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February 20, 2006
City of Toronto, IBM Canada team up on community safety
Six young people from the Steeles-L’Amoureaux neighbourhood are receiving job development opportunities thanks to a partnership between the City of Toronto and IBM Canada in support of community safety. IBM Canada is hiring the youth as part of the “Youth in Action” initiative of the City’s Community Safety Plan.

“The City of Toronto is grateful to IBM Canada for responding to the urgent need for employment, training and mentoring opportunities for young people growing up in the priority neighbourhood of Steeles-L’Amoureaux,” said Mayor David Miller. “Toronto’s Community Safety Plan is working thanks to the real opportunities we are creating with our community, government and private sector partners so that Toronto’s youth can flourish in a strong, safe city.”

The “Youth in Action” initiative is an employment internship project that integrates work with enhanced support. It is based on the philosophy that the best way to foster healthy, safe communities is through the provision of economic opportunities. Mayor Miller called on corporate Canada to play a role in their communities. IBM Canada answered that call.

“IBM has a long-standing history of contributing to communities where we work and live,” said Dan Fortin, IBM Canada President. “Our pilot program to hire six young people in the community is a small but important step in the right direction.” Four youths from Chester Le are now employed by IBM Canada, with two more joining the organization shortly.

The participants are high school graduates, paid a competitive hourly wage for six months of work and are provided with vocational support during and after conclusion of their contract. Youth will gain valuable work experience, develop marketable job skills, and improve their employability. The work experience and skills gained are designed to assist youth in finding and keeping employment in a corporate environment.

The City has worked with Toronto Community Housing (TCHC) to dedicate a unit and space in the Chester Le Community Corner where youths and others obtain employment and life skills training. In addition, the City has helped identify ways of mitigating some traditional barriers for youth in pursuing employment or training opportunities. These barriers include equitable access to subsidized child care space; transportation allowance; and wage exemption from income support and housing subsidy.

IBM Canada is providing training for the youth to obtain computer and other skills, and is funding the renovation of the TCHC space to accommodate other training opportunities, such as bicycle repair. The company made an accommodation in its hiring practice by considering high school graduates and focusing on skill sets required to effectively carry out the responsibilities of the jobs it had identified.

The North West Scarborough Youth Centre, a community-based agency delivering youth employment services locally from the Chester Le Community Corner, supported the “Youth in Action” project by publicizing the initiative in the local community, as well as conducting screening and pre-selection interviews, and providing ongoing support to all potential candidates.

The “Youth in Action” initiative corresponds to one of the four key pillars of Toronto’s Community Safety Plan that calls for youth opportunities for education, employment, and engagement. The Community Safety Plan also focuses on a strong neighbourhoods strategy, a community crisis response protocol, and youth justice initiatives that balance enforcement with prevention.

Media contacts:

Stuart Green
Office of the Mayor

Mike Quinn
IBM Canada

Cynthia Ross
Toronto Community Housing

Eric Cheung
North West Scarborough Youth Centre



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