It’s never too late to earn your diploma

PVNC works with local industry to pair workers with adult-ed opportunities

Jason Cymbaluk, a 35-year-old father-of-four, noticed a flyer in the staff room at McCloskey International that peaked his interest in early 2019.

“Want to be a high school graduate?” the flyer read.

He did. Over the years, Cymbaluk had made inroads into earning his high school diploma, but he could never seem to get the last credit he required. He had tried attending adult education centres in the past, but was turned off when they could not accommodate his full-time work schedule.

Now, through a partnership with his employer and the Peterborough Victoria Northumberland and Clarington (PVNC) Catholic District School Board, Cymbaluk had the opportunity to earn his last credit while working full time at his job in the company’s motor component unit.

He jumped at it, and in June Cymbaluk attended a graduation ceremony, threw his cap in the air, and became the first graduate of the Board’s new adult education program.

“To be part of that experience was a pretty neat thing…it was definitely pretty cool to actually be able to throw the cap in the air and say ‘it’s done,’” Cymbaluk said. “It was always something I had looming over my head. I always had jobs where I never really needed to have my high school diploma…but it was a sense of personal accomplishment, I really wanted to get it done, I want to set a good example for my kids. I want to make sure they saw that I could do it.”

If you are an adult (18 years or older), have been out of a regular day school for a minimum of 10 consecutive months, and interested in obtaining your High School Diploma (OSSD), you may be eligible for Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR).

“It was definitely pretty cool to actually be able to throw the cap in the air and say ‘it’s done.”

Jason Cymbaluk earned his high school diploma through a partnership with PVNC and his employer.

McCloskey International has been a strong partner with PVNC, supporting the Board’s Specialist High Skills Major and Ontario Youth Apprenticeship programs and making a sizeable donation of welding booths to our secondary schools to advance the skilled trades.

The mobile aggregate crushing and screening equipment maker has a 410,000-square foot facility just east of Peterborough and is now also partnering with PVNC to provide employees who require it a chance to earn their high school diploma.

“It’s a win-win, all around,” said Joe Sullivan, the company’s human resources manager. “For the employees, it can provide a real sense of accomplishment and we’re happy to support that. In this industry, there is a lot of innovation required, so you want to keep people growing. If they are not growing than they’re stale and if they’re stale, then they’re looking for other places to go.”

Robert Gray, 27, works in the paint shop at McCloskey. A medical issue prevented him from completing high school and he has long wanted to earn his diploma. He saw the same flyer as Cymbaluk and learned he was a candidate for Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR).

PLAR is the formal evaluation and credit-granting process whereby students may obtain up to 26 credits for prior learning. Prior learning includes the knowledge and skills that students have acquired in both formal and informal ways, outside of secondary school.

“A lot of people may not be aware that even if they’re lacking in traditional high school credits, through PLAR they may be eligible to earn credits for work history and skillsets learned in the workforce or through skills developed in everyday life such as parenting,” said Lisa Cole, PVNC principal of continuing, adult, and experiential learning. “And we’re here to help and guide adult learners through that process. We’re just a call, email or text away and we live by our motto – your future, our priority.”

Since January, Gray has been completing his assessments while working full time and is now only two credits shy of the 30 he requires to earn his diploma. He hopes to finish the program by the end of the summer.

“It feels good, really good. I wanted to be able to say I did it, that I have it,” he said. “I’m interested in further advancing my career.”

Cymbaluk said he hopes his experience can inspire other adults in the same situation to learn more about adult education and take steps to earn their high school diploma. McCloskey currently has 13 employees going through the program with PVNC.

“It was seamless, it worked out great,” Cymbaluk said.

 

Background:

  • PVNC began to offer adult education programing in 2019.
  • We are serving students in all four major jurisdictions that the Board serves – Peterborough and County, Northumberland, Clarington and Kawartha Lakes.

 

If you would like to make an appointment to learn more about PLAR or Adult and Continuing Education learning opportunities, please contact:

Lisa Cole
Principal of Continuing, Adult, and Experiential Learning
Tel: 1-800-461-8009 Ext. 172
Text: 705-748-6639
Email: adulteducation@pvnccdsb.on.ca