Human Resources and Social Development Canada

Human Resources and Social Development Canada

December 15, 2008 14:33 ET

Government of Canada Delivers Employment Help for Newfoundland and Labrador Youth

ST. JOHN'S, NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR--(Marketwire - Dec. 15, 2008) - The St. John's area will benefit from the Government of Canada's investment in an employment project aimed at local youth at risk of homelessness. Choices for Youth's Train for Trades project is providing orientation, training and support for 10 at-risk youth.

"Canada's economy is as strong as its workers and families, and we are taking concrete steps to strengthen Canada's work force for the future by investing in our youth," said the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development. "In supporting this project, the Government is helping at-risk youth in St. John's acquire the skills, knowledge and experience they need to move forward in their lives, and is working to reduce the cycle of homelessness."

"Through this new skilled trades employment project, Choices for Youth's Train for Trades, we are endeavouring to meet the needs of an extremely vulnerable population of youth who require support and opportunities to make sustainable long-term changes in their lives," says Mr. Sheldon Pollett, Executive Director of Choices for Youth Inc., which runs the Train for Trades project. "This would not be possible without the support of our government partners."

The project will receive $321,134 in federal funding. It focuses on employment and careers in the skilled trades during the pre-construction and construction periods of the Lilly Building project, which will provide 14 low-income housing units for local at-risk youth when renovations are complete. The project includes monitoring and case management, as well as a final evaluation of the project with participant and employer surveys and interviews.

The Government of Canada is supporting the project through three federal government programs: Skills Link, which helps youth facing barriers to employment develop the skills and work experience they need to participate in the job market; Labour Market Partnerships, which encourages, supports and facilitates labour force adjustments and human resources planning activities that are in the public interest; and the Homelessness Partnering Strategy's Federal Horizontal Pilot Projects program, which provides funding to enhance collaboration with other federal programs and departments to prevent and reduce homelessness.

Choices for Youth's Train for Trades project reflects the federal government's commitment to working in partnership with the provinces and territories, communities and stakeholders to provide Canadians with the training, skills and opportunities they need to participate in the work force and contribute to their communities.

Service Canada, which delivers the federal government's programs, brings Government of Canada services and benefits together in a single delivery network. It provides Canadians with one-stop service they can access however they choose-by telephone at 1 800 O-Canada, on the Internet at, or in person at Service Canada Centres across the country.

This news release is available in alternative formats upon request.


Choices for Youth Inc. is a dynamic, progressive organization that works with youth who have experienced, and continue to experience, substantial barriers and trauma in their lives. It adheres to an empowerment model in helping youth take responsibility for their lives and enabling them to meet their goals. Emphasis is placed on ensuring that youth have a substantial voice in determining the nature of their experiences while participating in programs. The Train For Trades project addresses skills development and employment in the construction industry as elements encouraging and assisting youth to move forward in their lives, as well as reducing cycles of homelessness and housing instability experienced by at-risk youth.

Choices for Youth Inc.'s Train for Trades project

Between August 11, 2008, and March 27, 2009, the Train for Trades project is providing 10 at-risk youth with orientation, training and high-level support to explore career paths in the skilled trades through work experience as part of a construction team on the Lilly Building project, a low-income housing unit in St. John's.

The youth will each develop a career action plan to help overcome barriers to employment and develop a broad range of skills and knowledge to help them participate in the labour market or return to school. The project includes monitoring, case management and a final evaluation of the project with participant and employer surveys and interviews.

Skills Link

The Skills Link program helps youth facing barriers to employment, such as single parents, Aboriginal youth, young persons with disabilities, recent immigrants, youth living in rural and remote areas and high school dropouts, obtain the knowledge and develop the broad range of skills and work experience they need to participate in the job market.

Skills Link provides a client-centred approach based on an assessment of the specific needs of individual youth. The program supports youth in developing basic and advanced employment skills. Eligible participants between 15 and 30 years of age-who are not receiving Employment Insurance benefits-are assisted through a coordinated approach, offering longer-term supports and services that can help them find and keep a job.

- Funding provides orientation, training and support for participating youth, who will explore jobs in the skilled trades as they assist with construction on the Lilly Building project. Once renovations are complete, the building will include 14 low-income housing units for at-risk local youth.

Labour Market Partnerships

The Labour Market Partnerships program allows communities to improve their capacity for dealing with human resources requirements and for implementing labour force adjustments that support long-term job creation. Funding up to a maximum of three years can be provided under Labour Market Partnerships.

- Funding support is related to hiring a Program Development Coordinator to create a program to provide training and concrete experience that will help at-risk youth enter an area of the labour market that is currently experiencing a significant labour shortage.

Homelessness Partnering Strategy's Federal Horizontal Pilot Projects

The goal of this program is to give youth who are homeless or at risk of homelessness an opportunity to develop the skills necessary for successful transition into employment-focused training and educational pursuits. The Homelessness Partnering Strategy's (HPS) Federal Horizontal Pilot Projects program has provided Choices for Youth with just over $99,000 in funding for support workers who help youth access long-term housing, basic literacy/math skills, peer mentoring and pre-employment services. Other partners such as the Government of Canada's Skills Link program and the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador cover the employment preparation component. Through the project, participants are completing a basic carpentry skills program that will lead to an internship constructing a facility that will provide longer-term housing for 14 youth.

Homelessness Partnering Strategy

Our government is fulfilling its commitment to help those seeking to break free from the cycles of homelessness and poverty with an investment of more than $1.9 billion in housing and homelessness over the next five years to March 31, 2014. The HPS is a unique community-based program aimed at preventing and reducing homelessness in Canada by providing funding and direct support to more than 60 communities across Canada.

Under the HPS, the Government of Canada is offering to work in partnership with all the provinces and territories. Once put in place, such partnerships would encourage better alignment of federal and provincial/territorial investments, and help to provide a seamless continuum of supports for homeless people.

Through the Federal Horizontal Pilot Projects program, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada is working with other federal departments to address factors that may lead to homelessness, such as prison terms, unemployment, mental health issues, family violence and immigration. Through work with other federal departments, the HPS seeks to explore innovative ways to reduce and prevent homelessness.

The HPS has three main initiatives: the Homelessness Partnership Initiative, the Homelessness Accountability Network and the Surplus Federal Real Property for Homelessness Initiative.

The Homelessness Partnership Initiative is the cornerstone of the Homelessness Partnering Strategy. Its housing-first approach recognizes that the first step is to provide individuals with transitional and supportive housing.

The HPI has four funding components:

- Designated Communities

- Outreach Communities

- Aboriginal Communities

- Federal Horizontal Pilot Projects

The Homelessness Accountability Network helps to strengthen program accountability. It also develops knowledge and encourages organizations to reinforce their networks and share best practices.

The Surplus Federal Real Property for Homelessness Initiative makes surplus federal property as well as land available to community organizations, the not-for-profit sector, and other levels of government for projects that prevent and reduce homelessness.

Contact Information

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