Program offers unemployed a second chance

With the recent economic crisis many laid off Ontarians face an uncertain future, but the government hopes the Second Career program will allow those unemployed help in the right direction.

Implemented in 2008, Second Career is a $355-million, three-year plan aimed at helping the newly unemployed find new careers where there is high demand.

Current trainee and student, Fabian France believes the program works: “I actually find the program rewarding and I am in something I am interested in doing,” he said.

Laid off from his customer service job at Bell Canada and undecided about his next career move, France, 26, weighed his options.

After learning about Second Career through Employment Ontario, he decided to return to school. Currently enrolled within the police foundations program at Centennial College, France feels his decision was the right one.

“The teachers and supporters have been very helpful,” he said.

John Milloy, Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, hopes Ontarians see the benefits to the program and believes it will indirectly help to create other jobs.

“We’re benefiting the individual, the employer and we’re benefiting all of Ontario because they (the worker) are going to be adding to our economic prosperity,” Milloy said.

However, less than a year old, France believes the program still has areas that need improvement.

“There is no follow-up between the Second Career teachers and the actual students,” France said.

In November 2008 changes were made to help develop the program including adding workers laid off as far back as Jan. 2005 instead of those laid off within only a year and increasing the $28,000 initial stipend.

Milloy anticipates these changes will not only improve the program, but also help employers see the high demand for job opportunities not being met.

“It is unacceptable we have individuals with skills and experience… and have employers who have jobs that are going wanting and need to be filled,” Milloy said.

So far Second Career has helped nearly 4,000 Ontarians find a new job.