TOWARDS TOMORROW

                    SUMMARY REPORT

Summary   Recommendations   Goals   Survey   Roundtable   Process

                               EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

                               ADDRESSING THE DISCONNECT
Community Context and profile: Presenting Issue

Uncovering York Region Youth Employment Realities - At the Crossroads

Identifying the Gap Between Youth and Employers: Different Needs and Wants

Workplace Realities and Key Trends

                                      BACK ON TRACK
Consulting the Experts : ‘Partners Towards Tomorrow’ Roundtable

Recommendations: Engaging the Collective Knowledge for New Directions


                                 COMMUNITY CONTEXT AND PROFILE:
   York Region is the third largest region in the GTA with a population of over 950,000 by the end of 2006. It is the
fastest growing region in the country, with an immigrant population providing 39% of York Region’s expansion. Job
creation is also growing to keep pace with this growth with a 15 to 20% increase in new jobs-mostly fulltime- over
the last year. It has one of the most highly skilled and educated workforces in Canada. Nearly 70% of all jobs in
York region are in the business or service sectors. Retail locations have more than tripled since 2003. York Region
also employs the greatest number of people in the IT sector in Canada. There is an increased demand for the
sophisticated knowledge worker in response to an increasing concentration of these expanding sectors in the region.
The unemployment rate is at least 1 % lower than the GTA or Canada as a whole. Manufacturing remains a large
employer, but is feeling pressure from the global labour market and consumer demand- particularly in the
automotive sector.

   The Towards Tomorrow team contacted 140 businesses and organizations and ultimately surveyed more than
100 employers, large and small, in more than 20 sectors. Presentations and print media about Youth Employment
reached more than 85,000 organizations and people in York Region.

                                             PRESENTING ISSUE
Fact:  The youth unemployment rate of 11% is nearly double that of the rest of the population in Ontario; this has
been an ongoing issue for a number of years. Yet in 2007, with general unemployment at a 30 year low, a healthy
economic environment and a large demographic group- the Baby Boom- on the verge of leaving the workforce, the
question of youth unemployment and underemployment takes on a new urgency and relevancy.


Soft skills, not job search skills seem the greatest challenge for youth
  When we asked employers to evaluate youth job search skills, less than 20% rated them as poor or very
  poor. The remainder, over 80 %, said that young peoples’ ability to make cover letters, resumes,
  conduct interviews and present themselves appropriately, was average to very good. So generally,
  deficits or lack of skill in job search was not a key element contributing to youth unemployment.

  When canvassed about areas of improvement, employers overwhelmingly suggested better
  communication skills between different groups within the work place, and a wide array of personal
  management skills such as: positive attitudes, increased sense of responsibility, greater adaptability
  and willingness to make commitment to learn. These were the areas of greater concern and possible
  barriers to getting and keeping a job.

Job Opportunities going begging: labour force mismatch.
  60 % of employers said that they were only moderately successful or less, in recruiting youth to
  meet their needs. In addition, 1/3 said that they anticipated shortages and 51% said that they would
  have to recruit new employees over the next 5 years from the youth employee group aged 15-30.

  No significant lack of full-time employment opportunities: Employers did employ somewhat fewer
  young people-about 10% less - in full time permanent jobs as compared to the adult population, and 10
  % less full-time contract jobs than the adult workforce in. But, surprisingly the two workforce
  populations had very similar employment levels in part-time and seasonal work.

  It would seem that there may be a labour force mismatch. Are there be enough ‘quality’ jobs available
  in York Region to utilize the education, skills and competency of the in-coming deluge of Millennial youth
  cohort, a labour force with a high percentage of post-secondary degrees and diplomas. The service
  sector- which makes up the largest employment segment in York Region-may not offer enough opportunities
  or remuneration to retain young people in the long term. Organizations may have to look at ways of
  engaging and developing youth to maintain their economic advantage.

Employers: Will they have to try harder to meet expectations as employers of choice?
Most employers praised the outstanding initiative, energy and skills of their successful youth, while returning
frequently to the difficulties they were experiencing in understanding and working effectively with young workers
across the full age range of 15-30. It became apparent that it was less about access to employment
opportunities and more about employer expertise, youth approaches, societal expectations and
demographic realities.

A picture began to emerge of a significant consistent gap between the needs and expectations of
employers and the wants and readiness of youth employees.

   It would appear the some employers are having less success in recruiting and hanging on to youth. The
   owner/ operators and small businesses reported this difficulty-probably because they have many
   diverse demands on their time and staff and less time and funds to develop human resources processes and
   practices. Despite the understandable ‘bottom-line’ approach, unsuccessful hires and high turnover rates cost
   employers’ significant time and revenue lost that affect profitability.

   The Millennial Generation will ‘move on’ if their employment needs are not met. They have been
   formed by the values of their parents- the baby boomers- and shaped by hi-tech communication advances,
   significant social events such as ‘911’ and the increasing diversity of the Canadian workplace. They want
   group and team oriented work learning opportunities - social and interactive- to reflect the way they are.
   They expect shared leadership based on merit, and will expect feedback from, and participation in, the
   direction and development of their organizations. They want to act quickly, do new things, and then move on
   to yet more innovation and experimentation at work. ‘Putting in their time’ in an organization or waiting many
   years for promotion could be a ‘turn-off’. The traditional workplace values of security, hierarchy, and long
   term commitment may not be their aligned with their ideals of meaningful work and work-life balance.
   Employers may have to re-orient themselves to catch and keep this new generation.

                      DIFFERENT NEEDS AND WANTS
        Youth Want                                   Employers Want
Help in connecting their educational         Key Youth Skills: good communication skills,
qualifications and training to the           excellent customer relations, the ability to learn
workplace demands.                           new skills and to problem solve.
To see how they can create a quality         Ideal Youth attitudes: working comfortably
career path for themselves in a company.     with teams, common sense street smarts, and
Their voice to be consulted with respect     good relationships with staff and supervisors
Positive, clear and relevant support         Youth’s natural inclination towards of energy
from the employer to remain engaged and      and innovation.
to achieve their goals.                      Youth’s undeniable superior technical skills.
 To know what their work means and what      They want youth to be an accommodating
difference their contribution makes.         and grateful workforce.
They want more flexible work                 Youth to demonstrate traditional work
arrangements/options, access to multiple     values and follow traditional career paths.
         Youth Need                                   Employers Need
Training within organizations to help        Youth to replace retiring workers
them grow and develop and provide future     Youth to work flexible hours in many service
opportunities.                               occupations
Opportunities to try different experiences   New skills and expertise in IT industry,
and skills sets within the workplace         skilled trades, healthcare and financial services.
 A living wage in a region where the         Youth to say ‘yes’ to staying and learning,
average yearly household income is nearly    to providing the leaders for the future
$105,000 and the housing costs that go       Youth’s help to allow York Region remain
with it.                                     competitive and enhance growth
Commitment to mentoring and coaching         opportunities
from managers to attain required maturity
and accountability

                                            WORKPLACE REALITIES
         “The proportion of the Region's working age population is expected to decrease from 70.7% in 2001 to 64.3% by 2026. At the
         same time, the trend towards lower birthrates, which is mirrored by Provincial and national trends, will have significant
         implications for the availability of labour in the coming years. Labour force replacement ratio refers to the ratio of people
         expected to enter the workforce compared to those expected to leave it over the next 15 years. Between 1991 and 2001 the
         labour force replacement ratio decreased in all the municipalities in York Region.” Economic Profile of York Region 2007, York
         Region Planning and Development.

Key Trends That Impact York Region’s Workplace
1. Retiring baby boomers will create a skills and management gap that organizations will be scrambling to fill.

2. Many entrepreneurs who started their businesses 30 years ago are facing the ‘founder’ challenge, with few
   strategies or resources in place to hand over economic and market gains.

3. Key industries with in growth or demand areas in York Region seem to be somewhat inaccessible to
   youth, youth serving agencies, and educational institutions. More information is needed about: future skilled
   trades’ shortfalls, IT skills, healthcare opportunities and the business and financial sectors. This opaque
   relationship and information shortfall creates problems around career choice and managing
   market needs.

4. The Millennial Generation will be changing the workplace. This group has different, distinct needs and
   wants that they hope- even expect- to have met by the workplace. As the labour market tightens up,
   employers will have to understand and adapt to these changes to maintain and grow their workforce. They
   may have to invest more funds into training and development, rather than ‘purchasing’ their employees fully
   formed and ready to work. This may mean more commitment of managers’ time to coaching and mentoring
   young employees and it may mean better Human Resource strategies to recruit and retain youth.

5. Immigrant youth, largely expected to do their part in filling labour force gaps, have even higher
   unemployment rates than Canadian youth as a whole. They generally have less social networks, lower level of
   English language skills and can suffer from silent discrimination.

                 “It generally takes newcomers to Canada 10 years to become fully comfortable in their new country and for their income
                 to reach the average level. Recent immigrants - especially those who have been in the country for five years or less -
                 often experience a difficult adjustment period as they look for jobs and settle into a new culture. This partly explains
                 lower than average incomes” Immigrant youth in Canada, Service Canada, 2006/12/21

   6. York Region growth estimates continue to soar. Yet there may be a shortfall of young people to fill
      employment opportunities. The service sector, the fastest growing area of all, could be particularly hard hit.

                 “Between 1996 and 2001 employment growth has been estimated to have been 6.1% while population growth has been
                 estimated to have been 4.8%. In the past five years, growth has been particularly strong in the business service and
                 retail sectors. The approximately 450,000 jobs currently available in the Region are expected to increase to
                 approximately 696,000 jobs by the year 2026.” Economic Profile of York Region 2007, York Region Planning and development.

                                        CONSULTING THE EXPERTS:

   Towards Tomorrow Roundtable Breakfast on Youth Employment
     In March 2007, more than 25 participants met for an intensive and productive session. They represented almost
all the community partners: employers, youth, chambers of commerce, municipal government, youth service
agencies, the training and adjustment board, and representation from education. Working with the survey results,
there was enthusiasm and commitment to         define the issues, create an action plan and develop community
priorities. There was an awareness of the importance of this issue to the future health of York Region and its
residents. Here are their recommendations in brief. It is hoped that there will be support for this group and other
partners to continue this work in the future:

1. Youth Employment Transition Task Force created to: expand contacts and relationships; to establish means of
   meeting and developing York Region Youth Employment Priorities; identify skills gaps and employment needs and to
   work collaboratively on these issues with support from business and other community partners to enhance youth

2. Youth Mentor Initiative: Provide better youth role models by developing a youth mentoring program; one
   that would provide leadership training to successful youth in the workplace and educational institutions that would then,
   in turn, provide mentoring to youth in co-ops, internships and short-term work experiences. There would be financial
   support to businesses to release youth for training and mentoring and for the coordination of program. Recognition of
   youth leaders in the workplace under 30 would be desirable.

3. Growth Sectors Partnership for Youth Employment: New initiatives and incentives to develop better links,
   access and information between growth and high demand sectors such as IT, health and skilled trades and youth
   serving bodies –education and agencies for example- and the youth employment population and its agencies to build a
   local response to pending and existing labour and skill shortages in York Region .

4. Enhanced ‘Region Specific’ Youth Programs: Focused programs for immigrant youth, aboriginal youth,
   attracting youth to health services etc., initiatives that might include better funding from provincial or federal
   government to enable expanded co-op and work placement/internship opportunities in remote or higher
   unemployment areas.

5. The Top 25 ‘Youth Champions’ Employers in York Region Awards: Development of a program that
   officially recognizes “Youth Friendly” employers; preferred recognition through Municipal governments, Chambers
   of Commerce and Media

6. York Region ‘Youth Employment Internet Portal’: Provide a simple ‘one-stop’ internet location–a
   clearing house- for York Region which would include labour market trends, employment opportunities, business
   needs and interviews, youth services, and job placement opportunities. Develop better labour market information
   with particular regional and local trends. Convey advanced and accurate information to immigrants about potential
   labour market opportunities that are grounded in real statistics and up-to-date data. Help to fill local needs for all
   partners more efficiently.

                                           PROJECT GOALS

1. Increase employers’ awareness of youth employment potential in collaboration with Chambers of Commerce,
   Boards of Trade, Employer Organizations and other community partners to facilitate dialogue and information

2. Increase general awareness of employer needs, expectations and human resource requirements in the
   community and within youth serving agencies

3. Develop sustainable strategies and informational marketing tools to advance youth employment

4. Highlight the advantages of hiring and retaining youth

5. Celebrate their achievements in the workplace

6. Recognize employers who show leadership in removing systemic and attitudinal barriers to hiring, training and
   retaining young employees.


    To conduct a minimum of 100 employer interviews. Employers to be targeted will include the skilled trades,
    sectors with favourable growth projections and new businesses in York Region and Bradford West
    To contact employers and interview them through a survey and discussion format. This will give the
    employers the opportunity to both share information about their industry, business and/or sector and human
    resource trends and to learn about the advantages and value of hiring youth, their abilities, strengths and

    Criteria developed for survey elements; general employer information elicited to test validity; modelled on
    similar York Region Reports to give comparability and greater usage; variety of question styles used to elicit
    richer responses

    Tested draft with youth serving partners and select employers to address gaps and problems; developed
    print and electronic version; Set up web-site access

    Communications plan was developed; press releases created and distributed; presentations made to
    Chambers of Commerce; interviews with media gained wide distribution across York Region; Survey methods
    included personal interviews, telephone interviews, and on-line survey input; handed out at Roundtable.

    Target of 100 surveys achieved; analysis of data; correction of survey sample; organization of survey data

     Sharing of survey highlights at Roundtable; distribution of survey report to participants, youth service
     agencies, media and other community partners

                                     AWARENESS PROCESS

  1. Research. To research the available literature regarding youth employment and unemployment to provide
     appropriate context for survey creation, to enable more perceptive dialogue with employers and other
     employer partners and to enhance and ground the insights and information produced in the report.

  2. Balanced Perspective. To develop a survey and interview process that effectively accessed employer
     perspectives while being attentive to the needs and wants of youth.

  3. Spread the Word- In Person. To develop a dynamic, engaging region-wide diffusion of information about
     the question of youth employment, unemployment, underemployment and the present and future needs of
     employers. To take the project face-to-face to as many different venues and employers as possible to gain
     the personal and anecdotal information that a survey alone can’t provide.

  4. Engage Partners. To invite specific employers to further participate in a more intensive exchange of ideas
     with other community partners; to develop recommendations that broaden the knowledge and understanding
     of the project findings and to work with community partners to dispel misinformation and create some plans
     for future action.

  5. Surface Challenges. To objectively acknowledge employer concerns about youth employee attitudes, skills
     and productivity in a way that will be useful to all.

  6. Recognize Success. To identify successful youth in organizations we contacted and celebrate both youth
     and employers by showcasing them on the website.

7. Discover Opportunities. To identify trends, opportunities and gaps in present and future youth employment
   in York Region ; develop partnerships and community plans to act on insights

RESEARCH: To research the available literature regarding youth employment and unemployment to
provide appropriate context for survey creation, to enable more perceptive dialogue with employers and
other employer partners and to enhance and ground the insights and information produced in the report.

    The parameters of the project description assumed familiarity with a number of areas that would be an
intrinsic part of the survey, dialogue and engagement process. In order to clarify and define the terms and
information, a short intensive period of research was implemented. This would ground the process in present
youth employment realities, understand work that had already been done in this area, highlight the prevailing
areas of interest and look at youth employment trends as they applied to this for this project.

      •   Information about York Region economic patterns and demands were largely compiled from the
          Regional Municipality of York’s publications including the Economic and Development Reviews for 2005-
          2006, and the Employment and Industry Report 2005. These reports described a robust York Region
          economy with higher rates of employment than the larger GTA, with the majority of jobs full time.

      •   There were comments about the challenges that some of the communities have in attracting workers
          because of high housing prices and improving, but still less than ideal transportation systems-a
          concern particularly relevant to younger workers. The areas most impacted would be Georgina,
          Stouffville, King and parts of Newmarket as well as Bradford.

      •   Manufacturing was the largest employment sector at 24% but that was largely located in the south
          west part of York Region. In the rest of York Region, the service sector comprised 69% of most
          prevalent business activities with business, retail, and personal services amounting to 41% of the total.
          This is good news for youth as the service sector is often the most accessible and available path to
          initial employment and a testing ground for developing useful experience and employability skills. It
          does raise questions about the opportunity for developing serious, long term career paths
          available locally for well educated and experienced workers in their mid to late twenties.

•   Small to Medium businesses made up nearly 97% of employers. This suggests that recruitment may
    generally be more informal, employment may offer many areas of growth and upward mobility for
    youth, and that the skills of adaptability, customer service and ability to take responsibility and learn
    new skills will be key factors in this entrepreneurial environment. This was addressed at the
    Roundtable as well as highlighted in survey results.

•   The York South Simcoe Training and Adjustment Board also provided valuable information with
    their Trends Opportunities and Priorities Report-2007. The report highlighted several local trends that
    have relevance for our youth project. The report pinpointed: 1. Impending shortage of skilled
    tradespeople and seeming lack of engagement of youth in this particular area of work; 2. It voiced a
    concern about the shortfall of essential literacy numeracy skills in the workforce and the seeming
    decline of workplace soft skills with specific reference to youth; it talked specifically about the
    impending retirement of many small and medium business owners and the need for succession
    planning to take place; and finally it talked about labour market impact the baby boom retirement
    curve and the replacement needs in healthcare and other services. These findings were validated in
    many parts of our survey.

•   Labour Market statistics from the federal government continue to demonstrate that the youth
    unemployment rate is generally twice that of the general unemployment rate. Despite historic low
    unemployment rates hovering around 6%, the youth unemployment rate is near 11%. This gap is
    not new, but more worrying as we approach a time when the demographics indicate a greater demand
    for new workers. A Statistics Canada report released in February, 2007, commented that, “The looming
    retirement of boomers, the oldest of whom turned 60 last year, has been a focus of concern for years,
    with warnings of labour shortages, especially skilled labour”. Given worried comments from employers,
    it is the imperative to identify and work with the forces or factors – values, culture, immigration,
    education, skills and attitudes- that stand in the way of higher youth employment. It poses a
    significant question about. What will be the economic impact of employing a labour force, our youth,
    that may lack the necessary important skills and experience to take their place of in the changing

•   Demographic research about the numbers, qualities, characteristics and work values of the three
    major demographic groups presently in the workplace: Baby Boomers, Generation X and the Millennials

         Many sectors have begun to look for new and innovative ways to manage the cross-generational
         complexity of the new and emerging labour market.

BALANCED PERSPECTIVE : To develop a survey and interview process that effectively
accessed employer perspectives while being attentive to the needs and wants of youth.

The focus of the project was to elicit employer viewpoints, wants and needs. From the project parameters, there
was consciousness that there might be challenges in dealing with what the mandate called ‘misconceptions’
about youth. The survey and dialogue process was designed to produce objective information about the
employers in general; to ask employers to identify the special and valuable contributions that youthful
employees might make to their business; to ask about success stories they had had with youth; and finally, to
honestly and transparently address concerns and challenges that employees are experiencing.

      We chose to divide the survey into three sections. In the first section, titled Information about Your
      Business, engaged the employer in a straightforward series of questions that allowed us to gather
      information about sectors, business size and management profile and partnerships to gain perspective on
      their later responses and to assure them that this was a fair and unbiased process.

      The next section, General Employment Trends in York Region, began to lay the ground work for what
      kinds of work they generally hire for, what rates of growth were expected, age makeup of present
      workforce and anticipated demand for , or anticipated shortages of, workers in the future.

      Using this information as the platform for further inquiry, the next section became more focused- Present
      Youth Employment Trends. At this point, nearly halfway through the survey, we began to drill down into
      employer attitudes and experiences of youth. First line of inquiry was to see if hiring patterns for youth
      were different from those of the general population- i.e. full time or part time, as a prevailing trend. In
      addition, it was deemed important, given the projected future demand, to see how successful employers
      were at recruiting youth and what methods they most often used. This was a fruitful area of discussion
      with employers and helped build a better understanding about their experiences, to uncover their
      attitudes and their level of recruitment expertise and success. An open-ended question was added here to
      attain more personal comments and more specific information.

As employers moved though the Youth Recruitment/Job Skills section, information was drawn out that
would be useful to the youth agency partners when preparing youth for the job market. There were some
surprises and some confirmations about employer hiring approaches that will be useful to youth. At this
point, employers were asked to identify the top benefits, and skills and attitudes they receive from
hiring youth. The elements/choices included in these questions were derived from the Employability Skills
matrix created by the Conference Board of Canada as well as a Conference Board report written in 2002
Out of the Classroom, into the Workforce: Mining Youth Potential. Employers were able to express their
concerns, their wants, and later their emotions about their experiences in employing youth. They were
invited to give youth some advice and were happy to respond frankly and with good will.

Employers were asked for their success stories. This was tougher. Some had glowing reports while
others had a hard time finding something to praise. In the end there was a nearly equivalent
number of contented employers and another group who could only express dissatisfaction and frustration.
This dialogue and inquiry was, after all, interested in the reality of what is out there- not just
what was wished or hoped for.

The employers’ willingness to be open and forthright in the survey, the roundtable and in
discussion has created fertile ground for real conversations about real practical approaches to
deal with their concerns.

SPREAD THE WORD-IN PERSON:                               To develop a dynamic, engaging region-wide diffusion
of information about the question of youth employment, unemployment, underemployment and the present
and future needs of employers. Take the project face-to-face to as many different venues and employers as
possible to gain the personal and anecdotal information that a survey alone can’t provide

   The project definitions were broad and general. Initially it was challenging to fine-tune the message for public
   consumption. Phases like ‘Raising Awareness about Youth Employment’ were not seen as catchy or
   newsworthy, at first. The focus of the project message evolved as our conversations and surveys progressed.
   The most important strategy was learning how to make youth employment relevant to the almost everyone
   who was contacted and to link it to the larger economic and social scene of York Region.

      •   Over the time of the project, many stories were shared. Nearly every employer had an anecdote
          about their youth employment experience. More interesting, many people also had personal family
          stories to relate- serious and worrying concerns about their children, nieces or brothers or amazing
          success stories shared with smiles and pride. It was in the stories that the truth, the authenticity
          and the complexity of the issues surrounding youth employment was made manifest, made

      •   The formal spreading of the message began with press releases that were sent to local newspapers
          from the York Region District Board of Education. This was merely a succinct summary of the Towards
          Tomorrow goals and objectives. The real fun began when individual newspapers did interviews.

      •   In Markham, Stouffville and Vaughan, there was excellent coverage of the project beginnings. This
          greatly increased the ability to gain access to employers and created a great springboard for
          discussion. The picture in the Markham Economist and Sun evoked many spontaneous and
          unscheduled conversations about youth and employment wherever the team went. Nearly 75,000
          households received information about the ‘Towards Tomorrow’ project.

      •   Presentations were made to the Stouffville, Richmond Hill and Newmarket Chambers of Commerce
          and the executive of the Markham Board of Trade. Some were more personal, others more
          interactive. In all cases, there were many individuals who came up to ask for more information, to tell

    stories and to invite further conversation. Ultimately ‘Towards Tomorrow’ flyers were circulated to
    nearly 10, 000 businesses in York Region. We thank the Chambers of Commerce for their support.

•   The culmination of this region–wide conversation culminated in the ‘Partners Towards Tomorrow
    Roundtable Breakfast’. The participants built new conversations and insights as they worked through
    the present and future reality of youth employment in York Region. The voices were many and the
    conversation was vigorous. Ideas for next steps were coming thick and fast as they participated in the
    ‘Keep’, ‘Chuck’ and ‘Create’ exercise. Partnerships and alliances were suggested, sharing of resources
    were proposed and initiatives suggested. Individual members were motivated to move to action in their
    own landscape.

•   The beginning goal was to build awareness. There is certainly still work to be done. There were some
    sectors that were unresponsive or inaccessible for reasons that are not clearly understood. The
    timelines were short and York Region encompasses a large geographic area. Gaps in our dissemination
    of information occurred in the outlying areas of York Region- Keswick, Sutton, Bradford and East
    Gwillimbury. The manufacturing sector was underrepresented and requires further study. The
    information about the high tech sector was lacking and an updated picture of the health sector is badly

•   As the process gathered steam, there seemed to be a real ‘want’ to DO something. A real ‘need’ to
    RESOLVE some of the issues the uncovered or made explicit during the survey and the Roundtable.
    And a real ‘expectation’ that MORE WORK will be done. Most participants expressed worry about the
    economic future if the employment gaps were not closed. Unemployment, underemployment, and
    disengagement of youth have real and predictable implications for many. They asked:

    ♦   “How are we going to encourage young people to become electricians or bricklayers?”

    ♦   “How can I afford to train someone and then have them lured away by someone else who likes their new

    ♦   “I am trying to recruit healthcare workers. It isn’t just that they are going somewhere else; there just aren’t
        as many graduating from nursing courses. Hospitals are competing all the time for talent.”



 Exploring Employer Awareness

     And Youth Readiness:


       In York Region.

                                   TOWARDS TOMORROW

                                          SURVEY FINDINGS

                             MORE ABOUT EMPLOYERS IN YORK REGION:
We contacted more than 140 employers in all sectors in York Region. More than 100 employers filled out the
survey for the Towards Tomorrow Team. We were most grateful for their input, their time, their frankness and
their ideas. They were terrific. The following findings tell more about who they were and what they thought!

  Who filled out the survey?
        In general, 45% of our respondents defined themselves as managers. This is likely to have resulted from
        our screening question-“Do you recruit or hire youth as part of your position?” In many of the retail
        operations and smaller operational groupings the manager has diverse job responsibilities.

        In larger companies the recruiting and hiring function is more particularly the purview of the HR
        manager/specialist. Consequently the survey talked to 26 people who represented human resources
        departments large and small.

        The third significant category was owner-operators – about 20 % of the surveyed group. These were
        founders generally operating small to medium sized businesses who chose to do their own hiring. These 3
        categories of respondents will have developed somewhat different strategies, different methods and
        diverse viewpoints on youth as we will see.

  More about the employers
     This was an interesting statistic. Despite the fact that new businesses are springing up in York Region
  everywhere, the businesses we interviewed, had been in operation an average of 30 years. Large chains and
  corporations naturally would often have a much longer business history.

    This information implies an alignment with the baby boomer demographic bulge, suggesting that many
    small and medium sized businesses started in the 60’s and 70’s are perhaps nearing the end of the
    ‘Founder’ cycle. Potential for succession and upward mobility could exist and may have implications for
    potential new opportunities for youth careers.

    Despite the fact that more than 80% of York region businesses employ less than 10 employees, only 22%
    of our respondents fell into this category. The majority- 46%- fell into the mid range category employing
    10-99 employees. This may indicate the economy has allowed smaller businesses to expand, it may also
    reflect the large service sector presence in York Region, growing in step with new development. This
    creates opportunities for young workers.

     There were a significant number of employers however, who were in the large category. This could mean
    means that more established companies are setting up head offices in York Region. This may provide
    more advanced careers for young workers while it may suggest that there will be more demanding and
    sophisticated recruitment processes for the increasing number of potential employees who wish
    to live and work in this Region. Our sample was not completely representative of York Regions
    Employment profile. See Chart below.

How representative was the sample? Were there gaps? What information is needed?
    The important information to take from this aspect of the survey was the lack of representation in
    important and key sectors. Although a great part of the manufacturing business is tied strongly to the
    transportation/automotive sector, contact with this element was not easily surveyed. Information
    elicited suggested that there is a great reliance on single focus recruitment agencies frequently located
    outside York Region. From a youth employment perspective, there is a lack of information and
    understanding about the future for this important sector.

    The second significant gap is the lack of good information about the High-Tech Sector that is largely
    concentrated in the Markham area. Perhaps because of the large size or because of security issues,
    information and contacts were difficult to obtain and we had minimal participation in this sector. Since
    there are projections that there will be skills shortages, it would be helpful to youth to understand just
    what areas are impacted, and how to gain access to these large employers.

         “The information technology (IT) industry in Canada needs an image makeover to save
         companies here from a looming skills shortage according to analysts and labour consultants.
         Over the next five years, Canadian businesses will have to fill no less than 90,000 new IT
         positions, said Stephen Ibaraki, vice-president, Canadian Information Processing Society
         (CIPS) and association of IT professionals in Toronto. However, Canadian colleges and
         universities will not produce the required number of qualified candidates for these positions.
         Of the 90,000 vacancies, around 60,000 will be newly created positions and an estimated
         30,000 will result from retirement.” (ITWorld Canada, Jan. 2007)

Healthcare is another high demand sector. The survey was completed by only one of three regional
hospitals. The indication is that there are already shortages in many of the medical professionals;
certainly, the recruitment for nursing staff is becoming increasingly difficult; it is believed that this will
intensify as 1/3 of the present nursing cohort is presently over 55, and will move into retirement over the
next 5 years. For young job searchers, this seems like a promising sector. However, we need better
information about the occupational futures for this area. There are unaddressed questions about job
security and full time and permanent nursing positions that the survey was not able to ascertain.

      "I think the Canadian Nurses Association, and also the local association, the RNAO (Registered
      Nurses' Association of Ontario), have both been very clear to sound the alarm around the potential
      very, very serious nursing shortage." Jennie Humbert, Regional Coordinator, Primary Health Care Nurse Practitioner

There were respondents in the area of skilled trades and there were certainly clear identification of areas
of present and potential prospects for youth employment in that area. However, these comments seemed
to focus more on the traditional construction trades, but as the quote below indicates, our information
seems to lacking in the other areas that are prevalent and important in York Region.

         "Recent studies illustrate just how important it is from an economical perspective that we
         encourage and support the development of our skilled trades workers, said Jeffrey Dale,
         President and CEO, OCRI.”The shortage is reported to affect several sectors including
         construction, automotive service, manufacturing and the service sector, and it is on the
         shoulders of our local employers to help with a solution by providing apprenticeship
         opportunities."(OCRI, March, 2007)


                                       *York       Survey
Manufacturing                          24.3%    8.8%
Retail Trade                           10.9%      24.5%
Professional, Scientific & Technical            6.9%
Finance and Insurance                  17.3%    4.9%
Health Care and Social Assistance      4.7%     4.9%
Wholesale Trade                        8.3%     1.0%
Educational Services                   3.0 %    6.9%
Construction                           6.4%     5.9%
Accommodation and Food Services                  13.7%
Other Services - Associations,                  2.9%
Administration, Support Services, 2.9%          0.0%
Waste Management & Remediation
Arts, Entertainment and                         1.0%
Utilities                              0.2%     1.0%
Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing &       o.1%     0.0%
Other                                            17.6%

Did the survey cover the gamut of possible employers?
  The survey did really cover a multitude of possible employment options. Participants ranged from
  insurance companies of over 500 employers, to 5 person tire dealerships; from massive multinational
  computer companies to local dentist offices, conference centres, bars, school boards and senior residences,
  some of Canada’s most well-known companies and newly created 3 person start-up companies. Naturally
  there was much diversity in the responses- but even more interesting were the areas of common agreement
  and common concern.

Were there common points of contact?
  Nearly 50% of our employers had a membership in Chambers of Commerce, Boards of Trade or
  BIA’s. This is a significant piece of information, as it identifies the pivotal information and connection role
  that these associations provide- particularly small to medium sized businesses. It also suggests opportunities
  for communication and partnership to aid youth employment. It was clear that Human Resource managers
  were nearly all linked to HRP associations, while there was also other significant professional organization
  connections. The Unions too figured largely in the responses. However, more than a third of the employers
  contacted had no memberships or associations to which they belong. This does create an information gap
  that may make access and information about businesses more difficult.

What does the future look like?
  Optimistic Growth predictions: Boomers leaving, Generation X majority, Millennial generation
  significant and growing

  84% of organizations interviewed saw ‘moderate to high growth’, while only 16 % expected ‘slow’ to ‘no
  growth’. The areas of no growth were spread across all sectors. Employment profiles of organizations
  surveyed suggested that the majority of the workers were aged 31-44 in these organizations, with a much
  smaller number of employees defined as between 45 and 65. This is probably not an accurate representation
  of the present workforce in York Region because of less than complete access to some key sectors; the
  more interesting results is the fact that nearly 65% of organizations contacted believe that they will recruit
  most of their new workers for the 15-30 age group over the next 5 years.

Will there be shortages?
     It depends on how you look at it. And who you talk to.
  67% of employers surveyed did not believe that there would be shortages, while nearly a third identified
  present or looming shortages. On the other hand 96% of employers believed that they would have to hire
  youth –sometimes to always – to meet their employment needs. Given that youth unemployment is double
  the adult employment rate and that the baby boomers are retiring this doesn’t seem to realistically address
  the skills gap and knowledge transfer challenge that already exists.

         Employer -identified areas of present or potential shortages included:
        ♦ Registered practical nurses, all other nurses, Activation coordinators, epidemiologists,
          healthcare aides, physiotherapists, Public Health inspectors, public health nurses,
          registered dental hygienists
        ♦ Business Consulting, SAP, Oracle, Oil and Gas, IT Security, IT professionals, Customer
        ♦ Workers with trades experience- Electrical, Plumbing, and Construction, tool & die
          makers, millwrights and electricians, skilled labourers
        ♦ Apprenticeship mechanics, machine operators, professional drivers, Automotive Class "A"
        ♦ Professional engineers - design, industrial and manufacturing, engineering technologists,
          and technicians technologists, electrical technicians- utilities
        ♦ Teachers in specialty subject areas
        ♦ Education and administrative management, court reporters
        ♦ Water and waste water operators, Maintenance
        ♦ Cooks and prep cooks, skilled meat cutter, bakers, skilled mixers & machine operators-bakery
        ♦ Underwriting and claims, financial professionals

  The Canadian Council on Learning says:

     “Slowing labour-force growth, coupled with the increasing need for a knowledgeable, adaptable and
     flexible workforce, will result in labour-market shortages in key professions and occupations.
     Immigration alone will not fill the gap. The demand for workers will outpace supply starting in 2016,
     undermining Canada's productivity and competitiveness.” Report on Learning in Canada, 2006

  The Canadian Policy Research Network projects that :

     “Canada’s workforce will be smaller in the future, due to the retirement of many of the baby boom
     generation and a small youth cohort entering the labour market. In fact more than one-half of the
     workforce of 2015 is already in the labour force. We are already experiencing skills and labour shortages
     in many parts of the country and sectors of the economy and these will continue and intensify.” Mark
     Goldenberg, CPRN, 2006

Were employers able to successfully fill youth recruitment needs?
  Success in recruiting youth varied, influenced by resources and roles
  Only 39% of employers surveyed said that they were successful in recruiting job ready youth.
  The three major employer respondent groups were managers, HR Managers and owner operators.
     HR managers had companies that were 25 years and older and their company size was over 100
     employees- mid to large size. The majority said that they were successful to very successful in
     recruiting young employees, while ten said that they were only moderately successful.
     Managers were predominant group- average mid-size, duration of business in the 25 range. 77% of
     managers reported that they had moderately successful experiences while about a quarter said that
     they had experienced difficulty hiring youth. Problematic areas were in food preparation, heavy
     manufacturing and skilled trades.
     Owner operators were in companies that had been in existence from 1 to 40 years. Size profile was a
     50/50 split between small business with 1-9 employees and the medium sized endeavour of 10-99 staff.
     Unlike the other two groups, more than ½ said that they were moderately to very unsuccessful in
     recruiting youth.

  This suggests that size and the operational demands of running a small business make it challenging for
  business owners to have adequate time, expertise and resources to recruit youth. Possible outreach to this
  group about effective recruiting techniques, successful interview questions and awareness of
  appropriate skill sets might increase more satisfaction with youth recruitment.

What methods supported successful recruitment?
  The methods to successfully recruit and retain youth were diverse but there were common threads. Often the
  employer had made a commitment to training and mentoring youth as part of their operating
  philosophy. Others pinpointed to the value of co-op programs and internships as it allowed them to see
  youth in action and to increase their skills .Many of them felt that productive partnerships with academic
  institutions at all levels was a significant factor. Relationships that began with directing youth 15-19 to
  summer job programs and culminated with university placements and referrals were the most reliable road to
  satisfaction. Word of mouth referrals networking within a particular sector was also seen as key.
  When asked about most successful methods of recruitment, the most frequent responses were:
                   Word of mouth referrals
                   Walk Ins
                   Web Page
  This seemed rather surprising given our emphasis on electronic communications, although it did reinforce the
  importance of creating and maintaining job networks and of using the personal touch .Further break down of
  statistics suggested that this preference holds true particularly in the retail, restaurant, construction and
  heavy manufacturing sectors. Other sectors that required more skills or educational qualifications
  responded differently , choosing:
                   Co-op placements- high school , colleges and university
                   Academic contacts-all
                   Internet and web-sites

           NOTES FROM THE FRONT-Recruiting and Retaining Youth

We have an awesome
training program now.
As long as the                                We have hired two                              The Town of Markham has a lot of success
                                              people that first came to
candidate has a                               us as co-op students.                          recruiting for semi-skilled and unskilled summer
positive, hard                                These two girls worked                         type positions (e.g. outside labour, camp
working ethic, the                            out. A lot of training is                      counsellors) as well as co-op and intern type
individual can start                          required. We have had a
                                              couple of students who                         positions where a student can use their
                                              were not interested in                         postsecondary knowledge
                                              learning the business

 Strong academic
   participate in
   career fairs,                                                 We have a permanent
    college job                                                  'hiring' sign out front.
     postings,                                                   We interview applicants
  secondary and                                                  every Friday. We have a
 post-secondary         Our location offers                      video and we have
    cooperative         a great                                  general questions that
     education          orientation,                             we ask to see if they
    placements          support and                              will fit. We like to have
                        encouragement, an                        a list of potential
                        inclusive working                        possibilities.
                        environment. We are
                        a family oriented
                        hospital and as a
                        result, we have
                        good retention.

                                                    We also hire people into seasonal positions and allow them
                                                    to move into more important positions as they gain an
                                                    understanding of the business.

    Part of the survey was developed to investigate recruitment techniques. This
was to provide information that would be helpful to youth agencies and young job
searchers. As the process unfolded the question became- what are employers
looking for? What were the key skills, attitudes and presentation that met their
criteria? Even more provocative was the emerging query- what was behind the
gap, the seeming dissatisfaction, the frustration building between youth and
employers? Where did this problem come from and what were the implications?

    The first surprise….The employer responses about the attributes that are the key factors in deciding who to
hire when looking at potential youth candidates. When looking at job search skills, it wasn’t about resumes or
interviewing skills for the employer, it was all about personal presentation and initial impressions. This
emphasis was common to all employers across all sectors.

   What does this mean? Despite the emphasis on creating the perfect resume, it is just a tool to gain access to
employers. The consequent interaction between employer and potential employee is unscientific and personal and
remains the key element to getting a job. It reiterates and emphasizes how important presentation of self-
prospective employee’s personal appearance, voice, tone and body language- are to ultimate job
success. The number of responses suggests that this is an area where youth could improve performance.

    Second surprise… There was considerable agreement about benefits, skills and attitudes that employers
valued. The following are listed according to frequency of response. What is notable is the emphasis on ‘soft skills’
first, then critical thinking to solve real world problems and situations.

What 4 BENEFITS of hiring youth?           What were 4 most desirable SKILLS?            What were 4 key ATTITUDES?

1.Energy                                   1.Good communication skills - verbal,         1. Ability to work in a team
                                           written, listening
2. Up to date skills                       2. Well developed customer skills             2. Demonstrates positive attitudes towards
3. More flexibility regarding work hours   3. Demonstrated ability to learn new skills   3. Displays common sense
4. New ideas                               4. Ability to solve problems                  4. Willing to offer new ideas and demonstrate

                               THE CHALLENGES OF EMPLOYING YOUTH
    Nearly all employers had similar anecdotes. Their responses about the barriers or challenges to hiring youth
were also comparable, despite differences in size, sector and responsibility. The top four are listed below in order of
priority given by employers.

                                            CONCERNS AND CHALLENGES

                              1. Problematic attitudes

                              2. Unrealistic expectations (salary, responsibilities)

                              3. More training needed than older workers

                              4. Require extra supervision

   It raised the question- was this a challenge particular to York Region? Was it a specific to an age group? What
social and economic forces were at work that seemed to presenting a new kind of employee to employers? Even
though the definition of youth for this survey project was quite extensive, 15 to 30, there was still considerable
homogeneity of response.

   What did research say? When inputting adjectives used by employers to describe York Region youth into the
research engines, something surprising emerged- a description of a demographic group- The Millennials

                          The Millennials: They've arrived at work with a new attitude. They're young, smart, brash.
                                    They may wear flip-flops to the office or listen to iPods at their desk.
                                        They want to work, but they don't want work to be their life.

The most racially and ethnically diverse generation ever, they were born between 1978 and 1994 approximately.
They're the largest college generation since the 1960s but their numbers soon will begin to shrink. About 40 percent
are children of divorce.

                                    Employer Guide to Millennial Generation
                                         Employing youth in the new millennium

                          Tag line                        What It Looks Like in the Workplace

              Choice not optional                 Millennials see personalization and customization as their birthright.
                                                  They are special! Employers are expected to treat them accordingly

              Patience, patience. Not.            Millennials have no tolerance for delays. They expect quick results.
                                                  Working their way up, putting in their time? Their worst nightmare.
                                                  And they're furious when employers ‘waste their time’

              Geared to results                   They prefer merit systems to seniority and like constant feedback on
                                                  how they're doing. Requires more engagement from employer.

              Experiential learners               They learn by doing and almost never read the directions.

              Digital naturals                    Born into the computer culture, they'll always adapt faster and more
                                                  naturally to technological innovation-frequently they are the ‘go to’

              Gossip on the go                    They're prolific communicators and rely on IM, Face book, text
                                                  messaging and cell phones to stay in touch with friends 24/7.

Balanced lives                                 They don't want to work 80 hours a week and forgo health and
                                              leisure, but they normally expect to earn more than their parents. Is
                                              this the sense of entitlement employers see?

Collaborate and consult                       They're used to working with others, thanks to years of group
endlessly                                     projects at school, team sports, social networks and structured
                                              games. They may be able to teach employers a thing or two about

Don't pin me down                             Millennials delay making decisions and commitments in case
                                              something better comes along. Creating the trend of "boomerang"
                                              kids who come back home and postpone a move to adulthood.

Multitaskers                                  It comes back to efficient use of time. They almost never e-mail or
                                              ‘text’ someone without doing something else at the same time.
                                              Productivity can be enhanced…or not.

Cut to the chase                              They're direct, self-confident, cheeky, and tend to think they're all
                                              above average, because to be average is to be "second-rate." They're
                                              very self-assured and generally have led structured lives shaped by
                                              baby-boomer parents who expect them to stand out. Employers
                                              expect to re-enact ‘Parenting 101’.

Source: Millennial Behaviors and Demographics, by Richard Sweeney, New Jersey Institute of Technology

                                  What does this mean for employers?

1. Employer methods and attitudes may be in for a time of adjustment in order to
recruit, employ and retain this volatile, vibrant, demanding cohort in a tighter, more
competitive employment market.
2. Communication, collegiality and collaboration will be keys to enhance youth
engagement and productivity.
3. Toss out the old truisms. This group will just roll their eyes.

                                                       HERE IT IS…
                                                      TO THE POINT
                                                      FROM THE HEART

                                                    … SOFT SKILLS:
“A set of skills that influence how we interact with each other. It includes such abilities as effective communication, creativity,
analytical thinking, diplomacy, flexibility, change-readiness, and problem solving, leadership, team building, and listening.”

                                            Employability Skills Advice
                                               “Straight From The Source”
                                                Descriptors from Conference Board of Canada
                                         Employability Skills 2000+ were used as interpretive framework

                                                   FUNDAMENTAL SKILLS
                                             The skills needed as a base for further development
This area of the Conference Board of Canada’s matrix is really addressing basic skills that enable youth to be successful.
             Fourteen employers felt that it was important that youth have a strong foundation in this area.
                                                   ‘Communications’: Summary
Employers were ‘all about’ communication. They were full of tips and encouragement to youth to be clear, accentuate the
positive, offer information and ask questions.
The underlying message seemed to be that there were a significant number of youth that appear to be uncomfortable in
interviews, often frustrating the interviewer. It also emerged that young job seekers and employees need to learn how to
advocate for themselves, to market their skills in a way that employers understand.
Several stressed the need for a more polished presentation, to remember that conversation with their friends is not the
same as communicating with customers.
 There was less than expected emphasis on written communication. There was much less comment about literacy and
numeracy than anticipated. This suggests that employers feel they can teach ‘hard skills’ with more success than the less
tangible, soft skill, side of communications.
1.    “Professionalism in an interview. Be yourself & try to stand out. Don't be afraid to laugh & joke in an interview. We need to see your true personality!
      Always shake hands!!!”
2.    “Work on communication skills.”
3.    “Be confident when filling out the application - body language and initial communication is very important”
4.    “Work to be professional and well spoken. Don't be afraid to be confident, and ask questions in interviews if you don’t understand questions.
      Remember that you probably have many transferable skills- working in a restaurant can give as good customer skills as working in a store.”
5.    “Be prepared when filling in an application or at an interview to offer more detailed information to help the interviewer.”
6.    “Just get out there. Be proactive. Be confident. There are a lot of great youth out there. Do the best you can. Attitude and motivation is important.”
7.    “Know what your talents are and be able to talk about them. Be able to describe your skills. Give the employer better information. Take some time to
      know what an employer wants- make it easier for them to find a fit for you.”
8.    “When you apply for a position- look like you really want it.”
9.    "Don’t sell yourself short -if you have skills, promote them, talk realistically about your talents.”
10.   “Make an effort to present well; don't think that a referral will get you the job without doing some work on your own.”
11.   “Show them that you want the job. Be assertive.”
12.   “Have good communication skills.”
13.   “Have no spelling errors in your resume.”
14.   “Punctuation and spelling continue to be very important. Do not use abbreviations as though you are speaking on Messenger.”

                                          PERSONAL MANAGEMENT SKILLS
                            The personal skills, attitudes and behaviours that drive one’s potential for growth

                          The Conference Board identified five separate elements in this core skill set.
This is really about the employees as agents of their own future. Self management and a level of emotional intelligence were
seen as key by employers. In fact, nearly 50% of employers gave advice to youth about this area of competence. Naturally this
area would improve as young workers gained maturity and experience. There was a strong emphasis and similarity in this
message from diverse employers; it suggests a common concern about youth attitudes across the board.

                       ‘Demonstrate Positive Attitudes and Behaviours’: Summary
   Employers spoke passionately and repeatedly about youth attitudes and behaviours.
   There seemed to be significant gaps between employer expectations and youth performance in this area.
   Some of the comments can be attributed to generational differences, but many younger employers and managers also
   made the same observations.
    It raises questions about how to bridge this gap – to create a better understanding about the impact of this discrepancy on
   the employers’ bottom line.
   It suggests that employers need to ask what they need to do to develop relationships with youth that encourage retention
   and satisfaction. Employers may have to reassess their expectations and their practices to address this gap.

   1.   Positive attitude!
   2.   Don't expect to start at $80,000 a year- you need to work your way up.
   3.   Pay attention to the soft skills as much as the academic qualifications.
   4.   Be yourself, portray who you are and don't ever give up.
   5.   Try to improve level of professionalism both w/attitude and appearance.
   6.   Possessing a mature and professional attitude towards your job will enable you to gain skills and become marketable.
   7.   Positive Attitude!
   8.   Have a positive attitude and demonstrate that you want to work hard.
   9.   Be confident about what you have to offer - we know there is a skill gap, but we can train the technical stuff -it's having the right attitude that makes
        a difference.
   10. Be confident- even if you don't have exact skills required, be willing to learn anything new.
   11. Have a good attitude. A smile gets you everywhere!
   12. Have a good attitude; be positive; be proactive; be ready to put in effort
   13. Dress code, they seem to think anything is acceptable
   14. Be willing to get your feet wet and show that you want to be part of that organization and work your way up
   15. Good attitude, worry about what you’re going to do
   16. Don't fake abilities just to get a job, be honest with yourself and find a job that you enjoy
   17. Demonstrate a willingness and commitment to being an excellent employee, by communicating honestly and effectively with supervisor

                                                      ‘Be Responsible’: Summary
This area of employability skills elicited the most responses from employers.
The remarks were often pithy and to the point.
It is not surprising that portions of the youth workforce may be less focussed on job performance than more established
workers, and that this would sometimes be exasperating for employers.
However, there was a sense that employers were finding some of these attitudes and behaviours new, and it was often
expressed with honest bewilderment on the side of employers.
They were able to identify behaviours but were at a loss to understand the ‘why’ or to come up with ways to deal with it.

 1.     Develop a stronger work ethic
 2.     Understand the expectations and responsibilities trying to be less self absorbed
 3.     Work hard and do things right
 4.     Ensure that you like your job and give 100% of your effort-even if the job may not be your career choice. You never know what the future holds
 5.     To be able to have very good time-management skills between work, school and after hour projects.
 6.     Work hard
 7.     Don't carry around your cell phones with you everywhere, if you’re not going to show up for a shift let someone know and make sure you get
        someone to switch with you so someone shows up
 8.     Read the Schedule daily
 9.     Don't make up excuses for missing shifts, own up to your mistakes
 10.    Be presentable; come early to your interview so that you demonstrate that you are ready to go and that you have good time management skills
 11.    Should dress for the interview, and want the job and not just here because your parents want you to work. Understand what the job will demand
        from you, and learn to be on time
 12.    Attend more volunteer activities to help local community to prove himself be ready for real work environment
 13.    Take every job seriously
 14.    Make sure that you are reliable and make a commitment to your job. Think about the impact of your absence of your coworkers.
 15.    Don't always be asking for time off or trading shifts
 16.    Be responsible for the tasks given
 17.    Take the job seriously because it could lead to better positions. Be professional about it
 18.    Caring about your job, don't try to get away with not doing work
 19.    Punctuality

                                                        ‘Be Adaptable’: Summary
Employers had less to say about the ability of youth to bring energy and ingenuity to the workplace.
They exhorted youth to be flexible but the lack of critical advice implies youth is perhaps the most flexible and adaptable
part of the workforce and that employers value that quality.
1.     Multi tasking to increase efficiency
2.     Be flexible
3.     Be Flexible!!

                                                   ‘Learn Continuously’: Summary
   To be young is to be open to learning.
   The advice from employers was in the ‘more is better’ vein, pointing out that on-the-job learning can be at least as
   important , if not more valuable, than academic qualifications.
   Many employers voiced the belief that ‘on the job’ experience , even if not directly related to present position-for example,
   transferable skills- was an important factor in recruitment choice.
   It seemed that many employers were eager to take on that role of teacher/advisor and may indicate potential for
   development as both an area of both ‘need’ and ‘want’ for all partners.

   1.  Take every opportunity to learn new things and make yourself more marketable and valuable to the organization
   2.  Get an education!
   3.  Don't drop out of school. Education is very important
   4.  Take every opportunity to learn new things and make yourself more marketable and valuable to the organization
   5.  Use the work experience and support resources provided by strong employers use the part time job to grow and take your role seriously, those skills
       will pay dividends later in life
   6. Get as much training as you can
   7. Try to develop skills
   8. Be willing to learn any new skills
   9. Enthusiasm to learn, new things makes you want to come to work
   10. Understand that "Street Smarts" are just as important as academic smarts. So many times we have hired students who excel in school but crumble in
       the real working world. There is incredible pressure to succeed in school, extra homework, exams etc. The school system is not doing our students
       today any favours by making it next to impossible for kids to have a part time job. This is a critical stage in one's life to understand a little about the
       working world

                                                          TEAMWORK SKILLS
                                      The skills and attributes needed to contribute productively
                      The Conference Board of Canada saw this group of skills as the most sophisticated and demanding.
                 It requires an understanding of how groups work, how to be self directed and what it means to be a leader.
Several employers tried to address this more demanding competency; however there was some vagueness about the ’how’ and this suggests
that ‘teamwork’ may be more an abstract ‘good’ to many employers rather than a concrete and easily achieved proficiency. It is possible that
youth, educated in a more collaborative learning style, may in fact have something new and valuable to offer employers in this area.

                                                    ‘Work with Others’: Summary
   1.   Be open minded and willing to pitch in wherever needed.
   2.   Demonstrate a healthy work ethic and a good sense of appropriate behaviour and language when interacting with managers and professional approach
        to customers and co-workers
   3.   Youth must be team players and be really interested in the job. We have a great deal of absenteeism with youth workers. This impacts others.
   4.   Increase team performance.


   There is a tangible disconnect between some of the traditional employment skills and attitudes wanted
by most employers and the new cultural expectations of today’s youth-

What actions?
   Creating dialogue by bringing youth and employers together- conference
   Defining needs on both sides- creating a meeting point- new recruitment and retention processes
   Encouraging conversations with partners to best practices- leverage expertise and transfer knowledge
   Building relationships that enhance understanding- mentoring, coaching
   Providing opportunities to interact- events, success, PR, media
   Forging commitment for further action- community ‘buy in’
= future economic success for youth in York Region.

                                   APPRECIATING EMPLOYERS
In the survey there was an attempt to appreciate and recognize the commitment that employers make
when hiring youth. There are outstanding examples of commitment, mentoring, celebration best practices
and innovation.
                        Employers were asked what would make a difference.
      1. Personal letters of appreciation
      2. Positive Media Coverage
      3. Website postings across York Region
                                             From whom?

     1. Media- newspapers, television etc.,         3. Local Municipal government
     1. Chambers of Commerce/Boards of Trade        4.School Boards




  1. To meet the expressed need for more ‘in depth’ conversation with a diverse group of youth, employers,
     educators , youth service workers and other agencies for their mutual benefit;

  2. To share the survey results and invite reaction and response to validate and interpret findings;

  3. To attain, by sharing viewpoints, a more complete perspective of the forces that impacts the youth
     employment picture.

  4. To develop an expanded base of knowledgeable people to enable a move from ‘discovery’ to ‘focused action’
     and To expand connections and resource base within the York Region community

  5. To assess interest and commitment for those who participated for future endeavours


  Creating an opportunity for connections and networking

  To address the overt challenges and underlying needs of youth, employers and economy.

  To think “outside the box” about lateral , cross discipline, inter community directions

  Co-creation of, and ownership in, next steps to enhance youth employment and economic productivity


     Brainstorm of general and specific directions

     New alliances

     New resources

     Convergence of services and partnerships

     Identification of gaps in information and resources






     Naming participants

     Listing their place in community

     Acknowledging the commitment of participants

     Being ‘blown    away’    by     contribution    of    youth

                               ROUNDTABLE RESULTS

The hopes and expectations for this community dialogue were elicited from the participants.

They captured the hopes, the needs they identified and wanted resolved, and the gaps of information they
would like addressed. These expectations were captured in flipcharts and are listed below:

   1. Identify strengths and areas for development for youth

   2. Resolving the question of academic qualifications vs. work experience – how do we convince parent
      youth need work experience?

   3. Clarify where employers are looking for youth employees

   4. Identifying the gap between what employers are looking for and what youth know

   5. What are employers’ expectations and how they are changing

   6. Looking at the mixed messages that youth receive and where they are coming from

   7. Talk about better ways for information to reach youth

   8. Surfacing the impact that cultural attitudes and parental attitudes have on youth employment

   9. How to increase labour market awareness- to better help the whole youth community to understand
      where the jobs are

   10.Investigate how changing lifestyles and values are impacting youth employment and youth attitudes

   11.Look at changes in education system that have increased pressure on youth to decide on a career path

    Towards Tomorrow were fortunate to have almost complete representation of the youth employment system
in the room. As a result, it was decided that a consultation process called ‘search conference’ modified to fit the
        unique time and group needs would be appropriate. This is a schematic of the group process.

                                           Novel and Significant Events in
                                                  World around us
                                                In the last 5-7 years
                             Community           That affect Youth
                             Priority                                        Action Plan

                                                    and most
                                                   Futures for
                                                   The System

                                               Keep Drop Create

                                                 TREND SCAN
    In order to develop a common understanding of the political events, environmental forces, social and economic
trends, technological influences, the group identified factors and forces at play in our society that influence youth
attitudes, activities and employment . This looks back to the past to help us understand out present day experience.

                                GROUP BRAINSTORM- Scan and Analysis

           What novel and significant events you have noticed in the last 5 to 7 years:

                 In your work? In your family? In York Region? In Canada? The World?

   The resulting list was lengthy and diverse and helped us all better understand the complex demanding world
through which our youth must navigate in order to make successful career choices and find a satisfying and
economically viable place for themselves in the world of work. It created the common ground of common
understanding within which the group, having reached back into the past, would now be able to create scenarios of
the future – both probable and desirable. Pictures below from Regional Municipality of York website


Technology                          Demographics                   Infrastructure                   Culture                        Systems

Internet technology, cell           Influx of multiple immigrant   Transportation in York Region    Changing Family Structure:     Educational Debt is
phones convergence and              groups to Canada to add to     and in GTA-cost and access       single parents, dual income    overwhelming- reduces
development of global               work force-skills and          to public transit-in growing     no family dinners, little      options, keeps youth at home
knowledge, group formation,         education present, challenge   communities to north , and in    downtime, disengagement in     , discovery that degrees and
new identities have                 of integration, language       east west direction better       community and within           diplomas have not
reconfigured society                                               but challenging                  family                         necessarily created job

Media- pervasive influence,         Hiring Quotas to balance       Cost of living accommodation     Focus on External Image-       Employers investment -or
desensitizing re: violence,         workforce                      and availability has been high   group think                    lack of- in youth and youth
race, morals; Creation of                                                                                                          training
unreal expectations- the                                                                            Generation Y senses of
‘celebrity’ society                                                                                 entitlement

‘Dot- Com’ crash- created           Baby Boomers –hold most of     Variety of job opportunities     Career Anorexia- parents and   Lack of Succession planning
distrust of IT sector as career     middle and senior              differ in parts of York Region   youth have limited             in corporate and small
option                              management positions- will                                      understanding of options       business
                                    retire in 5-7 years

Entrepreneurship in youth in        Changing Demographics in       Small business owners not        Turbulent world- terrorism,    Community service as part of
past     largely focused in hi      York Region meant that         prepared for retirement- 80%     financial instability ,        the curriculum has created
tech sector, not as aware of        community values and needs     of employers in York Region      environmental worries create   better understanding and
other        options,         not   differ- some barriers                                           unease- paths unclear          offered career options

                                    Employers rather hire          Little coordination of York      Youth experienced parents      Career Programs are not fully
                                    motivated immigrants rather    Region labour market, youth      downsizing –cynicism,          integrated into high school
                                    than deal with youth           services, educational systems    distrust                       programs-perhaps wrong
                                    attendance issues                                                                              timing

                           FUTURES: THE DIFFERENCE ACTION MAKES
   Then the large group was divided up into three task groups with representation from partners evenly
distributed. One group was assigned the task: Envisioning the Probable Future – Youth in York

   This group was asked to identify and prioritize the present trends that seemed most likely to extend 5
years into the future and define its shape- if we do nothing to change the present. The results below paint
a sobering picture of the future for youth and our economy if we do not act quickly. There are certainly
opportunities too, but opportunities compromised by large gaps in policy, planning, initiatives and awareness. This
process is part of a funnelling process that allows the group to bring together their shared understanding about
employment issues without lengthy dialogue.

                                               PROBABLE FUTURE
                Probable Future For Youth Employment in 5 years if Nothing Changes

   If there is insufficient interest or inadequate opportunity to gain work related experience- Larger gaps will increase and
   grow between relevant experience and employability openings

   Unless there is a proactive approach, there may be ‘huge’ shortages in certain areas. There could be a significant skewing
   of the supply and demand for employment. How will businesses cope if they have no plans? They will have to make hard
   choices based on their bottom line. More outsourcing may happen as they time to recruit and train may be beyond the
   capacity of small to medium employers and certain sectors

   There will be increasing challenges in managing the gap between employer expectations and employee satisfaction. This
   could change the face of Human Resource employment strategies.

   There may be increasing levels of stress for young employees, as well as demands on older workforce, to remain or
   work extended hours with implications for personal lives and health

   It is likely youth will continue the pattern or deferring participation in the workplace. The option of returning to school
   for a second or third time may seem preferable to a minimum wage job. The workforce in general will lose their

accumulated years of experience.

There will more pervasive and greater student debt. This will have implications at a social, cultural, and economic basis

Employers will be forced to implement more internal training programs to make up the shortfall, This be expensive and
time intensive. It will have economic implications for productivity and success- particularly for the smaller business with
limited resources. This requires a different mindset. There is no sign that this is happening.

There will be greater competition for fewer employees- this will change how recruitment is done, and it will pit businesses
against each other

Businesses will continue to hold on to qualified employees – implications for succession planning, innovation. When older
workers leave, the younger workers will have lost the opportunity to be part of the knowledge transfer.

There will be a continued pressure for skilled immigrants to meet the skills shortage despite concerns about inadequate
support to enable their adaptation to Canadian workplace expectations for language and expertise.

In five years, a number of possible scenarios present themselves. A large number of youth may be locked into minimum
wage lifestyles living close to the poverty line; a second group may have become disenchanted with the workplace
because they have not been able to effectively transfer their education and training into well-paying jobs; certain sector
groups will be faced with critical shortages – health, IT and skilled trades in particular- and their will be fast tracking
courses, and just-in-time solutions that create a worrying lag , as these highly skilled employees are trained-or
retrained- for these key economic and social sectors.

                                           DESIRABLE FUTURE
   The other two working groups were asked to imagine a future where their information, experience and
expertise would inform their actions and allow them to make reasonable changes to create a more
desirable future.

Desirable Future for Youth Employment in 5 years if Reasonable Changes were Implemented

  Employers will take more social responsibility and commit to train youth- create more entry positions for
  graduates with plan for mobility and career track articulated

  There will be better information available to parents and students about the labour market realities of various
  educational choices. Develop strategy in conjunction with community partners to highlight success stories that
  will move away from a kind of ‘career anorexia’ where only a few occupations are considered valuable.

  Study successful youth. There will be studies to look at the paths taken, choices made, influences and
  attitudes that led them to success. Define success in different ways. Develop programs to support these paths.

  Will increase the minimum wage to allow the many service jobs to provide a living wage.

  Will increase community service opportunities to expand exposure to variety of work locations; consider
  paid work for credit where appropriate

  Will increase supplementary wage programs for employers who undertake to train and retain youth

  Will provide initiatives and support for extended career decision-making in school- beginning in
  elementary school with reality check research and exploration in latter grades of high school to enhance
  academic and work transition choices.

  Each student will have at least on mandatory co-op experience before high school graduation- with
  subsidized support for employers. Recognized and supported college and university co-op initiatives.

Will have created better connections to employment links, reduced red tape to allow youth, advisors and
educators successful and timely access to programs like apprenticeships, coop experiences, mentorship
and internships.

Will have created vibrant effective partnerships with employers and human service agencies that service
youth. Will have a York Region ‘clearing house’ approach to job opportunities, job support and job recruitment
that are locally based with maximum fruitful dialogue to benefit all.

Will address in the York Region community, some of the underlying barriers of poverty, addictions, cultural,
environment that stand in the way of greater youth employment. Strategies included: Developed a Mayor’s
task force to identify issues, looked at economic benefits of hiring youth for productive work, created employer
Adopt-a-School program to forge better communication links and interactivity between various social and

Created better ways through Economic Development offices and Chambers of Commerce to access knowledge
,information and job opportunities about growth industries and demand sectors to circumvent labour
shortages and skills gaps; provided chances to participate, work and learn at York Region businesses .

                                       RE-DRAWING THE LINES
                                   RECONFIGURING THE FUTURE

   The whole group, after small group presentations of the probable and desirable futures of youth employment in
York Region, began to take a critical look at benefits and impediments to moving forward to a more productive
future. Participants decided w hat they wanted to retain, what they wanted to have less of, what they would like to
see keep and what new projects or initiatives that they would like to see created. Using a “Keep, Drop or Create”
Matrix, the group generated a series of actions that they felt would improve the employment picture for youth and
benefit business in York Region as a whole.

           KEEP                                  CHUCK                             CREATE
       What has been                         What needs to                       What currently
       working well?                         be changed?                         needs to exist?

   For the purposes of this report, the following initiatives were brought forward. They were suggested as possible
actions that could be taken by the larger community and governments. The group understood that the next
step could only really take place at another meeting. At that point, the possible initiatives would be
discussed, prioritized and new partners further exploration and action.


                                      What Needs to Exist
1. Develop better labour market information with particular regional and local trends

2. Convey advanced and accurate information to immigrants about potential labour market opportunities
   that are grounded in real statistics and up-to-date data. Help to fill local needs more efficiently.

3. Recreate- after and evaluation of effectiveness of programs and gaps in services – new enhanced youth
   programs with specific demographic and region specific focus, i.e. Immigrant youth, health

4. Make youth programs more accessible, more visible through better communication and dialogue
   Better understanding and defining of needs with partners- school boards, training and adjustment boards,
   Chambers of Commerce and specific Sectoral groups- i.e. financial services , health ,construction,
   transportation etc.

5. Support a comprehensive program for better access to trades training and apprenticeship
   programs. Develop a simple and efficient process that guarantees equality of access for all.

6. Youth Employment Task Force created to: expand contacts and relationships; to establish means of
   meeting and developing of York Region Priorities; and to work collaboratively on these issues with
   support from business and other community partners

7. Increase and expand co-op and career programs in school with coordinated participation and funding
   from federal, provincial and municipal bodies as well as business and not for profit groups.

8. Have people and policies in place to forge stronger relationships between schools and employers for
   placement and career information.

       9. Better funding from provincial or federal government to enable expanded co-op opportunities in
          remote or higher unemployment areas.

       10.Investigate the ability to assess and then transfer some mandatory volunteer credits to part time
          work to acknowledge the value of work experience.

       11.Provide better youth role models by developing a youth mentoring program; one that would
          provide leadership training to successful youth in the workplace that would then, in turn, provide
          mentoring to youth in co-ops, internships and short-term work experiences. There would be financial
          support to businesses to release youth for training and mentoring and for the coordination of program

       12.New initiatives and incentives to develop better links, access and information between growth and
          high demand sectors such as IT, health and skilled trades and youth serving bodies –education and
          agencies for example- to build a local response to pending labour and skill shortages in York Region .

       13.In partnership with municipalities and sectors, develop a model to build partnerships than enable
          more capacity for Economic Development Initiatives at the local municipal level.

       14.Development of a program that officially recognizes “Youth Friendly” employers; preferred
          recognition through Municipal governments, Chambers of Commerce and Media.

       15. Develop and implement a media awareness strategy that works in partnership with region-wide media
          to address concerns and opportunities about the economic importance of successful youth
          employment in York Region.

       16.Provide a simple ‘one-stop’ internet location –a clearing house- for York Region which would
          include Labour Market trends, employment opportunities, business needs and interviews, youth services,
          and job placement opportunities.

Youth is to be regarded with respect. How do we know that their future will not be equal to our present? CONFUCIUS. The Wisdom of Confucius


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