Community Insights Advancing Youth Employment

First Work is a leading membership organization bringing together providers of youth programming and employment services, business leadership, academia, and government to develop and advance solutions for youth employment. Our direct engagement with youth ensures our services are relevant, culturally appropriate, and timely. Our membership community shapes our work and positions us as the bridge between the gap of young people and employment opportunities. Our continued advocacy at all levels of government supports progressive policy development for the benefit of all youth.

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First Work is determined to:

Equip organizations and businesses to support young people and adopt youth-friendly programming and engagement approaches

Empower young people to take control of their personal and professional development by gaining the skills employers demand

Support organizations in the youth employment space by providing a platform to communicate, share best practices, and network

Convene and support navigation through labour market challenges

Champion and influence government on solutions to the barriers to youth employment

Mission & Guiding Principles

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First Work supports and advocates for a sustainable youth employment delivery network.

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To see Ontario youth access and leverage an agile and holistic employment network which assists them in reaching their employment and life goals.


  • We believe all youth should have the opportunity to reach their full potential.
  • We believe all youth should have equitable access to services, regardless of where they live.
  • We believe in the values associated with a community-based, non-profit delivery models.
  • We believe in honesty, fair play, and integrity in all our dealings and value solutions reached through collaboration.
  • We believe First Work is accountable to its members for the achievement of its mission and core functions.
  • We value an active and influential membership, leading the sector in advancement.
  • We value partnerships with other organizations and governments where they contribute to the achievement of our vision and mission.
  • We believe in the value of knowledge transfer and evaluation so that our members, governments, and community are well-informed, and our activities are evidence-based.