Premier Kathleen Wynne announced a two-year, $295 million youth employment strategy at the Cambridge campus of Conestoga College, Wednesday.
The strategy is a four-point plan, which includes a youth unemployment fund, more money for grad students to help develop new skills and ideas, mentorship programs to connect youth with the business community and an innovation fund for young entrepreneurs.
"Often young people have a bright idea, but often they don't have access to the sometimes very small amount of money they would have to start a business, so that's what the Youth Entrepreneurship Fund is all about," Wynne told The Morning Edition host Craig Norris Wednesday.
The strategy, which is expected to create 30,000 new jobs for young people over its two-year course, is badly needed in Ontario where according to the latest National Household Survey the unemployment rate for people aged 15 to 24 hovers around 16.4 per cent, compared to overall rate of 7.5 per cent.
Wynne said her government consulted extensively with youth in order to craft the strategy and its aimed to reflect what people aged 15 to 24 want.
"It's not so much that we're looking for a job, 'I want a job,' but 'I want to create that job myself, I want to create my own business, or I know if I can work with people in the community,' we can together come up with an idea."
The new strategy is a welcome one in the labour community.
Carol Simpson, executive director of the Workforce Planning Board of Waterloo Wellington Dufferin, said she hopes the new support from the province will help young people move into jobs that better suit their education.
"We're hoping that some of this new funding will enable some of those underemployed young people to be able to reenter the labour market at a level which is suitable to them," she said.