Patty Hajdu wants to level the playing the field to ensure the success of as many Canadian youth as possible.
Hajdu, the federal minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, was in Duncan on Aug. 21 to visit the Cowichan Valley Youth Services Society’s offices on Trunk Road.
While there, she announced that Ottawa will continue to fund the society’s Youth Employment Mentorship Program another $835,000 through the Skills Link program for the next three years to cover its costs.
The funding will enable close to 100 youth in Duncan to learn or improve valuable job skills such as career planning, communication, time management, budgeting and resumé development.
The young people will also gain work experience with local employers in areas such as food services, retail, agriculture, health services and construction.
“Three years ago, I ran a homeless shelter in Ontario so the work that goes on here is near and dear to my heart,” said Hajdu, who is visiting Vancouver Island to meet with the Liberal caucus in Nanaimo for a retreat this week.
“Everyone deserves a fair chance, no matter what their circumstances. Finding success can be harsh in our society and my goal is to level the playing the field. The funding for this program is intended to make sure that the true potential in every person can be seen.”
Each year, the federal government invests more than $330 million in the Youth Employment Strategy to help young people gain the skills and work experience they need to find and maintain good employment.
In its budget this year, the government proposes to provide an additional $448.5 million to the YES program over five years, starting in 2018–19.
Michelle Bell, executive director at the Cowichan Valley Youth Services Society, said the organization and the young people who have benefited from the Youth Employment Mentorship Program appreciate the federal funding the program has received over the last 11 years.
“The Cowichan Valley can be a tough community with high unemployment for youth, so there are lots of challenges to overcome,” she said.
“We are glad for this support and happy that this program has been working so well here.”