The Canadian government is seeking more ways to help youth enter the job market.
“To build a solid foundation, young people are eager to join the job market and earn money from meaningful employment opportunities,” the federal government says. “However, we know that many young people still face barriers to employment.”
Minister Marci Ien this month launched a call for proposals under the Youth Employment and Skills Strategy Program of Employment and Social Development Canada.
“Many young people still face barriers when trying to get their first job, or even when they are trying to climb the ladder in their field,” explains Ien. “That is why we’ve made sure that the Youth Employment and Skills Strategy Program takes a flexible approach to helping youth who need it most.”
Projects funded through this call for proposals will help improve labour market outcomes for up to 20,000 youth facing barriers to employment, according to a statement from the government.
ESDC will provide eligible organizations with up to $5 million per year for up to four years (starting in 2024–25). Applications close November 22.
The YESS Program will fund organizations to deliver a broad range of activities that help people aged 15 to 30. For example, funded projects might include activities aimed at providing mentoring, skills development and training, and paid work experiences.
“While we continue tackling the high cost of living and building up our economy,” said Ien, “we are making sure that Canada’s youth have access to good jobs to build their futures.”
Since 2020, over 45,000 youth facing barriers to employment have benefited from the YESS Program. Data shows that 80% of youth participants are either employed or return to school following participation in YESS programming.
Non-government programs that target youth skills and employability in Canada include Discover Coding, which trains students through engaging content that teaches coding ability.
But as the government and businesses grapple with youth employment challenges, other factors also impact tomorrow’s generation. For example, educators are struggling to keep up with the rapid spread and development of generative AI technology, which is upending traditional schooling methods and entire career trajectories.