RONA INC.
TSX : RON

RONA INC.

December 15, 2009 13:00 ET

Sixteen More People Overcome Barriers to Employment With Training From the RONA Vancouver 2010 Fabrication Shop

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Dec. 15, 2009) - RONA inc. (TSX:RON), the largest Canadian retailer and distributor of hardware, renovation and gardening products, is proud to announce that the fourth and final group of trainees is officially graduating today from its trades training program at the RONA Vancouver 2010 Fabrication Shop. The sixteen trainees, all of them recent immigrants to Canada who had previously struggled with barriers to employment that included insufficient English language skills, are now much better equipped to seek and retain employment in their families' adopted country.

The carpentry training and work experience program at the Fab Shop was established two years ago. It stems from a collaboration between RONA, the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC) and community organizations. More than 60 trainees have now gone through the program, which is taught by a Red Seal-certified carpentry instructor and three supervising carpenters. The current group of trainees was referred to RONA by the BC Construction Association's immigrant trades training program and Tradeworks Training Society, a community group based in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver that provides job and life skills training.

"As National Partner in the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, RONA not only has the great opportunity to help build the Games but also the responsibility to extend the positive impact of the Games within the whole community," said RONA executive vice president of marketing and customer innovations Claude Bernier. "Like other similar initiatives implemented by our company, the Fab Shop is a project that fits in well with RONA's strong values and commitment to sustainable development. Through the Fab Shop, we were very lucky to work with over 60 talented young people who now have the means to achieve their potential within their own communities."

"This fourth group of Fab Shop trainees has made us all very proud," said Donna Wilson, Executive Vice President, Workforce and Sustainability. "These are individuals with outstanding potential to contribute to society, who were having difficulty finding employment. Now, they have not only strapped on tool belts and received the hands-on training they need, they have also acquired "tools for life." They have substantially improved their language skills and they are much more confident that they can begin to make their own way in a new land."

The RONA Vancouver 2010 Fabrication Shop was established to do more than provide training. It has made a tangible contribution to the upcoming Games by providing over 11,000 wooden items such as warming huts and ski racks to be used at the various facilities. In accordance with RONA's focus on sustainable development, the items will be continued in their existing sport uses after the Games or disassembled, where possible, and the wood reused.

The Fab Shop training program is certified by the Industry Training Authority (ITA), the agency overseeing British Columbia's industry training and apprenticeship system. The BC Construction Association will assist the trainees with obtaining ongoing employment.

OUR PARTNERSHIP

RONA is committed to creating sustainability programs through its partnership with the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games around four pillars. Athlete support: The "Growing with our athletes" program supports 100 high performance Canadian athletes. Sustainability: The RONA Vancouver 2010 Fabrication Shop, a community-based training program, oversees construction of 11,000 items, including wheelchair ramps and warming huts. Venue construction: RONA has provided building materials, such as FSC-certified wood and non-VOC paint, for several Olympic Winter Games venues including the Vancouver Olympic Centre. Employee involvement: 100 RONA employees selected from across the country will act as volunteers while still receiving a salary.

ABOUT RONA

RONA is the largest Canadian distributor and retailer of hardware, home renovation and gardening products. RONA operates a network of close to 700 corporate, franchise and affiliate stores of various sizes and formats. With close to 30,000 employees working under its family of banners in every region of Canada and more than 15 million square feet of retail space, the RONA store network generates over $6 billion in annual retail sales. For more, please visit www.rona.ca

Contact Information

  • Media:
    RONA inc.
    Daniel Richard, Director, Enterprise Communications and
    RONA Foundation General Manager
    514-599-5900, ext. 5751
    daniel.richard@rona.ca
    or
    Financial Community:
    RONA inc.
    Stephane Milot
    Senior Director, Investor Relations
    514-599-5951
    stephane.milot@rona.ca