Volume 92, Issue 65

Friday, January 22, 1999


NEWS

USC prez wannabes

Allison faculty walk out

Court date conflicts

Renovations just need final stamp of Board

Teen unemployment worst in 25 years

From boots to suits: new EMBA program offered

Quickies

Caught on campus

Teen unemployment worst in 25 years

By Paul-Mark Rendon
Gazette Staff

Canadian youths have hit the brick wall of unemployment, according to a new study by the Canadian Council on Social Development.

The study indicates the number of youths working between 1989 and 1996 declined 21 per cent and the youth labour force participation rate continues to fall.

Jean Kunz, a research associate for the council and the report's co-author, said youth unemployment is at its highest point in 25 years. "Canadian teens have been shut out of the economic recovery of the '90s," she said.

Kunz said the report is also finding teens are staying in school to acquire the necessary skills of today's technologically advanced workplace. "[Teens] are realizing that staying in school is key, but they're also worried about how they'll pay for their education.

"What we're proposing is more of a long-term strategy rather than a band-aid approach," she said, adding the extension of the Youth Employment Strategy last December was not enough to remedy the situation.

Andrew Boggs, executive director of the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance, agreed, saying the Youth Employment Strategy provides a short-term solution. "It comes down to a matter of who you talk to, but I think [the extension of the plan] had more to do with flash. It won't last very long," he said.

However, Mike Saucier, director general of youth employment initiatives for the provincial government, said the extension of the Youth Employment Strategy is a long-term solution. "The funding is permanent at $155 million a year," he said.

Saucier added a big part of the strategy is directed at alleviating the "no job, no experience – no experience, no job" conundrum. "The renewed strategy provides for 100,000 internships as well as over $200 million for youth at risk over the next three years," he said.

Kunz said more and more teens are turning to volunteering as a method of gaining experience, but all youths are facing problems making the transition to the world of work. "The pipeline is blocked," she said.

"It's disturbing when the rest of the economy is doing well and youth is suffering," Boggs said.

Jim Spence, public relations officer for Youth Assisting Youth, a volunteering organization, said volunteerism has increased. "Over the last two years, we've seen an increase of 10 to 20 per cent," he said.

Volunteerism among youth aged 15 to 24 jumped to 33 per cent in 1997 from 18 per cent in 1987, according to Kunz, who attributed the increase to the shrinkage of the labour force.

Spence reiterated the problem of more students looking for jobs and having no luck. "With the cost of schooling and daily living, [volunteers] would like to be working," he said.


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Copyright The Gazette 1999