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Creating A Future Through Education Key For Aboriginal Youth: RBC Report

RBC releases sixth annual Aboriginal Partnership Report ahead of National Aboriginal Day on June 21

TORONTO, June 17, 2014 /CNW/ - Investing in education is critical to fostering strong and healthy Aboriginal communities. However, while successful education completion is on the rise among Aboriginal peoples, a gap still remains compared with the rest of Canada. According to Statistics Canada's 2011 National Household Survey, 22.81 per cent of Aboriginal peoples aged 25 to 64 reported high school as their highest level of education (up from 21 per cent in 2006) and almost one-half (48.4 per cent) completed post-secondary qualification, up from 44 per cent in the 2006 Census. These results compare with 89 per cent of Canada's non-Aboriginal population holding at least a high school diploma, and 64 per cent attaining post-secondary qualification.

To help grow Aboriginal peoples' educational and workforce participation, and ultimately strengthen Canada's competitiveness and economic prosperity, this gap must close faster. That is why supporting innovative programs which help students achieve their goals remains a priority for RBC, and why this focus is highlighted in A Chosen Journey: RBC Aboriginal Partnership Report released today.

In 2014, the RBC After School Grants Project's investment in a new after-school program at Eleanor W. Graham Middle School in New Brunswick yielded strong impact based results supporting student learning. When asked why students enjoyed attending school, 85 percent of students identified the RBC After School Grants Project as the reason for increased attendance and higher levels of engagement. With the right resources and knowledge, overcoming educational barriers and challenges is not only possible, but can be repeated successfully from coast to coast to coast.

"I have seen firsthand the difference education can make," says Chinyere Eni, national director, Aboriginal Markets, RBC. "Through grants and donations towards after-school programs, extracurricular activities and financial literacy awareness programs, RBC has been able to promote and support youth education in Indigenous communities across Canada. These are the stepping stones that support the proactive engagement of Indigenous youth in not only education but also in community."

RBC believes education is a cornerstone to helping shape the future for today's Aboriginal youth. This year's Partnership Report celebrates the relationships and Aboriginal youth educational programs that RBC has developed in collaboration with First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities and peoples across the country.

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