McGuinty Government Providing More Summer Job Opportunities To Youth In Toronto



    Second Year For Program That Provides Opportunity For Young People In
    Underserved Neighbourhoods

    TORONTO, June 28 /CNW/ - Seven hundred and fifty youth from underserved
Toronto communities are gaining valuable skills and work experience as part of
the McGuinty government's Summer Jobs for Youth program, Minister of Children
and Youth Services Mary Anne Chambers announced today.
    "Now in its second year, Summer Jobs for Youth is providing young people
with the job readiness skills and the work experience they have told us they
need," said Chambers. "Youth and their parents have told us that last year's
program was very beneficial and that's why we are offering it again this year
so that more youth are given positive options to improve their life and job
skills."
    The Summer Jobs for Youth program is part of the government's three-year,
$28.5 million Youth Opportunities Strategy. It provides youth ages 15 to 18
with employment placements in a variety of fields such as recreation, business
and youth leadership.
    Another successful summer jobs program, Youth in Policing, is also
continuing in Toronto, providing opportunities for 100 youth ages 14 to 17 to
work with the Toronto Police Service. Through this initiative, young people
have an opportunity to work in a variety of areas, including technology,
forensic identification, community events and traffic safety.
    The government is investing approximately $5.4 million annually to
deliver the Youth Opportunities Strategy in Toronto. This includes salaries
for youth participating in the summer programs, as well as 35 new outreach
workers who work year round to help youth access services, programs and
supports they need.
    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 most 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.
    Minister Chambers met with participating youth and their employers at a
special orientation. She was joined by Scarborough Centre MPP Brad Duguid.
    "The Summer Jobs for Youth and Youth in Policing programs provide the
opportunity for 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," Duguid said. "These young people might
have otherwise been out of work for the summer."
    "This year youth are even more excited about the program as they have
seen the benefits for those who participated last year," said Carmen Brown
Harper, program coordinator at Tropicana Community Services, the agency
coordinating the Summer Jobs for Youth Program. "The program also offers one
high school credit to students who are doing their co-operative placements.
This is great as students get a chance to gain valuable work experience and at
the same time benefit educationally."

    
    The Youth Opportunities Strategy is one of the many steps the McGuinty
government has taken to create more opportunities for young people in Ontario.
Other initiatives include

    -   Youthconnect.ca, a youth-oriented website that helps young people by
        providing a forum geared specifically to them with access to
        information, services and resources.
    -   Almost $11 million of investments so far for the Youth Challenge
        Fund, an innovative public and private sector initiative that
        supports 58 youth led groups across Toronto's most underserved
        neighbourhoods
    -   $3 million in grants to 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.

    "Young people in these communities have told us that they are not often
given the opportunities they need to be successful," said Chambers. "But
employers will find they are eager to learn and willing to work hard."

    Disponible en français
                           www.children.gov.on.ca
                             www.youthconnect.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 $5.4 million annually to
improve outcomes for youth in underserved communities in Toronto. In 2006, the
Youth Opportunities Strategy was implemented primarily in Toronto and Durham
Region neighbourhoods. In 2007, the strategy is continuing in Toronto and
Durham Region and has 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
confidence and lead rewarding, productive lives. It includes pre-employment
readiness, employment placements in a variety of fields including recreation,
business and youth leadership, and post-employment supports. The eight-week
program is being 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 again 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 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 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. 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 creates partnerships among
schools, school boards, police and community agencies. Partners include the
Toronto District School Board, East Metro Youth Services, West Scarborough
Neighbourhood Community Centre, Hincks-Dellcrest Institute and the Toronto
Police Service. This program helps students aged 12 to 17 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

    The OPS Learn and Work Program engages youth ages 16 to 19 to the world
of work by offering them meaningful cooperative education work experiences in
the Ontario government and its related agencies. Upon completion of this
Specialized Co-operative Education Program, participants will have had the
opportunity to earn academic credits toward their high school diploma and
obtain up to 27 weeks of meaningful work experience, consisting of one co-op
placement per semester in the Ontario Public Service and its Agencies.
    The program was piloted in February 2006, and has grown from a
one-semester program helping 20 students, to a one-year program helping
students in four locations across the province.

    
    The current program is being delivered at:

    -   Lester B. Pearson Collegiate Institute in Scarborough
    -   Father Henry Carr Catholic Secondary School in northwest Toronto
    -   J.L. Forster Secondary School in Windsor
    -   St. Pius X Catholic Secondary School in Ottawa.

    Disponible en français
                           www.children.gov.on.ca
                             www.youthconnect.ca
    




For further information:

For further information: Velma Morgan, Minister's Office, (416)
458-2258; Anne Machowski-Smith, Ministry of Children and Youth Services, (416)
325-5156

Organization Profile

ONTARIO MINISTRY OF CHILDREN AND YOUTH SERVICES

More on this organization


Custom Packages

Browse our custom packages or build your own to meet your unique communications needs.

Start today.

CNW Membership

Fill out a CNW membership form or contact us at 1 (877) 269-7890

Learn about CNW services

Request more information about CNW products and services or call us at 1 (877) 269-7890