Boys and Girls Clubs Big Brothers Big Sisters of Edmonton – Youth Employment

The Cause

Youth Employment

Currently, youth are over represented in unemployment estimates and are facing challenges in becoming gainfully employed because of changing labor market patterns. This is even more challenging for youth facing economic poverty, mental health challenges, coming from a single parent homes, newcomer and immigrant and Indigenous youth. To support the employability of our youth, we engage in activities involving career mentoring, job-readiness group programs with school and volunteer support, and a collection of events and activities with businesses, employers and community partners. These events included job-readiness workshops, employer tours, job shadowing, building work experience, and interview opportunities. Our BGCBigs staff, partners, and volunteers provide support in the following areas: Job searching, resumes building, career/post-secondary information gathering, interview preparation, building professionalism, financial literacy, and career options/exploration.

We support our career mentors in their work to “connect”, “inspire”, and “assist” mentees throughout the course of the youth employment program. Mentors are also coached to provide youth with practical support in applying for, preparing for, and starting post-secondary education or employment. Through this program, our young people are connected to employers in a more personal way. For example, they do tailored site visits, behind the scenes tours, job shadowing for the day, and one-on-one question and answer.

Who Will it Benefit?

The youth that come to our agency are ALL living in poverty, come from single-parent homes, deal with mental health challenges, are Indigenous, immigrant or newcomer youth, and struggle with academic, personal and social development. Our youth are ones that, based on these challenges, may not easily transition to employment environment. They will need support to encourage them and support them in putting their foot forward and confidence that they are employable. And they will need regular support as they continue along their employment journey.

Once particular targeted age group of youth for this program were Grade 9 students who lived in Edmonton inner-city areas and attended inner-city schools (in their last year of Junior High in Alberta). Through this programming we discovered that many youth learn about employment-readiness in high school (Grade 10-12) but we found that the Grade 9 students we worked with were eager and interested in job readiness information. Our Youth Employment programming was attended by many 14 and 15 year olds that were committed and excited about learning about employment-readiness for the first time. Overall, the impacts of this program have been seen for youth from diverse backgrounds and we work hard to remove barriers that existed for many of them on a path to job readiness and employment.