GAP closing opens new doors

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Christine Brun graduated from the Cumberland Adult Network for Upgrading’s GAP Program on Friday, earning accolades for her perseverance from program spearheaded by Mike St. Onge.

AMHERST – A new round of alumni from Cumberland Adult Network for Upgrading’s GAP Program are ready to take the world by storm.

In a closing ceremony filled with proud stories, bittersweet congratulations and tearful applause, 11 students were named graduates of the program designed to raise the skill sets of the underemployed or undereducated already with a Grade 12 equivalent.

As the name implies, the GAP Program fills a void between high school and post-secondary education. It’s an experience graduates say needed.

“When I first started I was scared because there were only a few of us who had Grade 12. I didn’t know if was right for,” graduate Annette Jackson said. “I’m glad I did it. It was amazing. Not only for the academics but also for my ‘me’ stuff. I’m a better person for doing the program.

Being chosen for the program is no easy task, CAN-U GAP Coordinator Mike St. Onge said.

“We had over 40 applicants, that turned into 27 interviews to select the 11 participants,” he said.

“Participants cannot be employment-insurance eligible, between the ages of 19 and 54, and unemployed or underemployed to qualify for the curriculum, which emphasizes self-assessment and skill development, foundation learning and workforce skills through work placement here in the community, including Amherst Regional High, Canadian Tire, Victoria Manor, Gables, LED Roadway Lighting, GFS, Cumberland Genealogy Society, Advantage Homes and general contractor Eric MacGlashen.

In addition, students rolled out a website for the GAP Program, a task even instructor Julian Merlin says goes above and beyond the program’s expectations.

“Today is not just a GAP Closing, it’s a grand opening… students provided the information, labour market research for the website, community links. Today, there are no other people I feel more pride for than what I feel today,” Merlin said.

Online, the website can be found at

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Recent comments

  • proud to know them
    March 25, 2013 - 17:48

    I had the opportunity to interact with this amazing group of people. Their dedication and attention to detail will take them far! Their two instructors would expect no less of them. Well done to the CAN U Gap group! Cheers!