Orillia, Ontario, July 21, 2014 – Ontario’s Youth Employment Fund is helping local young people find jobs, get training, and gain valuable work experience. Here in the Orillia area, the CDC has been working with Northern Lights Employment Centre and the Georgian College Career Centre to ensure that local employers know about the fund and how easy it is to participate.

Launched in September 2013 through employment centres; the fund is helping employers offer four- to six-month job placements for young people looking for work, particularly those facing barriers to employment.

Carol Benedetti, CDC Community Development Coordinator, has been busy spreading the word and the response has been amazing, “Generally speaking, non-profit organizations are aware of funding opportunities like this. Small business owners rarely are. They aren’t used to being able to access government funding and assume that it will be a complicated, time consuming process. That is simply not the case with this fund.”

Manticore Books is a great example of the win-win nature of this fund. “I called Mike Fredson, owner of Manticore Books and asked him if he had heard of the Youth Employment Fund. He said no but he liked the sound of it already! Within an hour, he had registered at Northern Lights and began working with them to find a match.

Enter Jessica Grant. At 18 years old Jessica has been a voracious reader for the past 3 years. A job in a bookstore was ideal and as Mike explained, she brings a fresh eye to the workplace. “Jessica has very different reading habits and tastes than myself, which is great! Our Young Adult section is one of our busiest sections. Ever since the Harry Potter series, the young adult genre has exploded. The Twilight and Hunger Games series’ are two more recent examples and it’s really valuable to have a young reader on staff.”

Jessica also frees up some of Mike’s time to attend to the many other areas of his business, such as book shows and marketing.

Training is an important part of the Youth Employment Fund and Mike is arranging for Jessica to receive her Retail Sales Associate Certificate through the Retail Council of Canada.

When asked what stands out about her experience at Manticore so far, Jessica replied, “I am surprised by my ability to retain information. There is so much to learn but I love it. What am I learning? Everything! ”

In the past few months, over a dozen businesses and organizations have been matched with close to 20 youth employees as a direct result of a CDC referral. If you would like to learn more about the Youth Employment Fund, contact Georgian Centre for Career and Employment Services at 705-329-3102 or Northern Lights Employment Services Centre at 705-325-1203, ext 3020.

For more information about the Orillia Area Community Development Corp. (CDC), please call 705-325-4903 or visit www.orilliacdc.com.

The CDC is a federally supported not-for-profit organization, working with community partners to develop and sustain the local economy through Business Financing, Business Counseling; and, Community economic development projects.