Regent Park Sets up Youth Employment Service
By Ulli Diemer
Seven News, March 6, 1976
An employment referral service for unemployed teenagers is being set up in the Regent Park area, where the lack of jobs for young people is being felt very severely.
Still in its initial stages, the project has arranged job placement interviews for about 10 teenagers so far. Four or five of them successfully landed jobs as a result. The interviews are set up with Canada Manpower, which has been co-operating with the Regent Park undertaking.
The aim is to help teenagers (who must be at least 17 and out of school a year to qualify) to “sell themselves to employers”, and to define their objectives regarding further schooling, job training, and job-hunting. At this point, the project is “only an experiment”, according to Janet Ross of the Regent Park Community Improvement Association (RPCIA).
Its future and potential are linked to a job survey of Regent Park teenagers which was recently undertaken by four young people working on a grant from the Children’s Aids Society. When the results are compiled, the job situation in Regent Park should be clearer, as should the need for a job referral service.
The organizers of the project also hope to set up meetings with local businessmen to persuade them to provide jobs for unemployed young people. They point out that the first job is often most important, since employers always look for work experience. But many of the young people are caught up in a vicious circle: they have few academic qualification and no job experience to land them the first job.
Without the first job, they have no work record and consequently have a much harder time finding work. Project organizers hope that concerted efforts on their part can help to overcome this problem.
How successful they can be in the face of a sagging economy and government cutbacks that hit the least powerful hardest remains to be seen. Says Janet Ross, “We have to try something.”
Published in Seven News, Volume 6, Number 18, 6 March, 1976