- Stephen Lecce, MPP
Ontario Partners with MLSE LaunchPad to Help Youth Get Employment Ready
March 17, 2021
TORONTO – The Ontario government is providing $1 million over three years to MLSE LaunchPad’s employment programs to help youth facing barriers in Toronto access opportunities. MLSE LaunchPad is a place where youth use sport to recognize and reach their full potential. It also connects them with opportunities for skills development through hands-on training, job placements, coaching and mentorship opportunities. “Our government is committed to helping all children and youth develop their skills so they fulfill their dreams and establish a successful career,” said Todd Smith, Minister of Children, Community and Social Services. “By investing in MLSE LaunchPad’s employment programs, we are increasing access to skills development, helping youth overcome their barriers and opening the door to future employment opportunities.” Statistically, young people in Ontario have a disproportionately higher unemployment rate than the general population and are overrepresented in precarious, low-wage work. For youth facing systemic and structural barriers, access to learning opportunities such as skills training, work experience and other support can lead to improved economic outcomes such as higher income and better job retention. “We believe creating further employment opportunities for youth facing barriers through training that combines classroom and sport learning is more important now than ever,” said Tanya Mruck, Executive Director, MLSE LaunchPad. “MLSE LaunchPad’s employment programs have provided life-changing opportunities for hundreds of Canadian youth facing barriers. With this new funding from the Ontario government, our programs will continue to help our youth recognize and reach their potential, offering them meaningful employment opportunities during this time of unprecedented challenges and beyond.” In addition to MLSE LaunchPad funding, Ontario is investing $60 million over three years to enhance the Black Youth Action Plan, which works toward eliminating systemic, race-based disparities by increasing opportunities for Black children, youth and families across the province.
In January 2020, the unemployment rate for young people aged 15-24 was 10.2 per cent, almost double the overall provincial rate of 5.2 per cent. Additionally, approximately 12.1 per cent of Ontario youth between the ages of 15 and 24 can be classified as not being in education, employment or training.
MLSE LaunchPad is a 42,000 square foot Sport For Development facility. Supported by MLSE’s professional sports teams - the Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto Raptors, Toronto FC and Toronto Argonauts, MLSE LaunchPad provides free sport, life skills and employment training programs for youth aged 6-29. The facility partners with expert organizations to deliver programming that support their four pillars: Healthy Body, Healthy Mind, Ready For School and Ready For Work.
MLSE LaunchPad prioritizes supporting young people who face the most significant barriers to opportunity, including Black and Indigenous youth, those living in poverty, newcomers to Canada and girls and young women.
Black Youth Action Plan programs are delivered by over 70 community-based and culturally-focused community partners and currently support at least 10,800 Black children, youth and their families in Ottawa, Windsor and the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area.
The Premier’s Council on Equality of Opportunity was established in June to provide advice to government to help youth at risk overcome social and economic barriers and achieve success.
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