In our relentless pursuit to empower youth with the tools needed to successfully gain employment, we have been working with the Lookout Society to bridge the gap between job training programs and actual job placements. We are committed to helping youth overcome employment barriers, while fostering meaningful connections within the community. One shining example of this commitment is our partnership with the Lookout Society, which introduced the transformative LEEP program—a six-week employment skills training initiative. This program not only equips youth with essential certifications but also provides hands-on job placements to ensure a smoother transition into the workforce.
Addressing Employment Challenges
While we offer a variety of in-house and external job training, we’ve observed that youth still encounter difficulties in securing employment, even after completing the training. The stumbling blocks often stem from a lack of prior job experience that can lead to potential discrimination, during the hiring process. In response, we have taken a proactive approach by fostering intentional community partnerships to create opportunities for youth that go beyond certifications.
The Lookout Society Partnership
One standout partner in this endeavour is the Lookout Society, who collaborated with us to offer the LEEP program. This six-week initiative is specifically tailored to support youth in achieving their individual employment goals. The program assigns each youth a dedicated job developer and offers flexible options for completing the curriculum, which ensures that every participant receives personalized support. The curriculum includes a range of certifications such as First Aid, WHIMIS, FOODSAFE, NVCI, and Mental Health First Aid.
The LEEP Experience
Upon completing the curriculum, youth engage in 60–120 hours of paid job placements—a crucial step in building confidence and practical skills in a real-world work environment. Furthermore, participants have the option to access counselling services, if needed.
The impact of the LEEP program on the young people at CHV has been profound. Multiple participants have successfully completed 120 hours of paid work placements, and have gained valuable hands-on experience. Some youth took part in the five weeks of English sessions, that were held twice a week, to further enhance their communication skills. Several youth who are aging out of care have transitioned into supported housing, which is a positive step towards independence. One graduate from the program secured full-time employment, which illustrates the program’s success in breaking down barriers to entry into the workforce.
The success of the LEEP community partnership, particularly in collaboration with the Lookout Society, highlights the importance of targeted and holistic approaches in youth employment initiatives. By addressing the specific challenges faced by youth and forging meaningful partnerships within the community, we can create pathways to sustainable employment and empower the next generation, for a brighter future.