Ontario’s youth unemployment rate is a stinging 16.4 percent – twice as high as the province’s overall rate of 7.5 percent.
It’s going to take a lot of work on the part of Ontario’s business, educational and government sectors to turn these numbers around – and the Youth Jobs Strategy announced in October by Premier Kathleen Wynne is a giant step in the right direction.
Four Funds to Help Young People Succeed
Developed with input from the Premier’s Council on Youth Opportunities and a series of discussions with program stakeholders, the Youth Jobs Strategy will create 30,000 jobs over two years for individuals aged 15 through 29. It’s a $295 million investment designed to help young people find jobs, build their skill sets, and/or start their own businesses.
The program includes four funding programs:
- Youth Skills Connection Program: This funds not-for-profit and public sector organizations to deliver collaborative initiatives for training and skills development to assist vulnerable youths, such as those with criminal records or living in poverty. It enlists the support of industry to ensure that relevant skills are built, so participants become more employable.
- Ontario Youth Innovation Fund: This program provides internships for graduate and post-graduate students and helps them launch start-up enterprises by funding campus-linked business accelerators.
- Ontario Youth Entrepreneurship Fund: Increased financial support is provided to Summer Company and other existing programs, as well as new programs to support the growth of youth-led companies via training, mentorship, and seed funding.
- Ontario Youth Employment Fund: This program helps eligible unemployed individuals who face multiple employment barriers or live in high-needs communities, including Aboriginals, recent immigrants, youth with disabilities, rural and northern youth, and those leaving care or on social assistance.
Employers who participate can be granted up to $200,000 per project, with larger awards available for initiatives that impact multiple communities. Tax credits and other budgetary incentives also are part of the strategy.
A Winning Solution for Ontario’s Future
Reducing unemployment and fueling Ontario’s economic engine for the future make the Youth Jobs Strategy a smart solution on many levels. Businesses win as they build workforces with the skills to enable competitive success in a global marketplace. And most importantly, the youth of the province win as they develop skills to succeed and realize their career path goals, right here at home.
Are you forging your career path or working with a young individual to achieve that goal? If so, read our related posts or contact the expert recruiting team at Employment Professionals Canada today!