Program Provides Opportunity For Young People In Underserved
HAMILTON, ON, June 28 /CNW/ - Approximately 193 youth from underserved
Hamilton communities are gaining valuable skills and work experience as part
of the McGuinty government's Youth Opportunities Strategy, Minister of
Children and Youth Services Mary Anne Chambers announced today.
"Young people have told us they need summer jobs but employers don't
typically choose them," said Chambers. "These youth are talented and deserve
the opportunity to reach their potential. That's why I'm so pleased we're
working with partners in Hamilton to make sure that youth in underserved
neighbourhoods here have the opportunity to put their talent to use this
Hamilton is one of five communities that the government's three-year
$28.5 million Youth Opportunities Strategy is expanding to this year. Other
communities include Ottawa, London, Windsor and Thunder Bay. Last year, the
strategy was implemented primarily in underserved communities in Toronto.
The Summer Jobs for Youth program is providing 180 youth ages 15 to 18
with employment placements in a variety of fields such as recreation, business
and youth leadership with local employers and agencies. Through the Youth in
Policing summer employment initiative, 13 youth ages 14 to 17 will work with
the Hamilton Police Service in a variety of areas, including technology,
forensic identification, community events and traffic safety.
The government is investing approximately $875,000 annually to deliver
the Youth Opportunities Strategy in Hamilton. This includes salaries for youth
participating in the summer jobs programs and five new youth outreach workers
who will work year-round to help youth access services, programs, and supports
The ministry worked closely with community stakeholders and partners
including the City of Hamilton, the Hamilton Training Advisory Board and
community leaders to identify neighbourhoods in Hamilton that could benefit
most from these programs. They are Gibson and McQuesten in the east and Gibson
in the west.
Chambers met with participating youth and their employers at a special
orientation. She was joined by Judy Marsales, MPP for Hamilton West and Lily
Lumsden, General Manager, Career Development & Learning Centre at the YMCA of
Hamilton/Burlington, the agency coordinating the Summer Jobs for Youth Program
"Hamilton's young people welcome this important program which offers
summer jobs opportunities which otherwise may not have existed," MPP Marsales
said. "This investment pays off not only because it provides jobs for the
city's youth, but also offers them a way to prepare for productive careers."
"It is especially hard for young people in underserved neighbourhoods to
find meaningful summer employment," Lumsden said. "With this program we can
place them in interesting jobs that will give them transferable skills and
real opportunities for the future."
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.
- Implementing Student Success teams in every secondary school to
ensure that every at-risk student is connected with a caring adult.
"Employers will find that these young people are eager to learn and
willing to work hard," said Chambers. "They just want to be given a chance to
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YOUTH OPPORTUNITIES STRATEGY IN HAMILTON
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 $875,000 annually starting this
year to improve outcomes for youth in underserved communities in Hamilton. 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 Hamilton, Windsor, Ottawa,
London and Thunder Bay.
The strategy includes the following initiatives in Hamilton:
Summer Jobs for Youth Program
The Summer Jobs for Youth Program will provide approximately 180 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 the YMCA of
Youth in Policing Initiative
The Youth in Policing Initiative provides opportunities for approximately
13 youth to work with the Hamilton 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
traffic analysis, graffiti eradication, use of force records and security
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
The program is coordinated by Wesley Urban Ministries.
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.
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For further information:
For further information: Velma Morgan, Minister's Office, (416)
458-2258; Anne Machowski-Smith, Ministry of Children and Youth Services, (416)