‘Practice firm’ delayed a month

The “practice firm” project at Confederation College here, which will see participants operating a virtual company, won’t start as planned next week.
Delays in signing the final contract with Human Resources Development Canada, which is funding the project for the first year, pushed back the opening of the international program’s local branch previously scheduled for the beginning of March.
“All the t’s are crossed and all the i’s dotted,” campus manager Don Lovisa said Monday. “[We] hope to have the practice firm start in mid-April.”
The college already has received enough applications to fill the 14 positions available in the program, which features a virtual marketplace where participants operate a business with some of the 3,500 other “firms” in 35 countries.
Renovations for its office space on Scott Street will start Monday (March 4), and Lovisa said they will begin hiring the three employees to run the firm in the next few weeks.
“One of the goals of the people we hire is to develop strategies of how to expand into the region,” he noted. “We’re always looking at other ways to expand this to other parts of Northwestern Ontario.”
Lovisa hopes using technology and creating satellite “practice firms” in Kenora, Dryden, and Thunder Bay will allow more people in the region access to this free hands-on training.
HRDC currently has committed $400,000 for the program’s pilot year, with about $500,000 for the next two years if the “practice firm” proves successful.
“The measure [of success] is employment,” Lovisa explained. “We want to help people have the training and help find employment.
“It’s not just employment, it’s also re-employment,” he added, explaining many people in the program may be under-employed at present.
Despite the delay, Lovisa said he’s very excited this international program will be starting up in Fort Frances. “We’re very confident it’s going to be successful,” he enthused.