Ontario Empowering More Black Youth and Young Professionals
Provincial investment helping the next generation of Black leaders develop skills for in-demand careers
February 12, 2024
TORONTO — The Ontario government is investing an additional $16.5 million in the Black Youth Action Plan (BYAP) to continue supporting more than 20 community-based and culturally focused organizations with a proven track record of empowering Black children and families. The funding, through the BYAP’s Economic Empowerment stream, will help Black youth and young professionals develop skills to help launch their careers in high-demand sectors such as the skilled trades, information technology, automotive, health, film and the arts.
“We have seen the difference community organizations make in helping Black youth and young professionals find meaningful employment, develop critical skills and unlock a brighter future for themselves and their communities,” said Michael Ford, Minister of Citizenship and Multiculturalism. “Today’s investment is part of our government’s ongoing work to empower communities, and build a stronger, more inclusive workforce where everyone can succeed.”
Building on the more than 5,000 Black youth and young professionals helped through the Economic Empowerment stream since 2020, this investment will enhance support for community and black-led organizations across Ontario that are delivering impactful programs empowering the next generation of Black leaders.
To date, the Black Youth Action Plan’s Economic Empowerment stream has supported programs in a variety of fields. Examples include:
- Accelerate Auto, a Mississauga based not-for-profit that has helped create a more diverse workforce in Ontario’s automotive sector by advancing career and networking opportunities for Black youth and young professionals.
- Delta Family Resource Centre, a West Toronto organization providing youth, aged 17 to 30, with skills training in the information technology sector, along with work-relevant education, business linkages and culturally relevant supports.
- Durham Region Association of Black Professionals and Entrepreneurs, provides mentorship and career guidance to Black youth in Durham with a focus on STEM and entrepreneurship. Program participants are provided with the resources to further their education at the post-secondary level or pursue work opportunities by making them job ready with the hard and soft skills needed in the workplace.
Since 2020, Ontario has invested $91 million through the Black Youth Action Plan and its economic empowerment stream. The BYAP also supports culturally focused parenting and mentorship programs, wellness with preventative measures, community outreach and collaboration and more. Since 2018, over 70 community-based and culturally-focused BYAP partners have supported better outcomes for over 60,000 Black children, youth and families in Ontario.
Ontario continues to work towards eliminating systemic, race-based disparities through the BYAP. This investment will provide community organizations and Black-led businesses with the resources needed to continue providing services to children, youth, and families throughout various cradle to career life stages, and will increase social and economic opportunities for Black children, youth and families across the province.
- The Black Youth Action Plan’s Economic Empowerment stream supports programs such as Career Launch, Career Advance and Sector Innovation Network.
- This funding will also continue to support Black Youth Action Program initiatives including: Students and Family Advocates; Innovative Supports for Black Parents; and Industry Led Career Initiatives.
“The mission of Accelerate Auto is to drive change and eliminate barriers so the next generations of Black talent in Ontario are better positioned to pursue successful careers in Canada’s auto industry. The support from Ontario’s Black Youth Action Plan’s Economic Empowerment Stream helped us do just that. We were able to launch sustainable and scalable programming such as a Mentorship Program with industry leaders, forge connections with industry allies and educators, as well as develop online platforms and programs that connect employers and job seekers from underserved communities. We are grateful for this funding that will help drive the social change and economic impact it was designed to do for a vital industry in Ontario’s economy.”
– Christopher Nabeta
Executive Chair, Founding Member, Accelerate Auto
“We know that building a more just and inclusive province starts with investing in the next generation of Black leaders and professionals. Expanding the economic empowerment stream of the Black Youth Action Plan will help community partners ensure that more Black youth and young professionals can access the tools they need to build their careers, strengthen their communities, and achieve financial success.”
– Hon. Charmaine Williams
Associate Minister, Women’s Social and Economic Opportunity
“This investment underscores the province’s commitment to empowering the next generation of Black leaders with the necessary skills and opportunities to flourish. By consistently backing innovative programs across different sectors, our government is striving towards a future where Black youth can reach their full potential.”
– Patrice Barnes
MPP for Ajax
“Delta Family’s AWA program, funded by the Ministry of Citizenship and Multiculturalism’s Black Youth Action Plan’s Career Advancement stream, is the fruition of a vision. A vision that saw the creation of a space where Black youth can explore their dreams while getting tangible wrap-around support as they grow and nurture their seed ideas. The Business Incubator (which opened in January 2024) provides programs, workshops, mentors and tools to help manifest their dreams. AWA opens the door to new opportunities for Black youth – from career options in the IT sector, through enhancing their emotional intelligence, starting a business, to getting mentors and being welcomed into a nurturing affirming place which stimulates growth and development. It’s a win for Black youth, for our partners, for the community and for Delta Family.”
– Kemi Jacobs
Executive Director, Delta Family Resource Centre