More youth to gain work experience thanks to funding increase

Island businesses, municipalities and training institutions have until Friday to apply for money to help hire or train underemployed young people.

Funding for federal Skills Link program has more than doubled to almost $163M

Ottawa has more than doubled the funding available for projects. Applications are being accepted until end of day Friday. (Lynne Sladky/AP)

Island businesses, municipalities and training institutions have until Friday to apply for money to help hire or train underemployed young people. 

The Trudeau government has more than doubled funding for the Skills Link program, adding an additional $87.6 million to last year's funding. That means the total dollar figure available for employment assistance this year is $162.6 million.  

It's the importance of getting youth the employment skills they need to get employment.- Julie Lefebvre, director of regional programming for Employment and Social Development Canada

The funding will be provided to hire youth between the ages of 15 and 30 who have challenges finding employment, but who are not receiving Employment Insurance.

"We're talking about youth who have not completed high school, or Indigenous youth, youth with disabilities, or for example, newcomers that need a first Canadian work experience," said Julie Lefebvre, director of regional program delivery for Employment and Social Development Canada. 

Thousands more to be helped 

Skills Link targets underemployed youth - those who haven't finished high school, single parents and newcomers trying to get their first job. (Kenny Sharpe/CBC)

Youth living in remote and rural locations, and those who are single parents will also be targeted. 

It's expected thousands more young people will gain work experience through the program because of the added funding. A full or partial wage subsidy along with other supports will be offered through Skills Link. 

"It's the importance of getting youth the employment skills they need to get employment. So the additional funding has been provided to the department to support more projects and help more youth," said Lefebvre. 

Certain projects will be given priority, including ones that target green jobs, female youth who are at-risk, jobs currently filled by temporary foreign workers, and projects that tackle homelessness or addictions in innovative ways.