NDP demands Wynne government keep employment program for at-risk aboriginal youth
Today during Question Period, Ontario NDP MPP Michael Mantha (Algoma-Manitoulin), pressed the Liberal government to reverse its decision to cut a successful employment training program for aboriginal children and youth on Manitoulin Island.
The Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities has replaced the “Jobs for Youth Program” with the “Youth Jobs Connection Program.” Over the past seven years Waubetek Business Development Corp has successfully been delivering the Jobs for Youth program in the region.
“This program change has resulted in youth employment positions for at-risk Aboriginal youth being reduced from 50 to 4 positions. Will your government reverse the cancellation of this important “Jobs for Youth” program which has done so much to guide aboriginal youth in a positive direction?,” Mantha said.
Over the past seven years, this program has enabled 420 Aboriginal Youth between the ages of 15-18 to be hired, trained and placed over that period.
“The results of this program have been outstanding, an increase in aboriginal youth in post-secondary from 62 per cent to 91 per cent in seven years. High risk behaviours were curbed. They worked with aboriginal and non-aboriginal employers to bridge the gap of cultural relationships and understanding. It has contributed to the regional economy. After the program ended many of the youth were re-employed by their original employers,” Mantha said.
“We know that our First Nations children and youth receive less than equitable services when it comes to education and child welfare compared to other Canadian youth. Will your government take every step to support this programming that redresses these inequities?”