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Free Ontario program will give young people skills to pursue in-demand jobs


June 4, 2021
By Ground Water Canada

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Toronto – A $440,000 project funded by the Ontario government and led by not-for-profit Junior Achievement aims to help local communities recover more quickly from COVID-19 by addressing a shortage of workers in jobs like electrician, plumber, carpenter, computer analyst and software developer.

“There are exciting skilled trades and technology careers waiting for young people today and will be even more as current workers retire in the years to come,” said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development. “This investment is part of our strategy to break the stigma that still surrounds working in the skilled trades. We need to show students and their parents that becoming a tradesperson – a carpenter, a plumber, or an electrician – can be as fulfilling as becoming a doctor, laywer or an engineer.”

Free activities and events will be offered virtually and in-person for high school students aged 15 to 18, including:

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  • A province-wide virtual fair in October 2021 for 2,000 students to learn about skilled trades and technology careers.
  • A 50-hour training program from July 2021 to March 2022 for 800 students to acquire technical skills that help prepare them to succeed in these sought-after professions.
  • A province-wide virtual event in March 2022 for hundreds of youth to demonstrate their new skills and connect with local industry mentors.

“Junior Achievement in Ontario welcomes the support of the Skills Development Fund for JA’s Building a Stronger Future initiative – a youth entrepreneurship program specializing in the trades and technology sectors,” said Jennifer Holmes Weier, president and CEO at JA Central Ontario. “In partnership with JA charters across Ontario, this initiative will leverage JA’s signature Company Program, teaching high school students to think like entrepreneurs, learn essential skills, support their employability, and inspire them to consider careers in the trades and technology sectors.”