As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and economic recession youth in Alberta have experienced declines in mental health, education and training opportunities, and prospects for employment. Opportunity Youth are among those most impacted. They are 18-29 year olds not engaged in training, education, or employment, due to structural and social barriers.
PolicyWise for Children & Families researched policy opportunities to improve employment among Opportunity Youth in Alberta. The Report presents the challenges and offers recommendations for policy-makers, youth-serving agencies, funders, and employers. The Policy Brief highlights key recommendations and strategic actions. The Calls to Action highlights opportunities for advocacy, leadership and collaboration, and assessment and monitoring. The Employer Guide outlines 5 activities employers can undertake to support Opportunity Youth.
Practice & Policy Implications
The report recommends several policy targets and actions for improving employment conditions for Opportunity Youth, including:
- Integrate Opportunity Youth employment and education into existing provincial policy initiatives, education, and training.
- Intervene early to prevent disconnection from education, training, and employment.
- Tailor supports to the unique needs of youth by taking a strengths-based and trauma-informed approach.
- Involve and incentivize employers to hire and retain youth.
- Involve youth in solution generating activities.
- Create and implement a provincial youth employment strategy.
- Establish a provincial base for collecting, sharing, and using Opportunity Youth employment data.