It is difficult for racialized youth in the Jane and Finch community to find summer employment. Research conducted through the Assets Coming Together (ACT) for Youth project suggests that young people in this part of Toronto experience employment discrimination based on where they live. Colloquially this is referred to as discrimination by postal code. The job search is especially difficult for youth who have a history of involvement with the youth justice system and/or have had negative interactions with mainstream institutions like schools. In light of issues of labour market access experienced by youth in this neighbourhood — particularly those youth involved in the justice system — an opportunity to receive paid training and employment contributes to employment readiness and labour market connectedness among participating youth.
Each summer, PEACH and its partners provides youth with opportunities to gain valuable employment experience and develop employable skills to secure future employment.
In the summer of 2014, for the youth who joined our team of researchers, the opportunity also led to increased access to York University campus, opportunities to improve communication and critical thinking skills, a deeper understanding of the myriad issues influencing the safety of their community, and an opportunity to gain two secondary school credits. In partnership with the Toronto District School Board (TDSB), PEACH and York University became a shared job-site for the TDSB’s cooperative education program.
In the summer of 2015, four youth researchers collected data aimed at discovering systemic gaps in the youth-serving institutions and organizations of education, justice and health care and their impact on youths’ everyday lives.
Youth salaries were supported by the Canada Summer Jobs grant.