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Michael Pisarchuk

Public Service Post Graduate Certificate Program, 2016

Conestoga graduate Michael Pisarchuk has been employed with the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) in various roles for more than four years. It all started with a co-op placement he secured as a student in the Public Service post-graduate certificate program.

Although he planned to pursue a career in teaching after he finished university, a lack of jobs in the field forced Michael to rethink his future and consider other opportunities that might be available through the completion of a diploma or certificate.

Having grown up in Waterloo Region, he turned to Conestoga to explore his options and it was the Public Service program that appealed to Pisarchuk. He was drawn by the benefits of small class sizes and the opportunity to complete a co-op placement that would offer real-world experience.

FedDev Ontario is the federal government agency responsible for fostering innovation and business growth in Canada’s southern Ontario region. Michael’s first role as a co-op student involved supporting project officers in the Business, Innovation, and Community Development division.

Since then, he’s held other positions with FedDev Ontario as a claims officer, human resource assistant, program data research assistant, and a teacher for Indigenous Services Canada. He transitioned into his current communications role in 2019 and believes he’s found his niche developing and planning communication activities and working with internal and external clients.

“When entering the job market, be persistent and be humble. I can’t even count how many job opportunities I have applied for before getting the right job,” said Pisarchuk when asked to provide his advice for grads starting out. “Ask questions, show you’re there, ask for more work, be proactive, make connections. Show them that you have initiative and that you’re motivated and dedicated and have the attributes they are looking for.”

Pisarchuk acknowledges that the Public Service program offered a wide variety of courses that helped him prepare for government work including courses in policy analysis, leadership, strategic planning, and communications.  

“Being a student coming into the federal government, I felt right away I had a lot to offer based on my course learning,” said Pisarchuk. “I was lucky to prove myself and to take advantage of the student bridging program, which the federal government can offer co-op students in order to jump-start their career after their co-op placement if they see potential.” 

Outside his responsibilities at FedDev Ontario, Michael has volunteered with Kitchener Minor Hockey for nine years, the last seven as a head coach. “Coaching hockey is my passion,” added Pisarchuk who usually spends most of the winter at the rink. “I love it and l love that I can give back to the community I grew up in.”