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Companies urged to bridge jobs gap for at-risk youth

Published in CBC News
Written by Steven D’Souza

When asked about why he has trouble getting a job, Jesse Brophy gives a blunt assessment.

“If you put another person with much better circumstances beside me, which one do you think would turn out better?” said the 25-year-old, who faced physical and verbal abuse at home when he was growing up.

Too often, he says, problems from the past continue to hurt his job prospects in the present.

“A lot of people, because of that, find me a little bit too much, because I wear my heart on my sleeve, I say it how it is,” said Brophy, who didn’t finish high school.

Sitting on the steps of Home Base, a drop-in centre in Richmond Hill, he describes the challenge of overcoming the stigma around at-risk youth in the workplace. He says employers are too quick to write young people off as lazy or unmotivated.

According to a new report from CivicAction, Brophy is not alone. In a new report titled “Escalator: Jobs for Youth Facing Barriers,” the group estimates 83,000 — or 1 in 10 — youth in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area are both without a job and not in education or training. The report finds the situation even more difficult when you look closely at the numbers.

Read the full article here.