McGuinty Government Committed To Bringing Opportunities To Youth In London



    Summer Jobs Program Part Of McGuinty Government's Overall Initiative For
    Youth

    LONDON, ON, April 5 /CNW/ - Approximately 187 youth from underserved
communities in London will have jobs this summer as part of the province's
Youth Opportunities Strategy, Minister of Children and Youth Services
Mary Anne Chambers announced today. The Minister was joined at the
announcement by Deb Matthews, MPP for London North Centre.
    "Our Summer Jobs for Youth and Youth in Policing programs enable young
people to gain real work experience, obtain a job reference for future
employment, build self-confidence and make a positive contribution to their
communities," said Chambers. "Youth outreach workers will also be hired to
help underserved youth access a wide range of programs and services so they
have a better opportunity to be successful."
    London is one of five communities across Ontario the strategy is
expanding to this year. Other communities include Ottawa, Windsor, Hamilton
and Thunder Bay. In 2006, the strategy was implemented primarily in
underserved communities in Toronto.
    The Summer Jobs for Youth Program includes employment placements in a
variety of fields such as recreation, business and youth leadership. Through
the Youth in Policing initiative, young people have an opportunity to work in
a variety of areas with their local police service, including technology,
forensic identification, community events and traffic safety.
    The government is investing approximately $931,100 annually to deliver
the Youth Opportunities Strategy in London starting this year. This includes
salaries for youth participating in the summer jobs programs.
    The ministry worked closely with community stakeholders and partners -
including the City of London, the United Way of London/Middlesex and community
leaders - to identify London's underserved neighbourhoods. They are: Carling,
Huron Heights, White Oaks/Southdale and Limberlost.
    "Expanding the Youth Opportunities Strategy to London will help youth
overcome the obstacles they face every day," said Matthews. "These youth are
talented and have great potential. Our government is determined to help them
harness those talents and realize that potential."
    "Expanding the Youth Opportunities Strategy to London will help our youth
overcome challenges they face in their day-to-day lives," said Steve Peters,
MPP for Elgin - Middlesex - London. "Often they do not have access to
opportunities and supports that would increase their chances for success."
    "Young people from these communities tell us they want and need summer
jobs but they are very hard to find," said Steve Cordes, Executive Director of
Youth Opportunities Unlimited, the agency coordinating the Summer Jobs for
Youth Program. "Through this program, youth will get jobs that match their
interests and skills and they will learn what to expect in the workplace."
    This is one of the many steps the McGuinty government has taken to create
more opportunities for young people in Ontario. Other government initiatives
include:

    
    -   Helping youth make good choices through Youthconnect.ca, a new youth-
        oriented website that provides a forum for young people to access
        information, services and resources
    -   Implementing Student Success teams in every secondary school to
        ensure that every at-risk student is connected with a caring adult
    -   Increasing the number of new apprenticeship registrations to a total
        of 26,000 in 2007-08
    -   Investing $15 million in 2006-07 - rising to $55 million in 2009-10
        - to improve access to postsecondary opportunity for francophones,
        Aboriginal peoples, persons with disabilities and those who would be
        the first in their families to attend college or university.

    "These young people need and deserve our support," said Khalil Ramal, MPP
for London - Fanshawe. "We need to do all that we can to help them pursue
their dreams so they can look forward to a brighter future."

    Disponible en français

                           www.children.gov.on.ca


    Backgrounder
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

                   YOUTH OPPORTUNITIES STRATEGY IN LONDON
    

    The Ontario government's three-year, $28.5 million Youth Opportunities
Strategy is building stronger communities by establishing and expanding
community programs that help youth achieve a brighter future. The strategy
recognizes that some youth, particularly those in marginalized and stigmatized
communities, often do not have access to opportunities and supports that would
help them to be successful in life.
    The government is investing approximately $931,100 annually starting this
year to improve outcomes for youth in underserved communities in London. In
2006, the strategy was implemented primarily in Toronto neighbourhoods. In
2007, the strategy will continue in Toronto and be expanded to London, Thunder
Bay, Windsor, Ottawa and Hamilton.

    The strategy includes the following initiatives in London:

    Summer Jobs for Youth Program

    The Summer Jobs for Youth Program will provide approximately 180 young
people ages 15 to 18 with the job readiness skills they need to build
self-esteem and lead rewarding, productive lives. It includes pre-employment
readiness, employment placements and post-employment supports in a variety of
fields including recreation, business and youth leadership.
    The eight-week program will be coordinated by Youth Opportunities
Unlimited.

    Youth in Policing Initiative

    The Youth in Policing Initiative provides opportunities for approximately
seven youth to work with the London Police Service this summer. The eight-week
program strengthens relationships between youth and the police, enables young
people to acquire an understanding of some aspects of policing, and encourages
them to consider policing as a future career option.
    Participants ages 14 to 17 will work in a variety of areas, including
information technology, forensic identification, community events and traffic
safety.

    Youth Outreach Worker Program

    The Youth Outreach Worker Program will employ five outreach workers
year-round to serve as mentors and advocates for hard-to-reach youth. Outreach
workers ensure youth are aware of, and know how to access, a wide range of
programs and services. They also promote youth engagement in all aspects of
life in their communities.
    The program will be coordinated by London InterCommunity Health Centre.

    YouthConnect.ca

    While there are a wide range of programs and services to assist youth, it
is often confusing and difficult for youth to know what services are
available, where to find them and how to access them. The government's new
website, YouthConnect.ca, brings this information together in a coordinated,
creative, comprehensive and youth-friendly way, for the benefit of youth
wherever they live in Ontario.
    YouthConnect.ca provides a forum for young people to access information,
services and resources that will help them make good choices, achieve success
and contribute positively to their communities. The design and content of the
new website was developed based on input and feedback from youth and
stakeholders that interact with youth.

    School-Based Prevention/Diversion Program

    The School-Based Prevention/Diversion Program is a partnership among
schools, the Thames Valley District School Board, St. Leonard's Society of
London and police that helps high school students less than 18 years of age,
who are at risk of becoming involved or are already involved in violent and/or
offending activity, increase their chances of school success.
    Justice partners tell us that many young people enter the justice system
as a result of a conflict in school and up to 70 per cent of youth appearing
in court have been suspended or expelled from school within a year of their
offending date. This program increases the ability of schools to deal with
conflict through a peer mediation program delivered in the school setting.
Participants are also referred to appropriate support services, such as
counseling, recreational programming, and assistance with school work,
employment and housing.

    Disponible en français

    
                           www.children.gov.on.ca
                             www.youthconnect.ca
    





For further information:

For further information: Tricia Edgar, Minister's Office, (416)
212-7161, (416) 573-7728 (Cell); Anne Machowski-Smith, Ministry of Children
and Youth Services, (416) 325-5156

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ONTARIO MINISTRY OF CHILDREN AND YOUTH SERVICES

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