Summer Job Programs A Success In Thunder Bay



    Part Of McGuinty Government Strategy To Provide More Opportunities
    For Youth

    THUNDER BAY, ON, Sept. 6 /CNW/ - One hundred and sixty-eight youth from
underserved communities in Thunder Bay and area have successfully completed
summer job placements as part of the McGuinty government's Summer Jobs for
Youth Program and Youth in Policing Initiative.
    "I find it very impressive that during the past two months, these young
men and women have demonstrated that they are eager to learn new skills and
willing to work," said Gravelle. "They have embraced the opportunity to apply
their talents, develop additional skills and gain valuable real work
experience that will help them reach their potential."
    "I'm pleased that our government is finding ways to promote summer
employment for our young people," said Mauro. "These initiatives provide
opportunities for our youth to earn work experience and develop valuable
skills so they can get good jobs and strengthen our northern economy."
    The Summer Jobs for Youth Program and the Youth in Policing Initiative
are components 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
Thunder Bay, Hamilton, Windsor, Ottawa and London.
    "This program has been an excellent experience for all involved," said
Lorraine Boland, Executive Director of YES Employment Services. "The young
people who got jobs were grateful for the opportunity to work in challenging
positions and the experience they gained will benefit them as they continue
with school or enter the world of work."
    "The Youth in Policing Initiative is a wonderful opportunity to build
relationships between the OPP and young people from the communities we serve,"
said Chief Superintendent Mike Armstrong. "The participating officers, as well
as the youth, formed bonds that will likely continue through their high school
years."
    "The Nishnawbe-Aski Police Service would like to acknowledge the
appreciable contributions of six confident and motivated young people to the
administration of policing in northern Ontario," said Nishnawbe-Aski Police
Chief Paul Trivett. "We would also like to thank the Ministry of Children and
Youth Services for our inclusion in such a positive summer employment
experience."
    The Summer Jobs for Youth Program in Thunder Bay provided 158 youth ages
15 to 18 with employment placements in a variety of fields such as recreation,
business and youth leadership. Through the Youth in Policing Initiative, four
youth ages 14 to 17 worked with the North West Region OPP in the Thunder Bay
region and six youth worked in communities policed by the Nishnawbe-Aski
Police Service. Participants worked in a number of areas including equipment
maintenance, court case management filing, presentation preparation and course
material development.
    "These programs provide young people from underserved neighbourhoods with
important work experience that will help them increase their self-confidence
and open the doors to increased opportunity," said Chambers. "These youth have
talent, enthusiasm and potential. Our government is working to help them
harness those talents, sustain that enthusiasm and realize that potential."
    The Ministry of Children and Youth Services worked closely with community
stakeholders and partners, including the City of Thunder Bay, the Thunder Bay
District Social Services Administration Board and community leaders to
identify neighbourhoods in Thunder Bay that could benefit most from these
programs. They are McKellar, South Core, Northwood and Westfort in the south,
and Downtown North Core and Current River in the north.

    
    Disponible en français

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


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

                 YOUTH OPPORTUNITIES STRATEGY IN THUNDER BAY
    

    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 $953,000 annually starting this
year to improve outcomes for youth in underserved communities in Thunder Bay
and area. 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 Thunder Bay,
Windsor, Ottawa, London and Hamilton.
    The strategy includes the following initiatives in Thunder Bay:

    Summer Jobs for Youth Program

    The 2007 Summer Jobs for Youth Program provided 158 young people ages 15
to 18 with the job readiness skills they need to build self-esteem and lead
rewarding, productive lives. It included pre-employment readiness, 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 coordinated by YES Employment Services.

    Youth in Policing Initiative

    The Youth in Policing Initiative provided opportunities this summer for
four youth ages 14 to 17 to work with the OPP in the Thunder Bay region and
six youth to work in communities policed by the Nishnawbe-Aski Police Service.
    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 worked in a number of areas including equipment maintenance,
court case management filing, presentation preparation and course material
development. Approximately 160 young people worked with local police services
across the province this summer.

    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 Thunder Bay, the program is coordinated by Dilico Ojibway Child and
Family Services in conjunction with Superior Points of the Thunder Bay
District Health Unit and the Children's Aid Society of the District of Thunder
Bay.

    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. 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 Superior Greenstone District School Board, the John Howard
Society of Thunder Bay 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: 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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