female high school teacher taking class

Financial services education program Bay Street Deconstructed has expanded nationally with the start of the new school year, the Toronto-based non-profit organization has announced.

A free, half-day program for Grade 10 students, Bay Street Deconstructed teaches teenagers about the world of finance and the various career opportunities it offers. It covers “subjects ranging from investment banking, to the ins and outs of trading, what we need economists for and how commercial bankers help small businesses,” the non-profit says in a news release.

The program has rapidly expanded its reach from 4,000 students in the Greater Toronto Area last year (its first year of programming) to 9,000 students nationwide in 2018-2019.

Founder Eileen Jurczak, who is also a director on the trading floor of BMO Capital Markets, was recently named one of Canada’s Top 25 Women of Influence. She started Bay Street Deconstructed in 2015, after attending a high school mentoring event where she was shocked by students’ lack of awareness of careers within the financial services industry. Jurczak concluded that this lack of exposure must be contributing toward the lack of gender and cultural diversity in the industry at large.

“By focusing on schools with students of diverse cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds, [Bay Street Deconstructed] is also playing a key role in increasing diversity in the financial services talent pipeline; an issue the industry has been trying to address for many years with limited success,” Jurczak says in a statement.

The programs founding sponsors include AGF Management Ltd., Bank of Montreal, Chubb Insurance Co. of Canada, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, Franklin Templeton Investments, Manulife Financial, Royal Bank of Canada, Bank of Nova Scotia and Toronto-Dominion Bank.