Taber Youth Em­ploy­ment pro­gram cov­ers many gamuts

Prairie Post (West Edition) - - Taber - BY HEATHER CAMERON

The Taber Youth Em­ploy­ment Pro­gram ex­ists to help youth over­come bar­ri­ers to em­ploy­ment.

“Youth that are 15-30 years of age who have bar­ri­ers to em­ploy­ment are el­i­gi­ble to par­tic­i­pate in the pro­gram,” E. Jane Brenner, the Ex­ec­u­tive Direc­tor of Taber and Dis­trict Com­mu­nity Adult Learn­ing, said. “bar­ri­ers in­clude, but are not lim­ited to, chal­lenges faced by re­cent im­mi­grant youth, youth with dis­abil­i­ties, sin­gle par­ent youth, youth who have not com­pleted high school, In­dige­nous youth, and youth liv­ing in ru­ral or re­mote ar­eas.”

Taber and Dis­trict Com­mu­nity Adult Learn­ing As­so­ci­a­tion, Brenner says, runs the pro­gram, and they are re­quired to re­cruit and screen youth who may need the pro­gram. Brenner says that the Skills Link Pro­gram is funded through the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment and is a com­po­nent of the Gov­ern­ment of Canada's Youth Em­ploy­ment Strat­egy (YES).

“The Skills Link pro­gram helps youth over­come bar­ri­ers to em­ploy­ment, de­velop a broad range of skills and knowl­edge in or­der to par­tic­i­pate in the cur­rent and fu­ture labour mar­ket and to pro­mote ed­u­ca­tion and skills as be­ing key to labour mar­ket par­tic­i­pa­tion,” Brenner said.

The pro­gram is run by paid staff and al­ways has more peo­ple in­ter­ested in par­tic­i­pat­ing that can be ac­com­mo­dated into the pro­gram. Each day in the pro­gram be­gins with those en­rolled par­tic­i­pat­ing in 20 minute “Jump Start” group-based ac­tiv­i­ties that in­clude lead­er­ship train­ing, re­flec­tive-learn­ing con­cepts, and cre­ative arts mo­ti­va­tional ex­er­cises.

From there, par­tic­i­pants in­volve them­selves in ac­tiv­i­ties that teach them var­i­ous skills in­clud­ing ‘doc­u­ment use’, which is learn­ing to fill out es­sen­tial pa­per­work prop­erly. Par­tic­i­pants will also en­gage in writ­ing ac­tiv­i­ties that in­clud­ing help­ing them un­der­stand them­selves bet­ter, im­prove their com­mu­ni­ca­tion skills, and help them pre­pare for work ex­pe­ri­ence.

Ac­tiv­i­ties in­volv­ing oral com­mu­ni­ca­tion are also part of the pro­gram and are in­tended to teach par­tic­i­pants in­ter­view skills, and help them learn about oral his­to­ries. Nu­mer­acy ac­tiv­i­ties in­clude lessons about bud­get­ing, spend­ing habits, time sheets, mak­ing meals ac­cord­ing to a bud­get, and nutri­tion.

An­other skillset par­tic­i­pants en­gage in devel­op­ing is the abil­ity to work with oth­ers in var­i­ous en­vi­ron­ments. The ac­tiv­i­ties in­volved in­clude learn­ing and devel­op­ing in­tegrity/hon­esty, em­ploy­ment stan­dards, non-ver­bal com­mu­ni­ca­tion, lis­ten­ing, com­mit­ment to an em­ployer, hu­man rights, dress and ap­pear­ance, and ac­cept­ing feed­back.

Other ac­tiv­i­ties within the skillset in­volve learn­ing about sex­ual ha­rass­ment, cour­tesy, work/life bal­ance, re­la­tion­ship build­ing, valu­ing man­age­ment, hav­ing a pos­i­tive at­ti­tude, adapt­abil­ity, learn­ing/prac­tic­ing in­de­pen­dence, tak­ing ini­tia­tive, time man­age­ment, stress man­age­ment, and busi­ness eti­quette.

“Re­sults of these ex­er­cises showed im­proved fo­cus, in­creased team build­ing, im­proved prob­lem-solv­ing skills and en­hanced lead­er­ship qual­i­ties,” Brenner said.

Youth in­volved in the pro­gram take part in seven weeks of Group Based Em­ploy­a­bil­ity in class train­ing and 12 weeks of Work Ex­pe­ri­ence. They are paid min­i­mum wage while in the pro­gram.

“We will strive to in­crease the es­sen­tial and em­ploy­a­bil­ity skills of 52 youth over a three-year pe­riod,” Brenner said.

The Taber Youth Em­ploy­ment Pro­gram’s ob­jec­tives, Brenner says, are to in­crease em­ploy­a­bil­ity skills in youth ages 15-30 through an eightweek group based em­ploy­a­bil­ity skills pro­gram; to pro­vide work ex­pe­ri­ence for youth ages 15-30 through a nine­week work ex­pe­ri­ence; to de­velop sup­port net­works for youth through the pro­gram; to in­crease the es­sen­tial and em­ploy­a­bil­ity skills of the youth; to in­crease the self-con­fi­dence of the youth; and to in­form youth of post­sec­ondary op­tions.

Brenner says that busi­nesses both in town and in the gen­eral area are sup­port­ive of the pro­gram and sup­ply work place­ments for the youth. Af­ter the place­ment is com­pleted, Brenner says that many youth are hired as em­ploy­ees af­ter the work place­ment is com­pleted.

Jiffy Lube; The Onion Restau­rant; Clearview Lodge As­sisted Liv­ing; M.D. of Taber Emer­gency Ser­vices; Western Coun­try RV, the Town of Taber’s IT Depart­ment; Luigi’s Pizza; Her­itage Inn; Taber Pub­lic Li­brary; and River­bend Rock prod­ucts all suc­cess­fully par­tic­i­pated in the pro­gram’s last in­take pe­riod.

“The pro­gram is life chang­ing for youth. It gives them di­rec­tion, a pur­pose and work ex­pe­ri­ence to as­sist them in be­com­ing em­ployed or re­turn­ing to school,” Brenner said.

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