McGuinty Government's Summer Jobs For Youth Program A Success



    Youth Gain Real Work Experience And Develop New Skills

    TORONTO, Aug. 13 /CNW/ - Approximately 1,650 youth from underserved
neighbourhoods in Toronto, Windsor, Ottawa, London, Thunder Bay and Hamilton,
have gained work experience and developed new skills this year as part of the
Ontario government's Summer Jobs for Youth Program, Minister of Children and
Youth Services Mary Anne Chambers said today at a youth staff appreciation
event.
    "Young people in some neighbourhoods have told us that they have great
difficulty accessing summer employment," said Chambers, at the Doorsteps
Neighbourhood Services event in Toronto. "For the second year in Toronto, the
Summer Jobs for Youth Program is helping young people to build the skills they
need to be successful."
    Coordinated by local agencies, such as Tropicana Community Services in
Toronto, the eight-week Summer Jobs for Youth Program provides young people
ages 15 to 18 with pre-employment readiness, employment placements and
post-employment supports. The Summer Jobs for Youth Program is part of the
government's three-year, $28.5 million Youth Opportunities Strategy. 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 Jobs for Youth Program and a Youth In Policing
summer program, as well as 35 new outreach workers who work year round to help
Toronto youth access services, programs and supports they need.
    Doorsteps Neighbourhood Services hired 10 youth camp counsellors through
the Summer Jobs for Youth Program for their three summer camps in the
Jane/Chalkfarm, Jane/Falstaff and Daystrom communities of Toronto.
    "Through the Summer Jobs for Youth Program, these young people enhanced
their leadership skills and made a tremendous impact in their community," said
Morris Beckford, Program Manager and Fundraising Lead, Doorsteps Neighbourhood
Services. "We commend these youth for dedicating their time to our camps this
summer and the Ontario government for facilitating this opportunity."
    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 through the Youth Challenge
        Fund, an innovative public and private sector initiative that has
        provided support to 58 youth led groups across Toronto's most
        underserved neighbourhoods to-date.
    -   $3 million for projects through a community-designed initiative
        developed to encourage 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.

    "We are proud to be working with several community partners, to help young
people gain valuable skills and experience," said Chambers. "By helping our
youth to access the opportunities they need to be successful, we will all
enjoy a better quality of life."

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


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

                         YOUTH OPPORTUNITIES STRATEGY
    

    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.
    In 2006, the strategy was implemented in Toronto and Durham Region
neighbourhoods. In 2007, the strategy is continuing in Toronto and Durham
Region and it expanded to London, Thunder Bay, Windsor, Ottawa and Hamilton.
The strategy includes the following initiatives:

    Summer Jobs for Youth Program

    The Summer Jobs for Youth Program provides young people ages 15 to 18
with the job readiness skills they need to build self-esteem and lead
rewarding, productive lives. It includes pre-employment readiness, employment
placements and post-employment supports in a variety of fields including
recreation, business and youth leadership. In 2007, 1,650 young people
participated in the program. The eight-week program was coordinated by local
agencies.

    Youth in Policing Initiative

    The Youth in Policing Initiative provides opportunities for youth to work
with their local police service over the 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. In 2007, 166 young people worked with their local police service.

    Youth Outreach Worker Program

    The Youth Outreach Worker Program employs 62 outreach workers year-round
to serve as mentors and 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 is coordinated by local agencies.

    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. 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, school boards, community-based agencies 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.

    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: Tricia Edgar, Minister's Office, (416)
212-7161, (416) 571-7247 (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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