Human Resources and Skills Development Canada

Human Resources and Skills Development Canada

February 22, 2011 10:00 ET

Government of Canada and the YMCA Helping Young Canadians Gain the Experience They Need to Get a Job

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Feb. 22, 2011) - Post-secondary graduates are getting valuable work experience through a YMCA internship project sponsored by the Government of Canada. The milestone was celebrated today by the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development.

"In today's environment, it is more important than ever that young Canadians develop the skills they need to participate and succeed in the job market," said Minister Finley. "Internships like this make a real difference in the lives of young Canadians and will help them reach their full potential."

The YMCA's Post-Secondary Graduate Youth Eco Internship Program placed 349 post-secondary graduates from diverse educational backgrounds into paid internships in the non-profit, public and private sectors with a focus on the environment. These positions, offered in a wide range of organizations, helped young graduates learn the skills required to gain and sustain future employment.

"In this tough economy, Canadian youth are struggling to gain the work experience they need for future long-term employment," said Medhat Mahdy, President and Chief Executive Officer of YMCA of Greater Toronto. "These internships in both the not-for profit and commercial sectors are providing youth with valuable training, skills and work experience as they prepare to join the workforce of tomorrow."

The Government of Canada provided over $5.8 million in Career Focus funding to the program.

This news release is available in alternative formats upon request.


As part of the Government of Canada's Youth Employment Strategy, the Career Focus program is one of three programs that help young Canadians, particularly those facing barriers to employment, obtain career information, develop skills, gain work experience, find good jobs and stay employed. The other two programs are Summer Work Experience and Skills Link.

Career Focus links young post-secondary graduates with potential employers who can provide them with career-related work experience and help them acquire advanced employment skills to facilitate their transition into the rapidly changing labour market.

Through the 2010 "Jobs and Growth Budget," the Government of Canada committed an additional $60 million to the Skills Link and Career Focus programs. This additional one-time investment will enable more young Canadians to gain the experience and skills they need to successfully participate in the labour market while the economy recovers.

Youth employment programs are also part of the Government of Canada's strategy to create the best educated, most skilled and most flexible workforce in the world. The Government underscored its commitment to this strategy in Canada's Economic Action Plan. A key component of the Plan is to create more and better opportunities for Canadian workers through skills development. To learn more about Canada's Economic Action Plan, visit

The Career Focus program is delivered by Service Canada, which provides one-stop personalized services for Government of Canada programs, services and benefits. For more information about this program, visit, call 1 800 O-Canada or drop by your local Service Canada Centre.

Contact Information

  • Office of Minister Finley
    Michelle Bakos
    Press Secretary
    Human Resources and Skills Development Canada
    Media Relations Office