Government pledges jobs for youth

Bentley announces $52 million for new initiatives

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

The Ontario government announced new initiatives yesterday that will help young people find summer work.

Chris Bentley, Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, said the McGuinty government’s Ontario Summer Job program will help find summer work for more than 70,000 young people.

The $52 million announcement entails three different initiatives.

“The first is in the Summer Job Program itself, providing support, job searches, and counselling on interviews,” Bentley said. “It can also provide a $2-per-hour incentive for employers such as businesses or non-profit organizations to hire students for up to 16 weeks.”

The service is available to any student aged 15 to 24 planning to return to school in the fall.

The second initiative is the Summer Company program, which will provide mentorship and support and up to $3,000 for entrepreneurial students to run their own businesses. The program will assist young people between the ages of 15 to 29 returning to school in September.

The third initiative is an experience program to provide jobs for up to 16 weeks, and many six-to-eight-week programs in various government ministries and agencies.

Among those participating ministries are the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines, and the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

Bentley said last year’s program set a minimum of providing 55,000 students with job help. The final number exceeded 70,000 and that number is expected to increase again this year.

Olivia Chow, a New Democrats MP, said the program comes at a crucial time because the Harper government recently cut $55 million from the federal student work program.

“Summer jobs are desperately needed by students because the fees are so high,” Chow said.

“I wish the McGuinty government would put more money into post-secondary education and control the tuition increases,” she said. “This simply makes it even more desperate to make students find summer jobs.

“Having a place to find jobs and getting assistance is good, but tuition fees also need to be under control.”

More information about the program and its applications and deadlines are available at the Employment Ontario website, www.ontario.ca/employmentontario or by calling 1-800-387-5656.

Bentley said the information should also be available at job counselling centres at most colleges and universities.

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