Ontario will invest $295 million over two years to help young people find jobs, the provincial government said Thursday. The new Youth Jobs Strategy will include incentives to business to hire young people as well as incentives to encourage young people start their own businesses.

Source: Toronto Star By: Dana Flavelle Economy,  Published on Thu May 02 2013

The program would help up to 30,000 young people in the province find employment, the government said. Currently, 178,000 people between the ages of 15 and 24 are out of work.

“Job creation is an important measure of a healthy economy,” provincial finance minister Charles Sousa said in the budget speech to the legislature. “When an economy is growing steadily jobs are being created.”

The job creation strategy for youth was part of Thursday’s $127.6-billion Liberal budget which details $900 million in spending over five years, promises to limit spending growth to 1.8 per cent a year and rebalance the books in 2017-18 and have no new taxes.

The youth jobs strategy recognizes that Ontario’s youth have not shared in the province’s recovery since the recession of 2008, the government said.

The provincial economy has created almost 400,000 jobs since June 2009 and net new employment is 130,000 higher than before the recession, the government said.

But only half of all young people, age 15 to 24, were employed in 2012, down from a pre-recession rate of 57 per cent in 2007, the government said.

The unemployment rate for that age group is 16.8 per cent — more than double the average for the overall labour force.

Starting this fall, the government will spend $195 million over two years to create job opportunities for 25,000 young people through hiring incentives to employers.

The program would include wage subsidies for employers and assistance to new hires to buy tools and equipment or upgrade their skills.

The rest of the youth jobs strategy fund would be spent on programs that encourage entrepreneurship and improve co-ordination between business, labour and educators.

They include:

•$45 million for a Youth Entrepreneurship Fund that would create up to 6,000 mentorship and job opportunities.

•$10 million to help post-doctoral fellows acquire the business skills they need to work in the private sector.

•$20 million to universities and colleges for entrepreneurial programs, such as Ryerson’s Digital Media Zone and the University of Toronto’s Impact Centre.

•$25 million to pilot projects that improve co-ordination between business, labour, youth and educators.

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