It was time to celebrate! On August 21, the Jobs for Youth program hosted their graduation ceremony at the Holiday Inn and Suites with over 200 youth graduating from the program this summer. Lunch was provided to the graduates and their guests and some of the graduating students gave speeches. Jobs for Youth is a seven-week summer work placement for youth in areas which they are interested in. There are roughly 165 employers from across the region who are a part of this program. Jobs for Youth also partnered with the DSBN and NCDSB who provide teachers and grant co-op credits to youth who complete the allotted amount of hours.

Source: Snapd St. Catharines

Lexi Paquin was expelled from high school for fighting, had minimal job experience and shaky employment prospects.

Slowly, the 16-year-old was pulling her life together in a special “RISE” program for students in her situation.

She’s since had a major bump up after a Jobs for Youth placement in a Grimsby Giant Tiger.

“I’m so glad Giant Tiger was the job I got,” said the Grimsby teen. “I got to be a part of the renovations, a re-opening and the employees there were great.

“I had no conflict resolution (issues),” she said of her job at the fashion department of the store. “It was great, it felt so natural going in there for work.

“And I got to meet new people and make new friendships.”

Paquin joined about 180 teens who’ve graduated from this year’s Jobs for Youth run by the John Howard Society of Niagara. The dinner ceremony was held Friday at the Holiday Inn in St. Catharines.

Their program is funded by the provincial ministry of children and youth and targets at-risk youth aged 15-18 across Niagara.

Youth are referred through their schools, agencies or other sources and provided with a seven-week work placement in their area of interest out of 165 employers who are part of the program.

Before their placement, they’re given workshops in areas like conflict resolution, interviews, communication skills and problem solving.

All wages are paid by the program, which has also partnered with both major Niagara school boards, who provide teachers and grant co-op credits to youth who complete the prescribed number of hours.

Connor Peters, 16, was a Friday grad who got hired at a Welland Wendy’s restaurant and thrived there.

There, he learned how to handle sudden stress and to trouble-shoot, among other valuable skills.

“You’re running around, you’re told to ‘do this and do that,’ he said with a smile. “You think it’s your first job and there’ll be stuff I don’t know how to do,” Peters said.

“But it was OK, the managers are there to help you,” he said. “And I got hired on afterwards, which is great as it’s right around the corner from my school- Notre Dame College School.

“They want me there and I love it,” said Peters, who is going into Grade 11.

Wendy’s district manager Fawn Ryerse said she has eight stores involved in the Jobs for Youth program. “It’s a great opportunity for them to get some training that we couldn’t necessarily afford to do, because we have to go above-and-beyond having all these kids in,” Ryerse said.

“We love to give the kids these opportunities and usually hire them on.”

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Source: St. Catharines Standard

Students’ Speeches