Program Part Of Strategy To Provide More Opportunities For Youth
TORONTO, Aug. 30 /CNW/ - Minister of Children and Youth Services Mary
Anne Chambers met today with employers who gave jobs this summer to young
people in underserved Toronto communities as part of the McGuinty government's
2007 Summer Jobs for Youth Program.
"I want to extend my sincere thanks to the more than 300 Toronto
employers that participated in our summer jobs program this year," said
Chambers at an event hosted by Tropicana Community Services, the coordinator
of the program. "During the past two months, these employers gave young men
and women the opportunities to apply their talents, develop additional skills
and gain valuable real work experience that will help them reach their
Three hundred and twelve employers participated in the 2007 Summer Jobs
for Youth Program in Toronto. The program included pre-employment readiness
and post-employment supports and provided approximately 900 young people with
interesting and varied jobs such as:
- research assistant
- mural artist
- childcare assistant
- mechanic assistant
- camp counselor
- office assistant
- nursing home aide.
"2007 was our second year participating in the Summer Jobs for Youth
Program," said Ken George, CEO of Aaron Multitec Systems, a Scarborough-based
telecommunications company that hired three young people this summer. "The
young people that worked for us were enthusiastic and innovative and
contributed to the overall success of our team."
The Summer Jobs for Youth Program is one 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 Windsor, Ottawa, London,
Hamilton and Thunder Bay.
"This summer's program has been a great success," said Carmen
Brown-Harper, Program Coordinator at Tropicana Community Services. "We are
pleased that so many employers were receptive to providing these young people
with rewarding summer job experiences."
In 2007, the Youth Opportunities Strategy also included partnering with
local police services to create summer jobs for approximately 160 additional
young people from underserved communities in Ontario. As well, 66 new youth
outreach workers are providing advice and connecting youth to appropriate
services across the province.
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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
The strategy includes the following initiatives in Toronto:
Summer Jobs for Youth Program
The Summer Jobs for Youth Program provided approximately 900 young people
ages 15 to 18 with the job readiness skills they need to build confidence 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 Tropicana Community
Youth in Policing Initiative
The Youth in Policing Initiative provided 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 worked in a variety of areas, including
information technology, forensic identification, community events and traffic
safety. Approximately 160 young people worked with local police services
across the province this summer.
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. The program, coordinated by local agencies, employs a total of 66
youth outreach workers across the province.
In Toronto, the program is 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
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. The design and content of the
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 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 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.
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For further information:
For further information: Tricia Edgar, Minister's Office, (416)
212-7161, (416) 571-7247 (Cell); Anne Machowski-Smith, Ministry of Children
and Youth Services, (416) 325-5156