4 Funding Opportunities to Train the Young Workforce


With the growing demand for labor, Canadian companies are looking for qualified workers. There is a growing demand for grants to hire skilled labor. Canada is conscious of this and has set up several grant programs to help organizations find workers and connect young people to the right organizations so they can gain experience in their field of study.

Whether it’s training for old or new employees, workforce development has many benefits. It helps support career development and employee success, productivity, and retention. Workforce development also allows organizations to scale, prosper, and leverage a skilled workforce.

Below are four funding opportunities available in 2024 that support these efforts –

Youth Employment and Skills Strategy 

One of the grant programs developed by the Canadian government is the Youth Employment and Skills Strategy (YESS). This program honors the Government of Canada’s commitment to helping young people, particularly those facing barriers to employment, get the information and gain the competencies (both hard and soft skills) and work experience that they need to make a successful transition into the labor market. The YESS program is a horizontal initiative involving eleven federal departments and agencies.

The Youth Employment and Skills Strategy (YESS) program provides funding to organizations to produce a range of activities that help youth overcome barriers to employment and develop a broad range of skills and knowledge in order to participate in the current and future labor market. Support will be customized to the needs of youth facing barriers to employment. Several programs are linked to this strategy.

Canada Summer Jobs 

One of the most known programs linked to the Youth Employment and Skills Strategy is the Canada Summer Jobs program.

The Canada Summer Jobs program provides not-for-profit, public, and private sector employers with wage subsidies to create quality summer work experiences for young people aged 15 to 30. Public and private sector employers can receive up to 50% of the employee hourly rate and not-for-profit organizations can receive up to 100% of the minimum wage plus Mandatory Employment Related Costs (MERCs).

Those organizations must have 50 or fewer full-time employees. The position must be full-time (30 to 40 hours per week) and span for 6 to 16 weeks. Employers must ensure they hire a priority student, provide a salary above the minimum wage, and address local and national priorities.

Science Horizons 

Another program linked to the Youth Employment and Skills Strategy is the Science Horizons Youth Internship Program. The Science Horizons Youth Internship Program helps
organizations hire university, college and polytechnic graduates for internships in the environmental science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. This program has been in place for over 20 years and provides wage subsidies up to $25,000. Internships must be between 6 to 12 months and must provide hands-on experience working on environmental projects.

This program is delivered by several delivery agents including: (1) BioTalent Canada; (2) Clean Foundation; (3) Colleges and Institutes Canada; (4) ECO Canada; (5) Electricity Human Resources Canada; and (6) United Nations Association in Canada (UNAC).

First Nations and Inuit Summer Work Experience 

The First Nations and Inuit Summer Work Experience Program also falls under the Youth Employment and Skills Strategy umbrella. This program provides youth with summer employment opportunities where they can gain work experience and build important skills such as communication, problem-solving, and teamwork.

Proposals should support work experience opportunities for First Nations and Inuit secondary and post-secondary students between May 1 and the beginning of the student’s fall academic term. Proposals must provide summer employment for First Nations and Inuit secondary and post-secondary students aged 15 to 30 who ordinarily reside on reserve, in recognized communities or on community lands.


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