About Portage


Graduates of Portage Elora’s drug addiction rehabilitation treatment centre for youth were invited to apply for the winter 2016 session of the Ready to Build program, a ten week Pre-Apprenticeship Carpentry Training Program, followed by an eight week work placement. The program, a collaboration between Portage Ontario, the Pre-Apprenticeship Training Institute (PAT), the Christian Labour Association of Canada (CLAC), and the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development, Employment, and Infrastructure, was designed to provide youth with skills and training to prepare for a career in the construction industry.

In addition to their classwork with a Master Carpenter, participants also went on field trips and heard from guest speakers about job opportunities in the trades. The program also taught employability skills such as team building, communication, leadership, problem-solving, and cooperation. A lunch program component was also included, to help participants learn how to make quick and healthy meals before heading to work.

The second group of Ready to Build participants recently completed their training with a volunteer day at a Habitat for Humanity jobsite, where they had the opportunity to practice some of their skills. Some have started jobs and others are eagerly searching for opportunities.

“I just wanted to let you know I’m really enjoying my job so far!” wrote Aidan, a graduate of the program, in a letter to the program’s coordinator, Glenda Rahn. “I also wanted to thank you and all the other staff from PAT, CLAC, and Portage for the amazing opportunity. The shifts are long but because I have so much fun they go by quick. I’m learning a lot and working hard. It’s great getting paid for something that I enjoy doing.”

As the program winds down with the completion of this second group, Portage would like to thank all the collaborators and staff members who helped create an environment for success for each of the youth who participated.

The program was funded by Youth Skills Connections, a Government of Ontario program which seeks to improve the employment prospects of youth facing barriers to employment, and was carried out in partnership with PAT Institute, CLAC, 2nd Chance Employment, the Progressive Contractors Association of Canada (PCA), St. Louis Adult Learning Centre, St. Mary’s Counselling, Grand River Transit, and local food banks.