Cross Country Checkup

Are young people getting the post-secondary education they need?

Live from Algonquin College in Pembroke, Ont. - Breaking into the job market - Youth unemployment in parts of Canada is up to three times higher than the regular unemployment rate. But many businesses say they are struggling to find workers with the right skills. What's the solution?
Listen to the full episode1:53:00

Cross Country Checkup heads back to college in Pembroke, Ontario

Youth unemployment in some parts of Canada, is up to three times higher than the regular unemployment rate.  But many businesses say they still struggle to find workers with the right skills.  

Are young people getting the post-secondary education they need?

Host Rex Murphy was live from Algonquin College.

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LIVE in the Pembroke Commons
March 1, 2015  4-6 pm
Doors open at 3 pm
Algonquin College Waterfront Campus, Pembroke, Ont.
1 College Way (Frank Nighbor St. becomes College Way on campus)

Admission is free - everyone welcome.  Come to participate or just to watch.


One of the definitive moments in any person's life, and a mark of the transition from childhood to adulthood, is the point when a person takes on the responsibilities and challenges of making their own way in  the world start a job, or more ambitious ...embark on a career.  

Many students and parents alike struggle with the decision that would set a fix on a young person's future.

How much help do they get at the junction of such decisions ...from schools, governments, and business?

It would appear that at this moment in history, perhaps not enough. In some parts of the country the youth unemployment rate is three times that of the regular rate. It's true Canada has weathered a recession that hit other countries harder, but as the economy limps back to normal, many realize they are not sure what the new  normal is.

Businesses themselves are not sure. The proof is in the piles of cash many of them are sitting on waiting for conditions to improve before they continue to invest. Students don't have that luxury. Time presses on and  they must make their moves.

Many businesses say they are still struggling to find skilled workers even though youth unemployment is so high. Should business take a more direct initiative in training the workers they need they do in countries such as Germany, Switzerland and the UK? Should government take on a greater role in directing students to where the jobs are and informing them what skills are needed? What responsibility do parents and students bear in making the kind of choices that will lead to work?

Students want to learn. Schools want to teach. Business wants workers. But how do  you ensure the students end up with the skills that are in demand?  Are we doing a good job of matching  students to skills ...and skills to jobs?

This is why we are here today at Algonquin College's Waterfront Campus in Pembroke. It's a  place at the very centre of this issue.  This particular campus is relatively new.  It sprung up to meet a need in this area ...and  it's trying to make a difference.

There are few decisions that any young person makes that are tougher than choosing a direction to launch themselves into the world of work and a career.  We want to hear about the choices, the challenges, the successes and  the failures. We will hear from students, teachers, administrators here ...and we'd like to hear from others  across Canada as well as businesses and people who have found a career and can tell us how they managed it.
Our question today: "Are young people getting the post-secondary education they need?"

I'm Rex Murphy  ...on CBC Radio One ...and on Sirius XM, satellite radio channel 169 ...this is Cross Country Checkup.


Cheryl Jensen
President, Algonquin College
Twitter: @cheryljensen

Fred Blackstein
Retired nuclear engineer and Vice Chair of the Board of Governors of Algonquin College


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