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



    Youth Gain Real Work Experience And Develop New Skills

    LONDON, ON, Aug. 29 /CNW/ - One hundred and seventy-five youth from
underserved London communities gained valuable skills and work experience as
part of the McGuinty government's Summer Jobs for Youth Program, London North
Centre MPP Deb Matthews, London West MPP Chris Bentley and London Fanshawe MPP
Khalil Ramal announced today on behalf of Minister of Children and Youth
Services Mary Anne Chambers.
    "Young people in our community told us they needed work experience and
job readiness skills," said Matthews. "I am delighted that through the Summer
Jobs for Youth Program, youth in London are given positive options to improve
their lives and job skills."
    "These young people in London's underserved communities may have been
without employment this summer had it not been for our Summer Jobs for Youth
Program," said Elgin-Middlesex-London MPP and Minister of Labour Steve Peters.
"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.
    "By working with our community partners, we opened doors that would
otherwise have been closed," said Ramal. "Everyone benefits from this program
- youth gain experience and employers gain valuable team players."
    "The Summer Jobs for Youth Program reflects our government's commitment
to youth in the London area," said Bentley, Minister of Training, Colleges and
Universities. "By working with our community partners, we created much-needed
jobs and opportunities for young people here."
    "The government's Summer Jobs for Youth Program is a wonderful investment
in our community," said Steve Cordes, Executive Director, Youth Opportunities
Unlimited. "Through this program, youth in our underserved neighbourhoods can
access opportunities and gain skills that will last a lifetime."
    "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 to 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 London, the United Way of London/Middlesex and community
leaders - to identify London's underserved neighbourhoods. They are: Carling,
Huron Heights, White Oaks/Southdale and Limberlost.

    
    Disponible en français

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

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

                   YOUTH OPPORTUNITIES STRATEGY IN LONDON
    

    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 more than $930,000 annually starting this
year to improve outcomes for youth in underserved communities in London. 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 London:

    Summer Jobs for Youth Program

    The Summer Jobs for Youth Program provided 175 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. In summer 2007, approximately 1,800
young people participated in the program across the province.
    The eight-week program is being coordinated by Youth Opportunities
Unlimited.

    Youth in Policing Initiative

    The Youth in Policing Initiative provided opportunities for seven youth
ages 14 to 17 to work with the London 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. More than
160 young people worked with local police services across the province this
summer.
    London participants worked in a variety of areas, including court
services, the identification unit and computer information.

    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 London, the program is coordinated by London InterCommunity Health
Centre.

    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 creates partnerships among
schools, school boards, community agencies and police. In London, the Thames
Valley District School Board and the London District Catholic School Board are
working with the St. Leonard's Society of London and the police to implement
the program. This program helps high school students ages 12 to 17, who are at
risk of becoming involved in or are already involved in violent and/or
offending activity, to 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: 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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