students who come from communities historically marginalized and underrepresented in the Region of Peel and in post-secondary education institutions,” shared David Marasco, Director, Strategic Initiatives and Partnerships at Algoma University. “The aim of the program is to encourage students to view post-secondary education as a viable destination through engagement with classes, experiential learning and campus life at Algoma University.”

In addition to supporting students to continue their Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) requirements uninterrupted, students in the pilot program will have the opportunity to earn two university courses (six credits) and attend classes on a university campus. Furthermore, AU and PDSB have partnered with Unity Technologies Inc., the world’s leading platform for creating and operating interactive, real-time 3D content, to provide students with an opportunity to receive an Associate Game Developer Certification while in the program. Taught by Unity instructors, this additional certification seeks to give students a competitive advantage as they explore post-secondary and career opportunities. Upon completion of the program students will have earned: 

  • four OSSD courses (one English credit, one business credit and two co-op credits);
  • two transferable AU courses (one business course and one additional university course that students will select out of three potential options); and 
  • an Associate Game Developer Certification from Unity Software Inc.

“This partnership between PDSB and Algoma University stands to have a significant impact on Black, Indigenous and marginalized students. Promoting belonging, confidence and academic success, the program will also prepare students for a more skills-based economy, leading to successful future outcomes,” shared Rashmi Swarup, Director of Education at Peel District School Board. “We are very excited about the unique post-secondary experience our students will get on campus at Algoma University, as they envision future possibilities through this wonderful collaboration.” 

Both PDSB and AU believe in the importance of offering a range of learning opportunities for rich and deep educational post-secondary experiences. Innovative academic programming such as this pilot program is another option for students seeking to complete higher education in the region.

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