McGuinty Government Committed To Bringing Opportunities To Youth In Toronto



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

    TORONTO, March 8 /CNW/ - Approximately 850 youth from underserved
communities in Toronto 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 Mike Colle, MPP for Eglinton-Lawrence.
    "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 have also been hired to
help underserved youth access a wide range of programs and services so they
have a better opportunity to be successful."
    In 2006, the Youth Opportunities Strategy was implemented primarily in
underserved communities in Toronto. This year, the strategy is expanding to
Windsor, London, Ottawa, Hamilton and Thunder Bay.
    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 $5,442,450 annually to deliver
the Youth Opportunities Strategy in Toronto. This includes salaries for youth
participating in the summer jobs programs.
    The ministry worked closely with community stakeholders and partners -
including the City of Toronto, the United Way of Greater Toronto and community
leaders - to identify Toronto's underserved neighbourhoods. They are: Crescent
Town; Dorset Park; Eglinton East-Kennedy Park; Flemingdon Park/Victoria
Village; Jamestown; Jane-Finch; Kingston-Galloway; Lawrence Heights; Malvern;
Scarborough Village; Steeles-L'Amoureaux; Westminster-Branson; and Weston-Mt.
Denis.
    "The Youth Opportunities Strategy will help youth in Toronto overcome the
challenges they face in their day-to-day lives," said Colle. "This important
initiative gives young people access to opportunities and supports that will
help them find success in the face of adversity."
    "This program provides meaningful jobs to young people who constantly
complain of difficulties finding jobs during the summer," said Carmen Brown
Harper, program coordinator at Tropicana Community Services, the agency
coordinating the Summer Jobs for Youth Program. "We match their skills with
their job interests and also prepare them for future careers through coaching
and training in areas such as workplace ethics and expectations."

    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
    -   $3.5 million in the first round of investments for the Youth
        Challenge Fund, an innovative public and private sector initiative
        that supports community projects for young people in Toronto's most
        underserved neighbourhoods
    -   $3 million in grants to the Down with Guns Program, a community-
        designed initiative in Toronto that encourages youth to lead lives
        free of violence
    -   Implementing Student Success teams in every secondary school to
        ensure that every at-risk student is connected with a caring adult.

    "These young people need and deserve our support," said Chambers. "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 TORONTO
    

    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 $5,442,450 annually to improve
outcomes for youth in underserved communities in Toronto. In 2006, the
strategy was implemented primarily in Toronto neighbourhoods. In 2007, the
strategy will continue in Toronto and be expanded to Ottawa, Windsor, London,
Hamilton and Thunder Bay.

    The strategy includes the following initiatives in Toronto:

    Summer Jobs for Youth Program

    The Summer Jobs for Youth Program will provide approximately 750 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 Tropicana Community Services.

    Youth in Policing Initiative

    The Youth in Policing Initiative provides opportunities for approximately
100 youth to work with the Toronto 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 employs 35 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.
    Outreach worker services are being coordinated through three lead
agencies - East Metro Youth Services in Scarborough/East York, the Jamaican
Canadian Association in North York and the Yorktown Child and Family Centre in
Etobicoke/York.

    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 Toronto District School Board, East Metro Youth Services, West
Scarborough Neighbourhood Community Centre, Hincks-Dellcrest Centre 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.

    Ontario Public Service (OPS) Learn and Work Program

    This Specialized Co-operative Education Program provides students who
have left high school without a diploma the opportunity to earn academic
credits towards their high school diploma and gain meaningful paid work
experience in the OPS and its Crown agencies.
    The program is designed for students ages 16 to 19 and is being delivered
to up to 20 students at Lester B. Pearson Collegiate Institute in Scarborough
and up to 20 students at Father Henry Carr Catholic Secondary School in
northwest Toronto in conjunction with the Toronto District School Board and
the Toronto Catholic District School Board.

    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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