Summer Jobs For Youth Program A Success In East Toronto



    Part Of McGuinty Government Strategy To Provide More Opportunities For
    Youth

    TORONTO, Aug. 23 /CNW/ - Approximately 527 youth from underserved
communities in east Toronto have successfully completed summer job placements
as part of the McGuinty government's Summer Jobs for Youth Program, Minister
of Children and Youth Services Mary Anne Chambers announced today.
    "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 Chambers at
an event hosted by Tropicana Community Services, the coordinator of the
program. "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."
    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."
    "Our government's Summer Jobs for Youth Program provides 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 Kathleen Wynne, MPP for Don Valley West.
    "This initiative helps youth overcome the challenges they face in their
day-to-day lives," said Lorenzo Berardinetti, MPP for Scarborough Southwest.
"It gives young people access to opportunities and supports that will help
them find success in the face of adversity."
    "These youth have talent, enthusiasm and potential," said Bas Balkissoon,
MPP for Scarborough-Rouge River. "Our government is working to help them
harness those talents, sustain that enthusiasm and realize that potential."
    "This initiative makes a real difference for young people," said
Brad Duguid, MPP for Scarborough Centre. "It teaches participants the
importance of working hard and serving their community."
    "Young people have told us they need summer jobs to gain work experience
and earn money for among other things, tuition," said Gerry Phillips, MPP for
Scarborough-Agincourt. "Through this program our government is helping youth
maximize their abilities."
    One hundred and eighty-four employers participated in the 2007 Summer
Jobs for Youth Program in east Toronto. The program included pre-employment
readiness and post-employment supports and provided young people with
interesting and varied jobs such as:

    
    -   research assistant
    -   tutor
    -   mural artist
    -   childcare assistant
    -   mechanic assistant
    -   camp counselor
    -   salesperson
    -   office assistant
    -   nursing home aide.

    In 2007, the Youth Opportunities Strategy also included partnering with
local police services to create summer jobs for more than 160 additional young
people from underserved communities in Ontario. As well, 62 new youth outreach
workers are providing advice and connecting youth to appropriate services
across the province.

    Disponible en français

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


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

                   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
Thunder Bay.

    The strategy includes the following initiatives in Toronto:

    Summer Jobs for Youth Program

    The Summer Jobs for Youth Program provides approximately 900 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
coordinated by Tropicana Community Services.

    Youth in Policing Initiative

    The Youth in Policing Initiative provides 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 work in a variety of areas, including
information technology, forensic identification, community events and traffic
safety.

    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.
    Outreach worker services are 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
Etobicoke/York.

    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. 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.

    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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