We are a coalition of Canada’s leading companies working together with community employment agencies and governments to take action to provide jobs and training opportunities to youth who need it most.
Opportunity For All Youth was borne out of work that Starbucks Canada began over 15 years ago, working with community employment agencies to provide training and work experience for vulnerable youth. In 2016, Starbucks Canada set a national goal to hire 10 per cent of all baristas across Canada from youth who were not in school or work and who were struggling to find opportunity. Later that year, it began a project with MaRS Solutions Lab to work with other like-minded employers to share what it had learned and begin to scale opportunities for youth who did not have access to them. In 2017, Starbucks and MaRS met with the Federal Expert Panel on Youth Employment. In its recommendations, the Panel called for a “roundtable of employers from the for-profit and not-for-profit sectors to establish a corporate hiring goal/challenge that includes a special focus on vulnerable and NEET youth.” In 2018 Opportunity For All Youth was officially launched.
The Opportunity For All Youth coalition of employers already includes Starbucks, Walmart, HMSHost, Tridel, Coast Capital Savings, The Source and Telus. It is supported by MaRS Discovery District. Together, the coalition is working with community employment agencies, governments and foundations across the country to positively impact hiring and lifelong employment for vulnerable NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training) youth who face systemic barriers to meaningful employment.
We have set an ambitious five-year goal to significantly impact the national NEET unemployment rate by providing meaningful employment to 40,000 vulnerable NEET youth and engaging even more youth in education and training opportunities to prepare them for the workforce. To achieve this, we will work with community employment agencies and governments to improve the recruiting, hiring and retention systems for vulnerable NEET youth.
Opportunity For All Youth is now funded by the Government of Canada’s Skills Link program.
Who Are NEET Youth?
Nearly one million young Canadians (aged 15-29) are neither in school nor holding down a job. We refer to these youth as NEET youth, as they are Not in Education, Employment or Training.
Within this population of NEET youth are youth who have been disconnected from the employment market for four months or longer. It is this population of NEET youth who are struggling to find opportunity and whom the coalition employers of Opportunity For All Youth are focused on serving.