Wraparound support is coming to Guelph youth who need help overcoming barriers to enter the employment market.
On Friday morning, Guelph MP Lloyd Longfield announced that about $1.4 million in funding will be given over the next three years to Second Chance Employment Counselling to support their Ways2Work project.
Currently, Second Chance Employment Counselling is working with 125 young people through Ways2Work, offering them virtual one on one support to focus on individual strength and needs.
With the pandemic posing challenges on youth looking for work, youth with disabilities, mental health concerns and racialized youth are facing additional barriers to access jobs.
“In Canada, and especially in Guelph, we look out for each other,” said Longfield, “This is helping young Canadians get the skills they need to enter the workforce.”
The initiative is part of Canada’s Youth Employment and Skills Strategy (YESS), a federal government program which has also committed to creating 9,500 jobs within the agricultural, manufacturing, healthcare and environmental industries for youth across Canada facing employment barriers.
Second Chance executive director Chris Baginski-Hansen said this funding for a three-year program gives them better security to offer opportunities for young people.
“We’re in a pandemic and we’re still providing programming,” she said, “We’re holding up pretty darn good.”
Along with providing resources for building employable skills, Baginski-Hansen said their program also looks at how to help support young people in other areas of their lives, such as access to transportation, food and mental health support.
“We need to balance the needs of our youth and the skill sets in demand,” said Baginski-Hansen.
Longfield agrees that youth need wraparound support beyond one-year programs, an idea that comes from Indigenous communities.
“They need to be accessible,” said Longfield about programs like Ways2Work, “You need to provide the opportunities to supply more than just opportunities for the employment piece, but also the life skills piece.”
“If you need help with groceries or if you need help with housing, you’re really wrapping-around support.”