Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Cineplex Odeon - Worth the ticket price at least this time.

Jess and I saw the movie Rendition
This is a note about Scotiabank Theater where we saw the movie. At the top of the escalator, we were greeted by a young man in a wheelchair employed to greet people as they entered the theater. I don't know what it was about this young man but Jess and I were really moved by the fact that he was employed as a greeter.

I think we're all prone to griping about the cost of a movie ticket these days (not to mention paying $12 to sit and be advertised to for a good 5 minutes before even the trailers begin) but here is Cineplex Odeon employing people who have to overcome significant barriers to do their jobs.

I decided to learn more about how this program came to be.

I found out that a program called Gordon House Youth SEARCh (Seeking Employment and Resources for Change) provides training and resources for "at-risk" youth. Typically, I think of "at-risk" as being drug-addicted street youth, but in speaking to Julio Bello who is the Program Manager for this initiative, he informed me that "at-risk" covers a far wider spectrum.

Julio told me that when he began speaking with Jason De Courcy, the Operations Department Director of BC for Cineplex Odeon that Jason was very enthusiastic about being able to participate in placing Julio's at-risk clients at Cineplex theaters.

The program involves 8-weeks of on-site training which gives an opportunity for the young person to gain tangible, resume-building skills and make an impression on their employer. Julio told me that most of the people who enter the on-site training become employed by the sponsoring employer.

In speaking with a Manager at the Scotiabank Theater (where we saw Rendition), I'm told that there are six employees currently employed at that one theater who have participated in this type of job-training program.

I'm a big fan of this type of program and encouraged that Cineplex understands the community benefit (both to their employees and to its customers) of supporting this type of initiative.

I asked Julio what the program needs in terms of support and computers are in great demand. He needs to find 12 computers of similar make, model, OS etc that his clients can use for developing resumes, conducting online job searches etc. At present time, there is such a hodge-podge of old equipment that it's completely unmanageable. Any local computer merchant or company upgrading their computers want to donate 12 computers?

I'll give the donor tons of profile if they do.

Next time you're seeing a movie at Cineplex and see one of these greeters, please be sure to tell them and their managers what a great job they're doing!

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