Who We Are

Community Insights Advancing Youth Employment

First work is a leading membership organization bringing together the best providers of youth programming and employment services, business and industry leadership, academia, and government in developing solutions for youth employment. Our direct engagement with youth ensures our services are relevant, culturally appropriate, and timely. Our membership community helps to shape our work and place us in a position where we bridge the gap between young people and employment opportunities.

First Work is determined to:

  • Help other organizations and businesses to be equipped to support young people and adopt youth friendly approaches;
  • Empower young people to take control of their personal and professional development, and gain the skills employers want;
  • Support organizations working in the youth employment space by providing a platform to communicate, share best practice and network;
  • Convene and help navigate through labour market challenges; and
  • Champion and influence government on youth employment barriers and solutions.


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


To see Ontario youth accessing and leveraging an agile and holistic employment network that assists them to reach their employment and life goals.


  • We believe that all youth should have the opportunity to reach their full potential;
  • We believe that youth should have equitable access to services;
  • We believe in the values associated with a community-based, non-profit delivery model;
  • 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;
  • 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.

What We Do

Sector Engagement

First Work gives organizations and professionals access to services designed to support every perspective of government relations, regional needs, and local priorities. We provide tools and resources to help members save time and eliminate guesswork.

  • Advocacy & Government Affairs
  • Regional Targeted Priorities
  • Top Industry Trends and Issues

Workforce Development Innovations

First Work tackles complex youth employment-related challenges and finds new, innovative ways forward. Bringing together progressive talent who challenge each other to do better, we search and test new approaches for better outcomes.

  • Emerging New Approaches
  • Program Innovation Pilots
  • Information & Technology Integration


Strategic Collaboration

First work creates partnerships and strategic alliances to leverage our ability to address employment challenges and increase our collective impact. We find partners who share our commitment to young people and their employment journey.

  • Public, Private, and Non-Profit Partnerships
  • Research & Evaluation
  • Mobilization & Partnership Agreements

Knowledge Advancement

First Work provides learning and professional development opportunities tailored to youth engagement, workforce development and industry professionals. We host conference and educational events to strengthen the capacity of the sector.

  • Conference & Learning Exchange
  • Community of Practice
  • Credentialing & Certifications

Cultivating Talent

First Work engages with Employers to provide sustainable youth employment by discovering career pathways, creating youth friendly workplaces, articulating skill requirements, and connecting youth to the local economy.

  • Labour Mobility Pathways
  • School-to-Work Transition
  • Fostering Entrepreneurship
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