Cape Breton (North America) : Sydney-Victoria MP Mark Eyking announced on Wednesday that the government will provide $644,543 for the project.
The project focuses on strengthening the leadership and life skills of youth in Cape Breton. It includes hands-on work experience, job search assistance and upgrading resources for youth, ages 16-29, who are facing barriers to employment. Eligible participants include single parents, those with disabilities, newcomers or people who live in rural or remote communities.
Andre Gallant, CEO of the YMCA of Cape Breton, said he is excited to have the program long term as opposed to having to reapply for funding.
“There are a lot of people who can benefit from it and be able to look ahead, and it’s going to make it a lot easier to deliver the support people need,” he said.
Developing Canada’s youth is a priority, said Eyking in a news release.
“The Youth-Skills Link Project presented by the YMCA of Cape Breton is a concrete example of what we can achieve for youth by working in partnership with organizations across the country,” said Eyking. “Projects like this one can help put regular paycheques into the reach of those who need it. But more than that, they give young Canadians the chance to change their future for the better.”
The program begins with time in the classroom before an employer provides participants with work for a period of time. Later, the participants will return to the classroom for a one-week skill development refresher and then it is back to a job for another few weeks. They will then return to the classroom to work on an action plan, figuring out what they want to do next, either finding a job in a certain field or attending school for a diploma or certificate.
The federal money will fund the program for three years. There are no financial risks for the employer willing to take a participant as the program is fully funded.
“The big piece is to pay wages while the participants are on their work placement, that’s the most costly component,” said Gallant.
The funding will also help cover the cost of hiring a co-ordinator for the program.
The co-ordinator will manage the process, find employment placements, be in touch with participants as well as work with regular employment staff in terms of referrals and setting up guest speakers and trainers.
“In Cape Breton, with the employment rate the way it is, we have lots of clients that can be referred to this program, and now we will be able to reserve a spot for the next intake,” said Gallant. “Knowing that we will have three years of funding for multiple intakes means we will have that many more young people we can support.”
Gallant said staff members are starting to look through client profiles to create referrals. People can still apply for the program by visiting one of three YMCA Nova Scotia Works Career and Unemployment Centres in Sydney, Glace Bay or New Waterford.
The first phase of the program is expected to begin at the end of January.
Note: News shared for public awareness with reference from the information provided at online news portals.