Vulnerable Youth in Western Manitoba can now access new employability program

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Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada, RBC and Child and Family Services of Western Manitoba to provide local employment training program for former youth in care

Vulnerable youth in Western Manitoba, as young as 16, will now have a lifechanging opportunity to learn essential skills and access resources necessary to enter the workforce through Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada’s Youth Works Program. The program is supported by RBC Future Launch, a 10-year, $500 million commitment to help Canadian youth prepare for the jobs of tomorrow.

Offered to young people in Western Manitoba through Child and Family Services of Western Manitoba, the program will provide youth in and from permanent care with relevant skills training, internships, job placements and career mentorship support. The goal of the program is to help young people from care make the successful transition from receiving an education to obtaining sustainable employment. A key component of RBC’s $1 million donation is the hiring of trauma-informed employment counselors to assist in making this happen in four regions across Canada.

“Child and Family Services of Western Manitoba is pleased to be selected as one of the four sites from across Canada to be involved in this pertinent initiative assisting youth in and from care with their employment and support needs,” says Dave McGregor, CEO, Child and Family Services of Western Manitoba. “We know that after high school, as young people transition into adulthood, it can be a very challenging period and even more so for youth from care who do not always have natural supports. This program will be vital in helping to fill that need.”

Each year approximately 2,300 youth, as young as 16, age out of Canada’s child welfare system, and are no longer eligible for the type of support they have been receiving while in care. As they enter adulthood, they lack many things their peers take for granted such as a family home to return to while they look for a job, help with groceries and bills when times are tough, or someone to help them prepare for a job interview. Without the necessary supports to become self-sufficient, youth in Western Manitoba face a multitude of barriers when transitioning from care and can often face a future of poverty and homelessness.

“Youth transitioning out of care face so many obstacles. When they exit the child welfare system, they are on their own. They have no family to lean on or a support system to help them navigate the challenges they face as independent adults. Many couch surf or access shelters and food banks to help them get by,” says Valerie McMurtry, President and CEO, Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada. “That’s why providing employability supports, such as skills training, career mentorship and job placements is so critical to ensuring that youth from care can achieve their own vision of success and avoid poverty.”

Through Youth Works supported by RBC Future Launch – in partnership with Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada, young people will be able to access:

 a trauma-informed employment counsellor, sensitive to their needs, who can help them assess their strengths, develop employability skills, and navigate their transition into the job market
 internship, job placement opportunities and mentorship from an employment counselor
 employment training to help youth fill the gaps in their skill set so that they can move to the next step in their employment plan.

“Our goal is to ensure Canadian youth are more confident, better prepared and equipped for the future of work,” says Glenn Crook, Vice President, Commercial Financial Services, RBC. “This program provides a unique opportunity for RBC to support some of the most vulnerable youth in Western Manitoba, and we thank our partners for their work to make a measurable difference in the lives of youth transitioning from care.”

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