Friday, March 4, 2022 — Youth Futures Program Returns to Provide Employment Skills Training for Ottawa Youth
The launch of the 2022 Youth Futures Program on Saturday March 5th, marks an important first step toward a return to normal for program organizers. While the 150 participants ranging in age from 16-21 will gather virtually for the first few weeks, an in-person return seems not too far away. This is welcome news for the program, now in its 14th year, which has helped to level the playing field and provide much needed support for more than 1,100 youth as they enter post-secondary studies and the working world.
“When I was a participant, Youth Futures gave me an opportunity that I would not have otherwise had. Mentors supported me in reaching my goals and I now get to provide that same support to another student,” said Youth Futures Mentor Fatima. Fatima is one of 10 Mentors hired to provide wrap-around support and guidance to youth during the program and acts as a liaison between employers and students during summer job placements.
Youth Futures is a six-month bilingual program led by the City of Ottawa and is administered in partnership with BCG Ottawa and the Ottawa Community Housing Foundation. Each year, more than 250 youth apply for the 150 placement spots to receive advanced leadership training, employment preparation and skills development, and post-secondary orientation assistance. A six-week paid summer placement is the highlight of the program, which helps to prepare youth for post-secondary education and employment. The program is provided at no cost to the participants.
This year’s return to in-person programming, will allow organizers to integrate program elements identified and delivered virtually last year. These enhancements are possible thanks to the support of community partners and investments made by program donors. In 2021, OCH Foundation received a two-year commitment of $150,000 from Royal Bank of Canada through its Future Launch initiative. In 2022, The Rideau Hall Foundation’s Catapult initiative is the program’s newest supporter, with a commitment of $149,000 over two years. “This support is critical to enabling the programs’ growth and continued success,” said OCH Foundation Executive Director Angela Bégin. “The funds will help improve program capacity.”
As the youth participants and mentors begin their first session, Youth Futures program staff turn their attention to engaging local organizations and businesses to host youth for a six-week summer job placement. “Youth in our communities have really struggled with finding meaningful employment opportunities because of the pandemic. We are really hoping our community will step up in a big way this year by sponsoring a placement,” said Bégin.
For more information on the Youth Futures program and to get involved, please visit the Youth Futures website at www.youth-futures.com.
Communications and Engagement Coordinator