RONA INC.
TSX : RON

RONA INC.

November 19, 2007 14:00 ET

RONA and VANOC Open Fabrication Shop and Launch Community-Based Youth Training Program

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Nov. 19, 2007) - RONA Inc. (TSX:RON) - Three thousand stanchions, 1,200 media positions, 1,000 signage pylons, 100 benches, 12 medal podiums, one Nordic finish line structure...and more than 200 people with new tools for life. These are just some of the impressive numbers behind the RONA Vancouver 2010 Fabrication Shop which officially opened today in East Vancouver.

Working in collaboration, RONA and the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC) have partnered with community organizations to launch this Fabrication (Fab) Shop. It has been common practice at major multi-sport events to establish a Fabrication Shop to manufacture and supply many of the items that bring the Games venues to life and complete the athlete and spectator experience.

VANOC's Overlay department will operate the Fab Shop and oversee construction of the small wood products required at the venues. Over the next two and a half years, the Fab Shop team will also build a wide variety of unique items including medal podiums, wheelchair ramps, sports racks, signage, warming huts, fencing, commentator positions and more. More than 8,000 individual items will be built by the Fab Shop by the start of the 2010 Winter Games.

What sets this Fab Shop apart is the development and delivery of a community-based training program. The 30-week program provides carpentry skills training and supported job experience to individuals who have yet to successfully enter the workforce.

"This program really is the first step in taking my life in the direction it's supposed to go. I'm very committed to this training and completing it will be a big achievement for me," said Agatha Weasel Moccasin, a participant from the current group of trainees.

"This Fabrication Shop is an example of how Vancouver 2010's operational needs can leave legacies of improved economic and social conditions in our communities," said John Furlong, Chief Executive Officer, VANOC. "Facilities such as the RONA Fabrication Shop are integral to the operations of our Games. This new training program connected to the Fab Shop provides tools for life that will have a positive impact on socially and economically disadvantaged groups."

RONA, a Vancouver 2010 National Partner, began collaboration with VANOC in the development of the Fab Shop in 2006. RONA has taken a leading role in planning the facility, providing skilled labour to retro-fit the site, previously used as a storage facility. RONA also recruited the supervising carpenters and provided all the tools, equipment and wood materials.

"As a National Partner of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, RONA has a role in building the Games venues and creating sustainability programs for the community," said Robert Dutton, President and Chief Executive Officer of RONA, who participated in today's opening. "The RONA Fabrication Shop will extend the positive effects of the Games into the community, a project that matches RONA's strong values and commitment to sustainable development. We're very proud to work with VANOC to achieve such an important milestone, bringing the inner city into the delivery of important visual and supportive elements needed for the Games".

VANOC and RONA have partnered with community organizations, training resources, and industry to offer four groups of carpentry training. A maximum of 16 trainees will participate in each group, resulting in up to 64 people receiving skills training and job experience through the program. VANOC's Overlay team has built flexibility into their production schedules to accommodate a complete change of trainees approximately every seven months.

"The City of Vancouver has made a commitment to use the 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games as a catalyst to address the social challenges our community faces," said Vancouver Mayor Sam Sullivan. "This employment training program will help us achieve that goal and ensure inner-city residents benefit from our role as Host City. I want to thank VANOC and RONA for this visionary partnership."

The Community Training Program Partnerships

"This project's success has benefited greatly from the determined spirit of collaboration and cooperation among business and government partners, community organizations and industry. The strength of these partnerships is an essential foundation for our continued efforts to craft lasting legacies for communities," said Furlong.

Tradeworks Training Society, a non-profit organization providing unemployed Downtown Eastside residents with job and life skills training, helped to develop the program and to recruit the first 16 participants. ACCESS, a non-profit agency delivering services to Vancouver's urban Aboriginal population, will recruit and support the carpentry program's second group of 16 trainees, to be drawn from the region's Aboriginal community.

The carpentry program will be certified by the Industry Training Authority (ITA), the agency which oversees B.C.'s industry training and apprenticeship system. This allows trainees to register with the ITA so that hours contributed to the Fab Shop will count towards their first-level carpentry qualification requirements. Successful graduates will be assisted in placement into apprenticeship positions with the long term goal of working as a red seal certified carpenter.

Construction Readiness Training Partnership

To further translate training into jobs, VANOC is working with Building Opportunities with Business Inner-City Society (BOB) and the Vancouver Regional Construction Association (VRCA).

As announced by the City of Vancouver on November 15, BOB will recruit trainees for a series of six-week industry-led CORE (Construction Orientation and Retention for Employment) construction readiness programs that will prepare inner-city residents, Aboriginal peoples and others for entry level construction jobs. The Vancouver Regional Construction Association is responsible for the delivery of the CORE program.

One hundred of the jobs available through the CORE program will be at Games sites including the Vancouver Olympic and Paralympic Village, a project being led by the City of Vancouver. More than 160 inner-city residents will have the opportunity to participate in the CORE training which begins in January 2008.

BOB, located in the Downtown Eastside, is focused on the economic revitalization of Vancouver's inner-city neighbourhoods by providing employment opportunities to residents of those neighborhoods and supports to inner-city businesses.

The VRCA represents more than 700 union and non-union contractors, manufacturers, suppliers and professionals throughout the construction industry, and promotes and improves industry standards, acts as an information resource, facilitates standardization, delivers industry education and training programs and facilitates member relations.

About RONA

RONA is the largest Canadian distributor and retailer of hardware, home renovation and gardening products. RONA operates a network of more than 670 franchise, affiliate and corporate stores of various sizes and formats. With over 26,000 employees working under its family of banners in every region of Canada and more than 14 million square feet of retail space, the RONA store network generates over $6 billion in annual retail sales. Visit www.rona.ca.

About VANOC

VANOC is responsible for the planning, organizing, financing and staging of the XXI Olympic Winter Games and the X Paralympic Winter Games in 2010. The 2010 Olympic Winter Games will be staged in Vancouver and Whistler from February 12 to 28, 2010. Vancouver and Whistler will host the Paralympic Winter Games from March 12 to 21, 2010. Visit www.vancouver2010.com.

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