The Youth Imperative
Workforce development has emerged as a top priority for Ontario Youth, businesses and community-based services. Employment provides income and opportunities for advancement, and a proven, lasting pathway out of poverty. According to statistics Canada, youth unemployment continues to average at 12% year over year, 2X higher than the rest of society. This percentage only increases when vulnerable youth population (e.g., indigenous youth, new immigrants, young people with disabilities, racialized youth, and youth in rural/remote communities) are faced with additional barriers to employment.
Young people today are optimistic about their futures despite high rates of youth unemployment and its lasting impact. They demand high quality, culturally appropriate workforce development systems as they continue to face a future of unemployment and instability.
The barriers for employment transition and ultimate work integration are significant:
- Navigating the labour market;
- Labour market information for youth and service providers;
- Employers’ attitudes towards young people;
- Precarious work, meaningful work, and job stability; and
- Skills and basic needs of young people as they enter the workforce.
Comprehensive employment supports often involve the collaboration of governments, employers, academic institutions and community-based organizations. The solutions are complex but so is the resolve of those involved. Through co-creation, new possibilities for youth employment and development emerge.