LiveWorkPlay will take part in a live jury and audience event seeking $125,000 in support of their youth employment initiative. The New Leaf Community Challenge is hosted by the Community Foundation of Ottawa with an esteemed local panel who are evaluating written submissions, a 20 minute presentation, and live questions and answers at the finale event on November 9.
Based on a concern for high rates of youth unemployment, the 2016 theme of “demonstrably improving the employment situation for young adults in Ottawa” was a perfect fit for LiveWorkPlay.
“With our summer employment and Employment Task Force initiatives we have achieved a measure of success and we are looking to New Leaf as a way to scale up that momentum,” says co-leader Julie Kingstone. “We know that youth with intellectual disabilities are not faring well in the labour market, so if we are able to demonstrate that our practices and partnerships are working to bring those employees together with employers for mutual benefit, and that we have what it takes to develop 100 or more of those relationships in a single year, we believe that’s a great case for supporting our proposal.”
To be included in the final three is an honour in itself, and those who took part in the previous editions in 2014 and 2015 often made important connections (including interest from funders) even if they were not selected to receive the $125,000 award.
“The process of working towards the final presentation has been a great opportunity to think about the difference we are making in our community, how to explain it to others who may not know LiveWorkPlay or the population we support, and what it would take to make a bigger impact in moving the needle on unemployment,” says co-leader Keenan Wellar. “We greatly respect the work of the other finalists and the qualifications of the jurists, so it’s about doing our best to represent our organization and the issues. We definitely want to highlight the power of our task force model as a means for engaging volunteers to sustain job leads and job development for the long term.”
Below are the summaries for each proposal:
Compucorps: CSS Ottawa (Compucorps Consulting & Services)
CCS Ottawa will take a targeted approach to building and developing a social enterprise collaborative within a trusted organization. CCS Ottawa will support 3 social entrepreneurs to create and support the delivery of paid IT services (computer upgrade services, training services and business services) to individuals, non-profits and small businesses in Ottawa by leveraging CompuCorps’ existing Microsoft licencing and Google advertising agreements. As owner/operators, these entrepreneurs will share in the revenue created, along with those employed to deliver the services. The initiative targets the creation of over 100 first-time career-oriented jobs for recent graduates and young IT immigrant professionals.
LiveWorkPlay: Pie in the Sky: how “unemployable” youth are meeting the needs of Ottawa’s employers
This initiative builds on LiveWorkPlay’s successful Employment Task Force (ETF) pilot project, bringing employees with intellectual disabilities and Ottawa employers together for mutual benefit. The ETF concept utilizes volunteer employment champions – mostly business owners and managers – to help LiveWorkPlay build relationships with new employment partners to generate additional hires. Despite the daunting unemployment rate of 75% facing this population, LiveWorkPlay will bring their proven expertise and capacity-building to create a series of expanded ETF volunteer networks, generating 100 jobs for youth with intellectual disabilities in just one year.
Social Planning Council: Partnering for Success in Youth Employment (PSYE)
PSYE is a collective impact initiative to improve labour market outcomes for 15-29-year-olds in Ottawa by creating clear career path development to economic opportunities for youth living in disadvantaged neighbourhoods, and maximizing economic opportunities that exist for youth by incubating/expanding new sustainable local economic opportunities. Founded on four years of youth-led research, the strategies and activities determined for this initiative are based on the best and most promising practices and innovations for what works to create significant and sustainable improvement in the areas of youth unemployment, under-employment and youth entrepreneurship.
Employee Jeremy Robin and employer Vaughn McKinney (pictured above) were two of the first public champions on behalf of the Employment Task Force concept that has been in development at LiveWorkPlay by Manager of Employer Partnerships Jen Soucy for more than three years.
“Being a part of the New Leaf Community Challenge is just another exciting part of this journey with the task force volunteers,” says Jen. “It’s amazing to think that we might have the opportunity to help match more than 100 youth with intellectual disabilities to local employers who will be able to enjoy the same benefits as the motivated business managers and owners who are a part of our current task force. We are already making plans to expand our employer volunteer base!”