BROCKTON – Launch Pad offers area youth a hands-on introduction to careers in technology and the skilled trades.
Emily Morrison, Launch Pad’s executive director, provided Brockton council with an update on what’s been happening at the facility.
“The focus is on youth aged 12-18,” she said. “There’s a kitchen, welding shop and carpentry shop where youth can explore careers that are needed in our community,” she said.
While based in Hanover, Launch Pad is used by youth throughout the area, and is the destination for field trips.
The challenges of COVID-19 led to the launch of “What’s Your 9 to 5” podcast. Morrison said Launch Pad has just started to get back to after-school programming again. Other programming includes summer holiday programs and co-op placement opportunities.
She noted that free transportation is provided to the Hanover facility for Brockton youth interested in the after-school programs. Provincial funding for transportation has been extended to March 2025, she said.
That was one element of the presentation that piqued the interest of several council members. Arrangements can be made to have the shuttle drop off youth at a central location in Brockton or at their homes.
This past summer saw the creation of a “social enterprise” – a revenue-generating organization whose objective is to have a social impact. “We had an ice cream truck,” said Morrison. It was located at Launch Pad. Seven youth were hired to operate it. “They were given the opportunity to become entrepreneurs,” Morrison added.
“Social procurement” is another area being explored through Launch Pad programming. It’s described as “a global movement that occurs when governments buy goods and services with additional benefits from social enterprises.” Launch Pad has piloted sale of different products the students have created. Morrison told council, “If you’re in the market for a picnic table or bike rack (or park benches, or garden boxes), consider buying from us.”
Current customers include Neptune Scoops, Grey County Sydenham Campus and the Lucknow Agricultural Society.
“Youth are learning skills, teamwork... and safety,” Morrison said.
During the question-and-answer session that followed her presentation, Morrison noted a lot of females are involved in Launch Pad programs. Another program that’s in the works is electrical.
Various council members expressed interest in perhaps purchasing picnic tables, and maybe taking that ice cream truck on the road.
Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times