As many post-secondary youth embark on a new school year, Ontario has announced a number of new programs and improvements to help students with the costs of their education and career goals. The province recently launched the Youth Job Connection, a program which will provide intensive support and training to young people with multiple barriers to employment, including youth living with disabilities and mental health issues.
Starting in October, the first part of the program will provide paid pre-employment training, job opportunities and mentorship to youth aged 15 to 29 who are currently not working, not in school, or not enrolled in a training program. The second part of the program will provide summer, part-time and after-school job opportunities to high school students between ages 15 and 18 who are facing challenging life circumstances and who may need support transitioning between school and work. After-school opportunities will be available in October 2015, with summer opportunities available in spring 2016.
For youth currently in post-secondary school, the province has also announced important changes to the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) to help students with post-secondary costs. The changes to OSAP will make the student financial assistance program easier to use, more flexible, and more transparent by giving students more control over how much financial aid they withdraw.