Opportunity Council and Skills Training Investments to Support Underrepresented Groups
TORONTO ― As the province gradually starts to recover, Ontario is creating opportunities for young people through the inaugural work and membership of the Premier's Council on Equality of Opportunity. To further support disadvantaged youth and job seekers from underrepresented groups, the province is investing $2.2 million to help them develop the skills they need for successful careers.
Details were provided today by Premier Doug Ford, Todd Smith, Minister of Children, Community and Social Services, Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development, and Jamil Jivani, Ontario's Advocate for Community Opportunities, at Youth Employment Services in Toronto.
"Our government is committed to breaking down barriers and ensuring everyone from all walks of life gets the opportunity to achieve their full potential," said Premier Ford. "To help turn lives around, I am looking forward to receiving the advice of the impressive members of our new Council and seeing the results of our investment in critically important training and skills development programs."
This morning, Premier Ford and Minister Smith attended the inaugural meeting of the Premier's Council on Equality of Opportunity to congratulate Chair Jamil Jivani and all of the new Council members. The Council, a key part of the government's ongoing COVID-19 jobs and recovery efforts, is providing an avenue for young people to engage with government decision-makers and share ideas for building a diverse, skilled and future-oriented workforce. This group of multi-generational leaders will be instrumental in promoting innovation, entrepreneurship and talent with a goal of decreasing youth unemployment rates.
"I want to thank the inaugural members of the Premier's Council on Equality of Opportunity for taking on this important role," said Minister Smith. "As part of our government's COVID-19 recovery plan, inclusive economic empowerment is a top priority, and I look forward to hearing from the Council on how we can achieve this priority through the Black Youth Action Plan. These dedicated individuals will help our government empower families and youth across Ontario to access further opportunities and support."
One of the Council's initial tasks will be to gather feedback on the Black Youth Action Plan from individuals and organizations in Ontario's Black communities, including current program partners, business owners and executives, opportunity-minded community groups, organized labour, employment services and training agencies, chambers of commerce, business associations, places of worship, civic institutions, and more. In addition to Council outreach, individuals and organizations will be invited to submit their feedback, recommendations and experiences on the Black Youth Action Plan and how to improve economic success and opportunities for Ontario's Black communities via email to BYAPfeedback@ontario.ca.
"It's critical that the Government of Ontario responds to the needs of young workers in today's economy, and I'm honoured to do my part to help as the first chair of the Premier's Council on Equality of Opportunity," said Jivani. "This council is made up of a talented, diverse, and inspiring group of leaders who bring tremendous expertise and life experience to this work. I'm excited for what we will accomplish together."
The government is also investing more than $2.2 million to support eight unique projects in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) that will help nearly 500 young people and job seekers from underrepresented groups receive practical on-the-job experience in a wide variety of sectors.
As part of the government's overall investment, $500,000 will be used to prepare 100 disadvantaged youth with training in cloud computing and programming. The 12-week program is run by Youth Employment Services in partnership with Amazon, Accenture and Fast Lane training.
"These programs will help prepare our youth for the jobs of today and tomorrow through the development of in-demand skills like digital literacy," said Minister McNaughton. "Jobs can change lives and our government is committed to supporting our marginalized youth and ensuring they get an opportunity to succeed in this highly competitive global economy."
These projects were developed in cooperation with industry, education and training providers. They drive innovation, help employers find skilled workers, and help job seekers begin well-paid careers.
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