(From left: NWPB research associate Thalia Semplonius, NWPB research & project manager Adam Durrant, Brock associate geography professor Jeff Boggs, Brock NCO research coordinator Carol Phillips, Brock NCO director Charles Conteh, and NWPB CEO Mario De Divitiis. Paul Forsyth/Metroland)
Business leaders in Niagara could play a major role in creating what’s hoped will be Niagara’s most comprehensive youth employment strategy ever over the next year.
At the unveiling of a new research report delving into educational and employment trends among young Niagara residents on Tuesday, Niagara Workforce Planning Board executive director Mario De Divitiis said his agency, the region, Niagara College and Brock University’s Niagara Community Observatory have embarked on what will be a year-long project to forge a strategy focused on what’s considered a key demographic segment.
The new report, jointly written by authors from the workforce planning board and the community observatory, continued to shed light on trends among young people in Niagara. It shows they're highly educated with almost two-thirds of people aged 25 to 29 having a post-secondary diploma, degree or certificate, but also shows sales and service jobs that are among the lowest-paying dominate the 15 to 29-year-old age bracket.
It’s one in a series of such reports delving of late into young people in Niagara, following up on one last October that showed unemployment among young people in the region continues to be noticeably higher than the general population.
That report, by the community observatory, warned that not ensuring young people have the opportunities they need in Niagara will put this region at an economic disadvantage.
“A younger, skilled workforce helps attract employers to the region and fuels the economy,” the authors wrote.
De Divitiis told Niagara This Week after Tuesday’s report release at Brock University that the time has come for a comprehensive strategy to ensure Niagara is positioning itself as a region where young people will want to live.
“There’s so many fragmented pieces,” he said of existing studies. “There have been numerous reports, but there hasn’t been an anchored youth strategy.”
De Divitiis said development of the new strategy — to be created with funding from the provincial advanced education and skills development ministry — will be guided by a new employer leadership council that will be formed to develop “concrete actions” on issues such as youth retention and employment.