Understanding Ontario’s New Youth Skills Connections Program

Ontario’s Youth Skills Connections program continues to take shape, with promising developments to ensure that the province’s skilled labour force is prepared for the changing market. What better way to accomplish this than by focusing on Ontario’s next generation of workers as they launch their career plans and grow their marketable skills?

Premier Kathleen Wynne hosted Ontario’s first summit focusing on the goals of the program. Held in March, it was entitled Talent & Skills in the New Economy. It challenged participants from business, labour, education and the non-profit sector to implement one initiative each to contribute to worker skills and talent development.

Building Partnerships

The March summit featured the announcement of two new projects under the $25 million Youth Skills Connections fund.

  • George Brown College and Ryerson University will use this investment to partner with business and labour to deliver specialized programs to prepare 212 young people for jobs in food service, metal manufacturing and information communications technology.
  • The summit focused on fostering partnerships and collaboration to ultimately ensure that the provincial economy will remain strong and competitive. Ontario’s skilled labour force is at the core of the plan.

About the Program

The Youth Skills Connections program is part of Ontario’s Youth Jobs Strategy, creating employment opportunities for about 30,000 individuals while promoting innovation and entrepreneurship. The Youth Jobs Strategy includes the:

  • Youth Employment Fund: This fund has created more than 9,000 job placements since its September 2013 launch.
  • Youth Entrepreneurship Fund
  • Youth Innovation Fund
  • Second Career: Created in 2008, this initiative assists unemployed and laid-off workers train for new careers.

The program funds not-for-profit and public sector organizations who seek to deliver collaborative programs that:

  • Provide training and skills development for vulnerable youth. This helps young people, including those impacted by poverty and criminal records, to overcome specific employment barriers.
  • Address the demonstrated skills and labour shortage faced by industry in Ontario.
  • Formulate long-term youth employment opportunities.

Grants of up to $200,000 per project are awarded, with larger funding amount available for initiatives that address multiple communities.

“We believe building up the talent and skills of our people is the gateway to growth in Ontario,” said Wynne. “We will continue to work closely with our partners in the education, business, labour and non-profit sectors to identify opportunities. We want to ensure our workforce has the skills businesses need to grow and create more jobs right here in our province.”

To learn more about the resources available to advance your career or to work with a professional recruiter to help define the next step on your professional pathway, contact the expert team at Employment Professionals Canada today. We look forward to hearing from you!