Daniel Nolan,The Hamilton Spectator

Justin Evangelista, 15, and Amanda Pope, 17, were the night's big winners at the 2nd annual MIGHTY Pitch contest Thursday night at the McMaster Innovation Park.

Hamilton Spectator

By Daniel Nolan 

There was the idea of bringing drones to customers — it's called Yaw Dynamics and was being pitched by Brandon Boragno of St. Thomas More Catholic High School.

Then there was Anthony Sanchez of Nora Frances Henderson High School. He pitched the idea of "turning waste into gold" with his company called Sanchez Circuits.

But the one that grabbed the judge's attention was an idea from Justin Evangelista regarding online games. It was called Deadline Developers and involved linking company websites to games to help attract customers and build up web traffic.

Evangelista, 15, and a Grade 10 student at St. Thomas More, won the judge's prize in the 2nd annual MIGHTY (Mentors in Greater Hamilton Teaching Youth) Pitch program Thursday night at the McMaster Innovation Park.

The People's Choice prize went to Amanda Pope, 17, a Grade 11 student at St. Jean de Brebeuf Catholic High School. Her company was called BibliCare and revolved around providing elderly care services with Christian inspiration. Honourable mention went to Kundai Mariga of St. Thomas More for her company called Nail Nibblers.

MIGHTY is a partnership between the Industry-Education Council of Hamilton and the Innovation Factory. The award program followed 13 weeks where participants were taught the basics of starting their own business through a series of workshops.

Twenty students competed in MIGHTY Pitch and a chance to enter a program run by the Ministry of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure and receive a $3,000 grant to operate a business. Last year, three of the recipients for the 100 grant allocations came from MIGHTY.

Judges and IEC co-ordinators were amazed by the business ideas.

"It's amazing what high school students can do," said David Carter of the Innovation Factory. IEC project co-ordinator Alex Ramirez told the students, "There's one winner for the judge's choice, but I want to let you know you are all winners tonight."

Evangelista said he felt "amazing" after hearing his name announced by the judges. He said he almost didn't join MIGHTY because he didn't believe entrepreneurship was for him, but he has since learned he likes it and plans to have his own business one day.

"I believe I have got a very good start," he said.

Pope said she got the idea for her company after her 95-year-old grandfather had five heart attacks last year. She and her family pitched in to help him and it inspired her to help other elderly people "to let them know they still have life in them."

AuthorLorenzo Somma

Prom Project Hamilton

Prom Project Hamilton (PPH) is a one day, two site location event that was created by the HWDSB Foundation to assist students in need with formal wear for their proms, graduations, formals and other special events so they can attend their events feeling stylish, confident and proud. Prom Project Hamilton does not require any proof of financial need, and promotes a positive and inclusive environment, created to support those students with formal needs who may choose not to attend their special event because of financial challenges. All items are new or gently used from the private and business communities and are free of charge to all clients. All clients are treated with respect, dignity and are assisted by volunteers who are dedicated to supporting students and making the experience an impactful journey towards their upcoming milestone event.

Proudly Sponsored by Johnson Insurance Inc.


Johnson has been delivering high quality home and auto insurance to Canadians for more than 130 years.  Today they are one of the country’s leading and fastest growing providers of insurance products and benefits. Their success is a direct result of their focus on doing what’s right for their customers and employees.  Call now for your quote.  Home + Auto Insurance 1-855-572-0225 FREE or visit  

If you are a student who could use this program, please join us…

Saturday, May 2, 2015 from 9:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.

  • Sir Allan MacNab Secondary School (145 Magnolia Drive, Hamilton)
  • Delta Secondary School (1284 Main Street East, Hamilton)

What’s available to visiting students?

  • Female Formal Wear – Gowns, Dresses, Skirts / Tops
  • Male Formal Wear – Suits, Dress Shirts, Vests, Dress Pants, Ties
  • Accessories, shoes, jewellry, shawls, purses, hygiene products
  • Hairstylists, Dry Cleaners,  Flower shops vouchers

On-site: People there applying make-up and showing make-up tips and demonstrating fun up-dos.

Seamstresses: To help combat minor fitting problems, seamstresses are recruited for the day to do on-site alterations for the outfits.

To drop off your new or gently used donations, please visit:

  • Grover Dental Care, 11 Rebecca Street #110
  • Eva Rothwell Resource Centre, 460 Wentworth Street North
  • Delta Secondary School, 1284 Main Street East
  • Brokerlink, 78 Queenston Road
  • Apple Tree Health and Wellness, 409 Charlton Ave West
  • Vogue Models & Talent Mgmt, 136 Locke Street South, 2nd Floor
  • Coldwell Banker Pinnacle Real Estate, 318 Dundurn Street South
  • Allegra Print and Imaging, 255 York Boulevard
  • Grover Dental Care,  1 Hayden Street
  • Coldwell Banker Pinnacle Real Estate, 775 Upper Wentworth Street
  • MacNab Secondary School,  145 Magnolia Drive
  • Royal Lepage State Realty, 987 Rymal Road East
  • Grover Dental Care, 723 Rymal Road West, Suite
  • Keekee & Rose, 5 Mill St. South, Waterdown

If you would like to donate, but have nothing left in the closet, please consider making a donation to the program by printing this donor card and sending to the Foundation Office or by an online donation.

Volunteering at Prom Project Hamilton

This program depends on volunteers to help us recruit the items needed, to assist with cash donations to run the program and to be there at  one of the two sites to run the day and make it as special as possible for our visiting students.  Learn more about Prom Project Hamilton Volunteers.

AuthorLorenzo Somma
CategoriesProm Project

The Ontario Civil Construction Careers Institute is excited to announce that we have created a new resource for students. The pathway document provides insight on the various pathways a student can take to enter into a specific career in the construction industry. This resource visually shows what high school requirements are required, the education pathways to lead to their dream job and information on the possible employers.

The pathways resource is now available for download on our website. Just click on the link below to access:

Hamilton Spectator

By Meredith MacLeod 

Rosie the Riveter was such a perfect symbol for their cause, the advocates of a new awareness campaign aimed at improving the lot of women in the trades couldn't believe it hadn't been used before.

Hamilton ironworker and welder Jamie McMillan is co-founder of the Workplace Equality (WE) awareness campaign. Its ribbons are red with white polka dots, just like the bandana worn by the iconic Rosie in the wartime poster recruiting women to work in factories.

Of course, those wartime women were quickly shooed out of the factories once the war was over, but the WE campaign is aimed at helping women find their way and stay in trades jobs.

McMillan says lack of affordable childcare will be the first issue tackled because tradespeople — men and women — struggle to find options.

The jobs are rarely nine to five and often involve being called in for emergencies after hours. For some, there is a lot of travel, too.

She says that's a barrier for some to enter the trades and forces others out when they can't find suitable care for their kids.

McMillan has learned first-hand the power of women in trades when they band together.

"Social media is changing the world for women. We have our own little world on social media. We are each other's mentors," said McMillan, who is almost always the only woman on a job site. When she yearns to commiserate with other women working trades, she picks up her phone on a break or lunch.

"Within minutes, people from around the world, all ages, all trades are offering their help. I call these girls my reinforcement troops."

Pat Williams, co-founder of the WE campaign, worked as an operating engineer for building maintenance for 32 years before retiring.

When she arrived at her first job site, her male co-workers bet on how long she'd last. The longest guess was two weeks.

She says much has changed and women in trades are better connected than ever before.

Peer support is critical, she said.

"The isolation in the trades is huge," said Williams, who lives in Los Angeles.

"A lot of families don't want us in these trades. They don't know how to support us."

McMillan and Williams are working on getting charitable status and trademarking their polka-dot ribbons. There are business plans to draw up and lobbying of government and industry to organize.

McMillan already actively promotes careers in the construction trades to girls with an organization she founded called Journeyman. She says it was a chance encounter with a high-school friend shortly after she moved to Hamilton in 2002 that changed the course of her career.

At 28, she was serving in bars and restaurants after deciding her job as a personal support worker was too emotionally draining.

On an impulse, she followed her friend's advice and looked at a trade. She has been a journeyman ironworker and welder for 12 years.

She's worked at both of Hamilton's steel mills and area power plants, along with the oilsands and potash mines.

She's worked on sites where there was no women's washroom and had to make do with coveralls and gloves that didn't fit well because they were made for men.

About four per cent of the 500,000 Canadians employed in construction trades in 2012 are women, according to Statistics Canada. McMillan doesn't expect to see 50 per cent but hopes 10 per cent is achievable.

She urges girls to have an open mind about what they want to do with their lives. If it's the trades, she offers advice: Have a thick skin and a sense of humour.

"I tell them they want to draw attention to themselves, not for being a woman, but by being a hell of a good worker."

AuthorLorenzo Somma

J♀urneyman is a national program that promotes, supports and mentors women in the skilled construction trades.

J♀urneyman™ © 2015 By Jamie McMillan…Journeyman – Women of the Building Trades Journeyman Ironworker – Local 736 Hamilton Ontario Canada

I grew up in Timmins, a small town up in northern Ontario, Canada with my parents and 2 sisters. We owned an old apartment house with a few spare rooms. My parents had big hearts and volunteered endless hours to the church, community, at risk youth, low income families, and so on. They took in foster kids, aboriginal school students, and troubled teens.

They provided a fun-filled loving home to any and all who were in need. As a young teen I remember always being asked to set an extra place setting at the dinner table in case someone in need stopped by or Dad brought someone over for a home cooked meal and warm place to spend a night. In the late 90’s my Mom became terminally ill. Our focus changed from others to her.

Amidst the commotion and hustle bustle of our busy home my parents were also workaholics. Neither could sit still for more than a minute. Our home was continuously under construction and there was always something going on that I was invited to participate in. I’d hang out with Mom doing demolition, wiring, and painting; or I’d tag along with Dad hanging dry wall, building things, and collecting/piling firewood.

It took me years to realize the impact my upbringing would have on my life.

In school I had a hard time concentrating and sitting still. I was never book smart. I was always a mechanically inclined hands on learner. The thought of college or university made my toes curl. In the early 90’s the education system was heading into the ‘computer’ era. I had no interest. I wanted to be a miner like my father but was discouraged by its absence of women. My mother (a nurse) encouraged me to pursue a career in health care. In 1994 I applied to the shortest program offered at the community college and became a personal support worker.

For the next 8 years I worked in health care part time and served food and drinks at various restaurants and pubs to make some extra cash. After a move to the big city I became extremely unsatisfied with my career path and found myself sinking into a depression. I didn’t want to go back to school but I knew I needed a change. In 2002 I began an ironworking apprenticeship after being inspired over a curbside conversation with an old classmate who had completed an apprenticeship. The opportunity to earn while I learned with hands on training and great wages was perfect for me.

In a few short weeks I fell in love with my job. I loved the physical and mental challenge, the constant changing/evolving workload, and being one of the boys. I’d wished I had known about trades in high school.

I became extremely passionate about promoting opportunities in the skilled trades to others. I began networking with those in trades communities across Canada and the U.S.A. to better understand and identify the needs and challenges for outreach and recruitment. I built relationships with both current trades men, women, and retirees that offered historical perspectives dating back to the 1970's. After much research and a few brainstorming sessions I solidified my program ideas and visions and officially found J♀urneyman™ in 2012.

J♀urneyman is a grass roots initiative represented by journeyman and/or apprentices. It creates awareness to influence those of all ages and walks of life to consider careers in construction trades through mentorship, outreach, and support. The target outreach is schools, charities, community outreach, at risk youth, single parents, low-income families, women in trades, visible minorities, etc.

Although it offers gender-neutral programs the specific focus is to educate and encourage women to pursue opportunities in the construction trades. The objective is to speak honestly about the opportunities and challenges of various career paths in the industry. Trades are not for everyone so it’s important not to sugar coat them. However, mechanical advantages and modern equipment have made trades easier for everyone. Safety plays a significant role in promoting job site awareness. Employers are providing proper training, PPE, and equipment that is ergonomically friendly to do our jobs properly with no risk of injury. We are working smarter, not harder by using our brains, not our backs.

Although some people feel the name J♀urneyman is politically incorrect and have questioned it as the program name I am proud of it. Journeyman is a STATUS, not a GENDER. It’s a certificate we earn from long hours and hard work; I respect and embrace it as a gender-neutral term. I’m not looking for special treatment. I want to be treated with respect and given equal opportunity and recognition.

In the beginning I had big hopes and dreams but no money to run a successful program or develop the company. I began to look to industry for funding and support to film a documentary about Women in Trades, hoping that it could be used as a platform to raise awareness and bring in revenue that could be used to turn my ideas into reality. I could hire a business strategist, build programs, develop a website, create marketing materials, and eventually hire a team of tradeswomen representatives to work tradeshows, events, charities, and promote the trades in many different aspects including videos and presentations for school kids and so on.

I began to form alliances within industry, organizations, and schools. My sister Liza made a call to my hometown newspaper to set up an interview that made the front page headline. That led to a series of media exposure from broadcast news, magazines, and a commercial. The sisters in the trades advocated strongly on my behalf. Within a short time social media was buzzing with positive posts and feedback.

In January of 2013 I entered into an exclusive joint partnership with the Canadian Building Trades Union (CBTU) office. Together with their resources, my ideas and visions, and the support and funding of the 14 International Building Trades Unions across Canada J♀urneyman became the national women in trades program under their umbrella. The program proved to be a great success. In early 2014 they hired a national team of amazing tradeswomen to advocate as representatives on behalf of the program and the Canadian trades unions. After a 2-year partnership I have decided to move on from the exclusive partnership with the Canadian Building Trades Unions to expand and form new partnerships to better serve the founding principles of J♀urneyman.

Currently, I continue to take on skills-intensive projects as a proud union ironworker/welder, and represent J♀urneyman™ as the founder/primary spokesperson through outreach and advocacy. On my days off I attend local, provincial, national, and international events often as volunteer, keynote speaker, or panel speaker. I often run workshops, work trades show booths, or advocate and promote in any way I can. I work closely with the Canadian Welding Association/Foundation, the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP), Skills Ontario/Canada, and many other organizations, schools, and programs. I’m always searching for new partnerships and opportunity to better serve my mission, vision, and strategic plan for growth.

It’s been an amazing few years. I can’t even begin to express how positively I have been affected. Advocating’s made a huge impact on my life. Along my journey I often questioned my true motives. In the beginning I viewed it more as a job that could one day provide a comfortable living/salary. Although it was important for me to educate young men and women about opportunity it wasn’t until I began doing volunteer community outreach with at risk youth, low income families, and single parents that I truly started to feel the blessings that came along with selflessly helping people. I started to recall my upbringing and recognized that my life’s path was destined to find a way back to my roots.

I want to give special thanks to those of you that continue to support, encourage, and stand by me in solidarity. You are the reason why J♀urneyman is a success. I depend on my friends, family, and those of you in the trade’s community to share my story and promote my work. At times it gets hard and I want to give up but I have a strong network of reinforcement troops that are quick to offer mentorship and reassurance when I need it. I want to make each of you proud through my passion, outreach, and advocacy.

Together we are making a difference and creating positive change.

© 2015 Jamie McMillan (Although the website is under construction please feel free to check out and like the Facebook Page or for more information please contact Jamie McMillan )

AuthorLorenzo Somma


Sudbury Chamber of Commerce:

Performance in strategic sectors of the economy requires individuals equipped with the specialized skills to leverage new technologies and develop new applications that respond to emerging opportunities in the marketplace. Research shows that these specialized skills can best be conferred through experiential, hands-on learning that provides students with exposure to – and an opportunity to learn in – the business environment. The provincial government has an opportunity to propel Ontario to the forefront of innovation by adopting policies that specifically address the demand for experiential learning in Ontario society.

An innovation economy constantly produces new, highly skilled, knowledge-based jobs to support advancements in emerging sectors such as green energy, telecommunications, and digital media. These jobs require individuals with advanced education and specialized skills to leverage new technologies and develop new applications that respond to emerging opportunities in the marketplace. A labour force equipped with the skills and competencies to fill in-demand roles is a key pillar of innovation.

For several years, the OCC has advocated for renewed investment in post-secondary education (PSE) in order to bring per capita funding in line with the Canadian average and guarantee all Ontario students a top quality education. While achieving a more internationally competitive level of annual operating funding will continue to be a key measure of Ontario’s success in driving innovation and human capital formation, it is not simply the level of skills but the types of skills our society possesses that will be responsible for our future success.

Employers from both urban and rural parts of the province identify a deficit of technical, entrepreneurial, and management skills among recent graduates as a significant barrier to seizing new business opportunities.

Evidence suggests that the skills required to capitalize on new opportunities in the marketplace can best be acquired through applied learning opportunities which supplement classroom instruction with firsthand experience of the business environment and business culture. The Ontario Business Education Partnership has found that experiential learning programs deliver positive impacts for students, businesses and local economies, helping to address the ever-increasing demand for workers with higher levels of education, skills and experience. Ontario businesses view work-integrated learning as an important route to improved productivity and enhanced career choices in the 21st century

There is a need for greater opportunities for experiential learning within the provincial education system. In recent years, the Government of Ontario has taken steps to expand experiential learning opportunities across Ontario. The Ministry of Education now requires all school boards to offer school-work programs to interested high-school students, and high school students can now include up to two cooperative credits in their mandatory credits for their Ontario Secondary School Diploma. The Ministry of Finance offers financial support to businesses that want to take part in co-operative education and apprenticeship programs in the form of tax credits. However, there is much more the government can do to increase participation in experiential learning by students and employers.

New paradigms and models are needed which emphasize the importance and relay the benefits of experiential learning to all stakeholders. A policy-framework that supports experiential learning recognizes that experiential learning begins with kindergarten and continues all the way through to post-secondary education. A full typology of experiential learning programs includes:

•    Corporate Mentorship
•    Apprenticeships
•    Field experience
•    Mandatory professional practice
•    Co-op
•    Internships
•    Applied research projects
•    Service learning

The Ontario government has an important role to play in integrating experiential learning into the fabric of the provincial education system. The government can support the growth of an experiential learning culture through:

•    raising awareness of the benefits of experiential learning for students and employers
•    enhancing the role of business education and employer mentorship at the elementary and high school levels
•    more flexible financial incentives for experiential learning at the post-secondary level
•    creating more opportunities for students to participate in experiential learning within the Ontario public service


The Ontario Chamber of Commerce urges the Government of Ontario to:

1.    Through the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Training, Colleges, and Universities, launch a province-wide education initiative to foster greater awareness of and participation in “experiential learning” at all levels, in order to equip students with the practical, business-related skills required to make a seamless transition from the classroom to the workplace.

2.    Through the Ministry of Education, work with education professionals and the employer community to identify opportunities and determine funding requirements for further integrating business education and employer mentorship programs into curricula and extra-curricular activities at the elementary and secondary school levels.

3.    Through the Ministry of Finance, encourage innovative industry-academia partnerships through more flexible financial incentives which recognize the full typology of experiential learning programs

4.    Lead by example through the creation of inter-disciplinary experiential learning opportunities within the Ontario Public Service (MRI, MEDT, MOE, MOH, MOF, MCSS etc.).

- See more at:

AuthorLorenzo Somma

On November 6, 2014, the government passed Bill 18, Stronger Workplaces for a Stronger Economy Act, 2014. The Bill amends a number of Ontario’s labour and employment statutes, with meaningful changes including:

• Expanding the definition of worker to ensure Occupational Health and Safety Act coverage for 
unpaid co-op students and other unpaid learners, which will give them protection under the OHSA 
such as the right to know about workplace hazards and the right to refuse unsafe work

• Holding temporary help agencies and their employer clients accountable for certain employment standards violations, such as failure to pay regular wages, overtime pay, and public holiday entitlements

• Expanding employment protections to cover all foreign employees who come to Ontario under 
an immigration or foreign temporary employee program

For access to Bill 18, please visit: Here 

AuthorLorenzo Somma

A new president has been named for ArcelorMittal Dofasco.

Sean Donnelly, who has been with the company since 1981, is a McMaster graduate and active in the community.

The appointment, to replace Jim Baske, was announced by the company Wednesday.

Before his appointment as president and chief executive officer, Donnelly held several management jobs, including positions as vice-president of manufacturing, vice-president technology, director of quality systems and manufacturing technology, general manager of market development and product applications, new product development process owner, galvanize technology business unit manager and operations foreman.

He joined Dofasco in 1981 as a production engineer in Galvanize after graduating from McMaster University with a degree in metallurgical engineering.

In the community, he is a member of several boards, including Baycoat, a subsidiary of ArcelorMittal Dofasco, McMaster's board of governors, the McMaster Innovation Park and the Royal Botanical Gardens.

Donnelly takes over a company recently honoured with a Canada Award for Excellence in the Healthy Workplace category, achieving a gold standard based on its "comprehensive and holistic approach to wellness."

Dofasco was the only steel company and one of only two manufacturing companies to receive the award.

He will also head a company in solid financial shape – earlier this year workers were told they would get the highest incentive and profit sharing payouts in a decade, some of which goes to retirement savings, which for an employee earning $70,000 was nearly $20,000.

AMD is also in the midst of a $273 million program of investments in its Hamilton operations, including an $87-million upgrade to its coke ovens, $153-million on its Number 6 galvanizing line and the $33-million temper mill.

The oldest of its coke batteries, which have angered neighbours for years with emissions, is to be closed in March.

Baske began his career in 1981 at LTV Steel. He then joined Copperweld as vice-president of operations in 2002. Copperweld was then acquired by Dofasco which was itself acquired by ArcelorMittal.

905-526-3496 | @arnoldatTheSpec

AuthorLorenzo Somma

HWDSB Chair Jessica Brennan has announced that Director of Education Dr. John Malloy will begin new duties as Assistant Deputy Minister, Leadership and Learning Environment at the Ministry of Education.

“During the five and a half years that John has served as our Director, we have seen incredible progress on priorities such as student achievement, engagement and equity,” Brennan said.

“On behalf of the entire Board of Trustees, I thank John for his great leadership and wish him the best in this new and exciting step in his career.”

Brennan said that HWDSB has a clear strategic direction thanks to Malloy’s leadership and close work with the Board of Trustees. This direction will continue to guide work at HWDSB, as Trustees prepare next steps in the succession plan.

“John has worked tirelessly and put HWDSB on the map whenever educators talk about mental health strategies, accelerating learning with technology, and the focus on student achievement that comes from a brilliant and thoughtful educator,” Brennan said.

She said highlights of Malloy’s time at HWDSB have included: pre-K to Grade 2 oral language and literacy strategy; leadership development; the secondary program strategy and facilities master plan; the mental health strategy and Transforming Learning Everywhere.

“We will miss John greatly and appreciate all of his work at HWDSB, but are also confident that our journey toward success will continue as he takes this next step.”

Malloy’s last day at HWDSB will be December 19, 2014.

AuthorLorenzo Somma