YMCA employment program gets big federal grant

Kelowna-based program helps young people find work

The federal government is giving the YMCA’s Jumpstart Employment Essentials program in Kelowna$794,476.

Kelowna-Lake Country MP Stephen Fuhr made the announcement Monday, saying the money will come from the Skills Link component of the federal Youth Employment Strategy.

The strategy helps young people overcome barriers and gain the skills and experience they need to find and keep good jobs. The barriers can include, but are not limited to, challenges faced by recent young immigrants, youths with disabilities, young single-parents, youths who have not completed high school, Indigenous youths and and youths living in rural or remote areas of the country.

“The federal government recognizes the importance of supporting young people in our community overcome barriers to employment,” said Fuhr.

“By helping them develop the skills and knowledge they need to gain meaningful employment, we are ensuring they have a fair chance at a better future.”

In the recent federal budget, Ottawa announced $339 million to create up to 35,000 additional positions under the Canada Summer Jobs program each year for the next three years. It is also providing an additional $395.5 million over three years—$165.4 million of it this year—for the Youth Employment Strategy to create new positions under Skills Link for 15,000 green jobs fro young people and another 1,600 jobs for youth in the heritage sector sector. The three-year funding will help 33,000 vulnerable youths develop the skills they need to find work or go back to school.

The local money was welcomed because it will help young people here, said Allyson Graf, general manager of community and strategic initiatives for the YMCA of Okanagan.

“This vital funding from the Government of Canada has provided Central Okanagan youth the opportunity to gain the certifications, skills and confidence needed to be successful in our local workforce,” she said.

“It can be challenging for youth to make the transition to work and adulthood. The Skills Link funding is making it possible for them to do so. This investment in our community is changing the lives of many, helping local youth build a bright future.”

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