Education closes the opportunity gap
for low-income students
In our knowledge-based global economy, students need a higher education to secure their future. And organizations like Ernst & Young, as well as our clients and our greater communities, need to recruit a talented workforce in every country where they do business.
Yet a post-secondary education is out of reach for many young people. Consider these facts from The Price of Knowledge: Access and Student Finance in Canada, 2009.
- The poverty rate — or percentage of low-income families — is twice as high for families headed by someone without a university degree as it is for those headed by someone with a university degree.
- Compared with other Canadians, Aboriginal peoples are twice as likely to not complete high school, and are three times less likely to have a university degree.
- Across Canada, the rate of post-secondary participation has declined since 1997, when 71% of 18–24 year olds were enrolled or had graduated. In 2006, only 61% of those aged 25–64 had completed some form of post-secondary education.
As one of the world’s great global training organizations, we help our people realize their full potential. And through educational programs and outreach, we are able to help young people in the communities around us realize their potential as well. Below are just a few examples of ways we are helping to expand access to education.
Canadian Post-Secondary Access Partnership
We are the Founding Corporate Sponsor of the YMCA-led Canadian Post-Secondary Access Partnership (CPSAP) — a cross-Canada network of YMCAs, secondary schools, post-secondary institutions, community groups, employers and others who help Canadians obtain a post-secondary education.
Our firm is the National Volunteer Partner of the CPSAP’s You Can Go program, primarily based in YMCA centres across Canada. It supports students from low-income, Aboriginal and first-generation immigrant backgrounds. Currently, our people volunteer their time to provide one-one-one advice to students and their families about navigating higher education. They also speak at You Can Go workshops, where they share their personal, professional and educational experiences to promote the value of post-secondary education.
How top companies can transform education
Businesses can play a leading role in transforming education. Read our research-based white paper and executive summary on best-practice corporate interventions, or watch the archived webcast of a panel discussion of business leaders who are teaming with local schools to strengthen the schools and improve the quality of education.
The Martin Aboriginal Education Initiative
Our people in our Vancouver and Edmonton offices volunteer with the Martin Aboriginal Education Initiative — a charitable organization that helps Aboriginal students complete high school and move on to post-secondary education across Canada.
Our people volunteer their time as mentors for Grade 9 and 10 students who are interested in becoming accountants. The students also have the opportunity to job shadow our people at the office and participate in our firm-sponsored community events.
At Ernst & Young, support for helping students from low-income and under-represented communities finish high school and move on to post-secondary education comes from the top. Our firm’s leaders are passionate about inspiring our people to get involved — and about encouraging other businesses across Canada to do the same.
Read former Ernst & Young LLP Chairman and CEO Lou Pagnutti’s article, Calling on corporate Canada to champion education, published in The Globe and Mail.
Mentorship drives future success
Ernst & Young is the Volunteer Partner of the Boys and Girls Club of London’s My Action Plan to Education program. Our people from the London office mentor high-school students — helping them achieve access to post-secondary education.
Empowering young people
Our Calgary office is involved with the mPower Youth Mentoring program, administered by Big Brothers and Big Sisters. Our people mentor high-school students in an effort to encourage them to stay in school and become responsible citizens. They meet with their matched students once a week to help with homework, and provide professional and personal advice.
Leaders of Tomorrow
Ernst & Young supports the Black Business and Professional Association’s Leaders of Tomorrow program, which is designed to help disadvantaged black high-school students in the Greater Toronto Area enhance their career opportunities through scholarships, career and life-skills counselling. Our people speak at the program’s workshops, sharing their post-secondary and professional experiences with students.
Please note: Ernst & Young does not accept unsolicited requests for funding or volunteer engagements.