Pathways to Education and Rio Tinto celebrate 10 years of breaking the cycle of poverty through education in Quebec

November 14, 2017


Rio Tinto pledges additional $3.5M to help Quebec youth graduate from high school


Montreal, QC, (November 14, 2017) – Pathways to Education (Pathways), a charitable organization working to help youth in low-income communities to graduate from high school and transition to post-secondary education, training, or employment, is celebrating its 10th anniversary of programming and proven results in Quebec. To mark this important milestone, Rio Tinto, Pathways’ Quebec Program Champion and long-time partner, is demonstrating their continued support for Quebec youth with a renewed commitment of $3.5M over three years.

The first Pathways Program location in Quebec launched in Montreal’s Verdun community in 2007. Since then, Pathways has partnered with local organizations in Shawinigan, Pointe-Saint-Charles, Mashteuiatsh, Sherbrooke, and Lachine to deliver the award-winning Pathways Program. Youth in these communities are 29 per cent more likely to drop out of high school – demonstrating a clear need for Pathways programming to provide the networks of support needed to level the playing field.

Dropping out of high school affects the student, their family, their community, and the entire province, and can have significant social and economic consequences. But thanks to exceptional partners, such as Rio Tinto, Pathways is able to give young people living in low-income communities across Quebec the resources and encouragement they need to stay in school, graduate from high school, and achieve future success.

“Pathways programming aims to give students from low-income communities the tools and life skills they need to address barriers to education, graduate from high school, and realize their full potential,” says Sue Gillespie, President and CEO, Pathways to Education Canada. “We are proud to celebrate 10 years of Pathways programming in Quebec, and grateful to valued supporters like Rio Tinto who help to make this important work possible.”

This new pledge brings Rio Tinto’s total support of Pathways to close to $17 million – a very significant and demonstrated commitment to creating positive change for individual young people in Quebec and the province as a whole.

“Rio Tinto and Pathways to Education share the belief that education has the power to change lives, and that graduation rates have a direct impact on the future of our communities,” says Gervais Jacques, Managing Director, Atlantic Operations – Rio Tinto Aluminium. “We are proud to support Pathways through the Rio Tinto Aluminium Canada Fund to give young people access to the resources and support they need so that they have an equal opportunity to obtain their high school diploma and realise their full potential.”

Pathways has grown to serve more than 1,000 youth in Quebec, with graduates from Verdun, Shawinigan, and Sherbrooke; Pointe-Saint-Charles and Mashteuiatsh will celebrate their first cohort of Pathways grads in June 2018, with Lachine following in June 2019.

Having reached this important milestone, Pathways is taking the opportunity to look ahead, committing to addressing barriers to education related to poverty and the changing world of work by:

  • Graduating resilient youth by supporting young people to overcome barriers to education related to poverty and to develop life skills, employability skills, and competencies for success after high school.
  • Growing through innovation by crossing boundaries with technology and launching pilot projects designed to reach more youth through innovative means.
  • Creating lasting, positive impact by maintaining a strong focus on research, evaluation, and measurement, and continuing to leverage meaningful partnerships.

Pathways acknowledges the Government of Canada’s continued support of the Pathways Program and are grateful for their commitment to improving the lives of Canadian youth living in low-income communities.

“The Government of Canada is committed to ensuring all Canadians have a fair shot at success,” says the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour. “Supporting Pathways means they will be able to help more young Canadians complete their education and find good, well paying jobs. I look forward to our continued work with Pathways to ensure we can help more young Canadians succeed in the workforce.”

Pathways to Education has recorded groundbreaking results. High school graduation rates have increased by an average of 85 per cent, and 73 per cent of all students who graduated from high school while in the Pathways Program have gone on to post-secondary education or training.

The Pathways Program provides students with weekly tutoring, flexible and personalized mentoring, financial incentives and scholarship funding, as well as advocacy to successfully engage the student and their family, school, program, and community. These supports come at no cost to the youth or their families.

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About Pathways to Education Canada –

Pathways to Education is a national, charitable organization working to make Canada a Graduation Nation. Partnering with dedicated organizations in low-income communities, Pathways supports youth to graduate from high school and achieve their full potential. Celebrating more than 15 years of successful programming, our award-winning combination of academic, financial, social, and one-on-one supports continues to successfully break the cycle of poverty through the power of education.

About Rio Tinto –

More than 15,000 Canadians work in over 35 of our locations across the country, making Rio Tinto the largest mining and metallurgical company in the country. Rio Tinto's significant operations in Canada include the extraction and fabrication of alumina, aluminum, iron ore, diamonds and titanium dioxide, as well as exploration, research and development, ports and railways, and hydroelectric facilities in British Columbia and Quebec.

Since its creation in 2008, the Rio Tinto Aluminium Canada Fund has invested over C$10 million annually in major projects and initiatives that improve quality of life in the regions where the company operate.

For more information, please contact:

Colleen Ryan
Director, Marketing and Communications
Pathways to Education Canada
Phone: 416 646 0123 x503
Email: [email protected]  

Claudine Gagnon
Manager, Media Relations & Communications, Canada
Rio Tinto
Phone: 1 514 848 1129  
Email: [email protected]