Today, the City of Toronto announced a new partnership with Desjardins that will provide a one-time, $300,000 contribution to support Toronto youth, particularly Black, Indigenous and racialized youth through employment, workforce development pathways, training and a financial literacy initiative.
The allocation of $300,000 will support the development of two pilot initiatives and allow one existing program to expand its support of racialized youth 16 to 29 years of age. Desjardins’s Youth TO Employment funding will increase opportunities for Toronto’s vulnerable youth populations who are experiencing high levels of unemployment and have been pushed away from the labour market. A motion for this funding was approved by City Council in December 2021.
The first pilot initiative is a Youth Skills Development Pilot in Little Jamaica. The program will be an 18-month initiative for youth ages 16 to 29 years old in Little Jamaica and includes youth who identify as Black, Indigenous and/or part of racialized communities. The pilot will focus on financial literacy with the goal of sustainable employment in the financial industry. This pilot is slated to begin in fall 2022 with a Request for Proposal (RFP) scheduled to open to the public in early May, to engage an organization located in and supporting community members living in Little Jamaica that is able to facilitate this financial literacy initiative.
A second youth pilot is in partnership with Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC) and is scheduled to begin in late summer 2022. The Neighbourhood Experts on Community Consulting pilot will focus on supporting a number of youth from TCHC communities through a training initiative designed to explore the process of management consulting. It will also help youth develop and practice critical thinking skills, monitoring and evaluation, all through a consulting framework. Once the training is completed, there will be opportunities for youth to take on client-based projects supporting TCHC (and other agencies) as consultants to engage tenants on special projects.
The remainder of the funding will go toward ArtworksTO, an existing City program that supports artists and entrepreneurs from many racialized backgrounds. Funding will further develop and implement an alumni database, paid internships, industry standard portfolio training, existing training pathways, seed awards, sponsorships and scholarships.
Through the Desjardins’s Youth TO Employment initiative, youth ages 16 to 29 with employment experience will have multiple pathways to enhance their skills while obtaining additional training and professional development. Participants will receive training for specific opportunities that incorporate practical experience, mentorship and connections to community youth employment networks for future opportunities.
“On behalf of the City, I want to thank Desjardins Group for providing this funding to support Toronto youth, particularly Black, Indigenous and racialized youth through employment, workforce development pathways, training and a financial literacy initiative. It is critical that the City find new and innovative ways to help youth gain meaningful employment experience and opportunities to enhance their skills and this funding will help provide new training opportunities and enhance existing programs for youth.”
– Mayor John Tory
“As we continue to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s imperative that we provide pathways for youth to obtain job skills and gain access to opportunities. Our young people are the City’s future, and Connect Youth TO Employment funding will unlock opportunities for vulnerable young Torontonians who have been pushed away from the labour market and face high levels of unemployment.”
– Deputy Mayor Michael Thompson (Scarborough Centre), Chair of the Economic and Community Development Committee
“For youth, job experience is an important step on the path to adulthood. Investing in youth now, is an investment in our city for the future. Desjardins’s Youth TO Employment funding will support the critical development and expansion of job youth-focused employment initiatives in the City, including in Eglinton-Lawrence.”
– Councillor Mike Colle (Eglinton-Lawrence)
“We need to be honest about just how big the challenges are for future generations and act accordingly. Desjardins wants to support youth through initiatives that encourage them to exceed their own expectations, take on new challenges and above all, believe that anything is possible. We are proud to partner with the City of Toronto to empower vulnerable youth and provide them with the tools they need to help make this a reality.”
– Guy Cormier, President and CEO, Desjardins Group
“The generous support of corporate donors and partners is critical to Toronto Community Housing’s ability to continue to provide free and affordable programming and engagement opportunities that lift our communities. We are grateful to the City of Toronto and Desjardins for their generous support of our innovative program that will nurture critical thinking and provide youth with marketable skills in consulting management that can lead them to meaningful employment and help them realize their potential.”
– Jag Sharma, President and CEO, Toronto Community Housing Corporation
Desjardins Group is the largest cooperative financial group in North America and the fifth largest cooperative financial group in the world, with assets of $397 billion. It was named one of the 2021 Canada’s Top 100 Employers by Mediacorp. To meet the diverse needs of its members and clients, Desjardins offers a full range of products and services to individuals and businesses through its extensive distribution network, online platforms and subsidiaries across Canada. Ranked among the world’s strongest banks according to The Banker magazine, Desjardins has one of the highest capital ratios and credit ratings in the industry.
Toronto is home to more than 2.9 million people whose diversity and experiences make this great city Canada’s leading economic engine and one of the world’s most diverse and livable cities. As the fourth largest city in North America, Toronto is a global leader in technology, finance, film, music, culture and innovation, and consistently places at the top of international rankings due to investments championed by its government, residents and businesses. For more information visit the City’s website or follow us on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.