Scarborough youth given HOPE of getting job, returning to school

More than 40 youth in Scarborough will receive job training and work placements next year thanks to funding from the federal government for the Boys and Girls Club of East Scarborough’s pre-employment (HOPE) program.

“For many young Canadians, making the transition to the job market is a challenge, especially in today’s environment,” Roxanne James, MP for Scarborough Centre, said in a press release Nov. 9.

“That’s why our government is creating opportunities for youth to succeed through support for initiatives like the…HOPE project.”

AUDIO: Howard Moriah, manager of youth and community outreach services at the Boys and Girls Club of East Scarborough, shares his thoughts.

[audio:http://www.torontoobserver.ca/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/HOPE-program-audio.mp3]

The project started as a pilot program last November. Twenty-four participants signed up for “employability workshops” that ran three weeks, where they learned about time management and communication, in addition to resumé basics.

Based on their career interests, they were then enrolled in work placements that ran eight weeks.

“We started [the program] because we recognized that there’s a need to continue our work with youth,” said Howard Moriah, manager of youth and community outreach services at the club.

“[We] realized we need to get them more involved [in the community] and address some of the barriers they face.”

The HOPE project is one of the initiatives being funded by the Skills Link Program, which falls under the federal government’s Canada Youth Employment Strategy.

Skills Link helps Canadians between the age of 15 and 30 who have what they term “barriers to employment” – single parents, people with disabilities, recent immigrants, Aboriginal youth and those who have dropped out of school.

The HOPE program goes beyond getting youth a job and tries to get them to complete their high school diplomas and pursue a post-secondary education or apprenticeship program.

According to Moriah, 20 out of the 24 participants completed the program last year, something he finds remarkable.

“When you stop to think about youth that have barriers coming in and doing [the workshop] then doing an eight week placement…that’s pretty good,” he said, adding that the continuation of the program was dependent on funding.

The next round of workshops and placements by the HOPE program are scheduled to start after July 2012.

The program is receiving over $337,000 in funding from Skills Link.