McGuinty Government's Summer Jobs For Youth Program A Success In Ottawa



    Youth Gain Real Work Experience And Develop New Skills

    OTTAWA, Sept. 6 /CNW/ - One hundred and sixty-five youth from underserved
Ottawa communities gained valuable skills and work experience as part of the
McGuinty government's Summer Jobs for Youth Program, Ottawa West - Nepean MPP
Jim Watson announced today on behalf of Minister of Children and Youth
Services Mary Anne Chambers.
    "The Summer Jobs for Youth Program provided young people with the job
readiness skills and the work experience they told us they need," said Watson,
Minister of Health Promotion. "Through this program, youth are given positive
options to improve their live and job skills."
    "These young people in Ottawa's underserved communities may have been
without employment this summer had it not been for our Summer Jobs for Youth
Program," said Meilleur, Minister of Community and Social Services. "This
program not only provides employment, it also prepares young people to succeed
in the future."
    The Summer Jobs for Youth Program is a component of the government's
Youth Opportunities Strategy, a broad-based plan to help young people faced
with significant challenges achieve individual success. The government is
investing $28.5 million over the first three years of the strategy. In 2006,
the strategy was implemented in Toronto and Durham Region. In 2007, the
strategy was expanded to underserved communities in Hamilton, Windsor, Ottawa,
London and Thunder Bay.
    "Employers found these young people eager to learn and willing to work,"
said McNeely. "They just needed a chance to show what they can do."
    "Through our Summer Jobs for Youth Program, some young people in
underserved Ottawa communities had access to unique opportunities that will
lay a solid foundation for future success," said Patten.
    "The Summer Jobs for Youth Program reflects our government's commitment
to youth in Ottawa," said Lalonde. "We responded to the needs of young people
in underserved communities and created much-needed jobs and opportunities."
    "Programs such as Summer Jobs for Youth show the government's community
investment at its best," said Alex Munter, Executive Director of the Youth
Services Bureau of Ottawa. "This type of support provides youth in our
underserved neighbourhoods with opportunities that just wouldn't be available
to them otherwise."
    "We are proud to be working with our community partners to help young
people gain valuable skills and experience," said Chambers. "By helping our
youth access the opportunities they need to be successful, we will all enjoy a
better quality of life."
    The government worked closely with community stakeholders and partners -
including the City of Ottawa, United Way of Ottawa and Ottawa Police Service -
to identify neighbourhoods in Ottawa that could benefit most from these
programs. They are: Overbrook and Vanier in the east; Caldwell and Debra-Dynes
in the central west area; Ledbury, Banff, Heatherington and Confederation in
the south, and Richie, Dumaurier and Michele Heights in the west.

    
    Disponible en français

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


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

                   YOUTH OPPORTUNITIES STRATEGY IN OTTAWA
    

    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 underserved communities,
often face barriers gaining access to opportunities and supports that would
help them to be successful in life.
    The government is investing more than $1 million annually starting this
year to improve outcomes for youth in underserved communities in Ottawa. In
2006, the Youth Opportunities Strategy was implemented in Toronto and Durham
Region neighbourhoods. In 2007, the strategy is continuing in Toronto and
Durham Region and has expanded to Ottawa, Hamilton, Windsor, London and
Thunder Bay.

    The strategy includes the following initiatives in Ottawa:

    Summer Jobs for Youth Program

    The Summer Jobs for Youth Program provided 165 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 supports,
employment placements in a variety of fields including recreation, business
and youth leadership, and post-employment supports. In summer 2007,
approximately 1,800 young people participated in the program across the
province.
    The eight-week program is being coordinated by the Youth Services Bureau
of Ottawa.

    Youth in Policing Initiative

    The Youth in Policing Initiative provided opportunities for six youth
ages 14 to 17 to work with the Ottawa 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 develop skills relevant to a possible career in policing. More than 160
young people worked with local police services across the province this
summer.
    Ottawa participants worked in a variety of areas, including recruitment,
community events, and training with police officers and the canine and
tactical units.

    Youth Outreach Worker Program

    The Youth Outreach Worker Program employs five 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. The program, coordinated by local agencies, employs a total
of 66 youth outreach workers across the province.
    In Ottawa, the program is coordinated by the Boys and Girls Club of
Ottawa.

    YouthConnect.ca

    While there is 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.

    School-based Prevention/Diversion Program

    The School-Based Prevention/Diversion Program is a partnership among
schools, the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board, Ecole secondaire
catholique Franco-Cité, Ecole secondaire publique Gisèle-Lalonde, the Youth
Services Bureau of Ottawa and Ottawa Police Service. This program helps
students ages 12 to 17, 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 up to 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)
212-7159, (416) 458-2258 (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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