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Creating New Paths to Employment for Youth

CivicAction takes action on youth unemployment with the support of the Ontario government and the private sector

For more information on Escalator, visit the initiative page

Sept. 8, 2014, Toronto – Today, CivicAction, joined by the Honourable Tracy MacCharles, Ontario Minister of Children and Youth Services, and Toronto Raptor Alumni and Community Ambassador Jamaal Magloire, announced a new initiative to connect youth facing barriers in the GTHA with their first job. The Ontario government and the private sector agree that youth unemployment is too high, which is why the government has partnered with CivicAction to make a difference.

CivicAction gathered with private, government and not-for-profit partners to launch Escalator, an initiative to connect youth facing barriers with employment. As part of Escalator, CivicAction has adopted four strategies for fighting youth unemployment:

  • Use new platforms to connect jobs with youth who need employment
  • Help small and medium-sized businesses to post their job openings online
  • Help pool private sector money for training in areas where there are jobs
  • Create opportunities for mentoring

At the news conference, Minister MacCharles announced continued financial support as a part of Ontario’s Youth Action Plan to help bring the ideas in Escalator to life. “Youth unemployment requires a co-operative approach between the private sector, communities and government. Our partnership with CivicAction is opening the door of opportunity so that at-risk youth can overcome barriers, pursue their dreams and realize their potential,” says Minister MacCharles.

Today, CivicAction also announced initial projects with LinkedIn Canada, the world’s largest online professional network, and NPower Canada, which with corporate partners delivers training in the tech sector for at-risk youth.

“CivicAction is working with the private sector in unprecedented ways to close the skills gap, make the job market more accessible to everyone, and give new networks to youth who currently don’t have them,” says the CEO of CivicAction, Sevaun Palvetzian.

CivicAction’s work with LinkedIn Canada will make it easier for young people use the platform to present themselves professionally and ultimately find jobs. Employers at small and medium-sized business will receive help to post their entry-level jobs and internships free on LinkedIn.

“Our employees are thrilled to be working with CivicAction to help empower youth and pave the way for a bright and successful future in the workforce,” says Brian Church, Country Manager, LinkedIn Canada.

CivicAction’s partnership with NPower Canada will bring a proven employer-designed technology training and internship program for youth facing barriers to the GTHA. A number of high-profile corporate partners have already signed on to work with NPower Canada.

“We are proud to support organizations like CivicAction and NPower Canada who share our commitment to educate for long term success in the workplace of the future,” says Nitin Kawale, President, Cisco Canada.

Work on the mentorship strategy is underway and will also require the cooperation of the public, private and not-for-profit sectors, as well as investment from the private sector.

“I am excited to see companies like RBC, TD, Accenture, Cisco and Virgin Mobile make youth unemployment a priority area. We will be working with these companies and calling on other private sector organizations to step up,” says Rod Phillips, the Chair of CivicAction.

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Our thanks to CNW Group for sponsoring this announcement.

For more information or to arrange interviews, please contact:
Sarah Harris

Director, Communications
T (416) 309-4480 x 508
M (647) 267-4997

Quick Facts:

  • Through the Youth Jobs Strategy, Ontario is investing $295 million to create 30,000 new jobs for youth. This is in addition to ongoing investments in youth employment programs.
  • Ontario is investing an additional $375,000 to support CivicAction’s launch of three pilot projects.
  • CivicAction consulted with more than 800 employers, youth, community agencies and governments to understand the problem and the barriers facing these youth.
  • According to Statistics Canada, the total unemployment rate in Toronto is over 20% for youth aged 15-24, but for black youth it is almost 30% and Aboriginal youth almost 25%.
  • A study conducted by researchers from Columbia University and City University of New York, estimates that the cumulative lifetime burden to society for youth in U.S. who aren’t in school or working is $1 million per youth.
  • Download a copy of the Escalator Report here.
  • Download highlights of the Escalator Report here.
  • Our thanks to the members of the Youth Taskforce and Youth Working Group.
  • Our thanks to the sponsors of the Escalator Report.


For over 10 years, CivicAction has brought together senior executives and rising leaders from all sectors to tackle some of our region’s toughest social, economic and environmental challenges.

CivicAction sets a non-partisan agenda, builds strategic partnerships, and launches campaigns, programs and organizations that transform our region. To find out more visit


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