Discrimination Part of Mississauga’s Youth Unemployment Problem

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Racism and discrimination are contributing factors to Mississauga's youth unemployment, says a report released by The Health City Stewardship Centre (HCSC). 

Titled "Unlocking Potential: Empowering our youth through employment", this report was unveiled at Dixie Bloor Neighbourhood Centre, according to a Mississauga News article

The report provides statistics concerning the 32,000 (17.6 per cent) unemployed youth in Peel. Of this number, black youth make up 32 per cent while those with disabilities make up 30 per cent. Additionally, 29 per cent of Aboriginal youth is unemployed. 

"We're all here to solve this problem because it's unacceptable in a city this ambitious and forward-thinking," said Mayor Bonnie Crombie, who attended the presentation. 

According to the report, certain factors that create barriers to employment include a lack of access to mentorship, a lack of understanding of the hiring process, and a stigma towards the trades, among other issues. 

To try and break these barriers, the report recommends solutions such as encouraging networking events, promoting job readiness, increasingly using technology to connect youth with mentors, etc. 

"An important way for our young people to better themselves and to achieve healthy, more prosperous lives, is by having the discipline, self-confidence and physical and mental drive that all comes with the responsibilities and pride of having a job," Crombie said. 

Prior to the report's unveiling, post-secondary graduate Maame Debrah gave a talk about her own struggles finding work in her field. 

"I was told I was part of an exceptional class of students that were going to change the world," said Debrah, who graduated from Queen's University in 2013 with a degree in gender studies. While she did manage to secure a few part-time jobs, none of them were relevant to her degree. 

Although this is a common problem for many recent grads, Debrah insists that the difficulties she faced were different as a black, female, young immigrant from Ghana. 

"Let's face it, if you're white and you were born in Canada and lived here for 20 years, you're more likely to obtain secure employment," said Michelle DiEmanuele of the HCSC. 

The Ontario Trillium Foundation has allocated $750,000 to be used for the solutions proposed by the report. Additionally, Crombie announced the launch of the Mayor's Youth Employment Expo, an event dedicated to helping youth connect with potential employers. 

The expo is planned to take place at City Hall, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on June 12. Check out youthjobexpo.ca for registration and more info.

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