‘Practice firm’ still seeking participants

The so-called “practice firm” project at Confederation College here, which will see local participants running a virtual company, still is looking for the last few participants to get it off the ground.
“We’re still trying to get enough interest to launch the project,” campus manager Don Lovisa said Monday. “We need more people.”
The practice firm is a virtual marketplace where participants operate a businesses with some of the 3,500 other “firms” in 35 countries.
  With positions available for everything from accounting and marketing to human resources and graphic design, participants learn all areas of how a business functions by running their own virtual company.
The college is trying to encourage more people to sign up for the 14 spots available in the pilot project through a mass mailing next week. So far, 12 people have filled out the initial application.
“We’ll spend the next couple of weeks promoting it and I’m optimistic the numbers will come up,” Lovisa said.
The college has been in contact with Ontario Works and the Aboriginal Business Council, as well as hosted information sessions throughout the district.
“The response has been very positive and generally people are very excited,” Lovisa noted. “All we have to do now is get people to sign on the dotted line.”
The pilot program has not been at a standstill while the colleges looks for participants. Lovisa said they already have identified and are negotiating for a location for the “practice firm.”
“We’re also developing job descriptions and ads for those three [staffing] positions. We’re hoping to have them hired in February,” Lovisa added.
“We hope to have the firm participants and staff in place by March.”
Lovisa said the “practice firm,” which offers up to 20 weeks of free hands-on training, will help get people over one of the biggest hurtles to finding employment.
“We’re giving them the experience you need to get a job,” he explained.
The “practice firm,” currently being funded for a year by Human Resources Development Canada, is open to those who currently are unemployed or under-employed (those working less than 15 hours a week).
Lovisa said landing the project here is quite an achievement for Fort Frances.
“This shows that Fort Frances is on the leading edge,” he noted. “We’re the only community between Ottawa and B.C. that has a ‘practice firm.’
“What with hosting the World Health Organization conference and having an international training centre, Fort Frances is definitely out there,” Lovisa stressed.