Growing PEI’s hospitality workforce

News release

New training centre will offer food service skills development for at-risk youth


June 30, 2022 · Summerside, Prince Edward Island · Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA)

Businesses in the food services industry continue to seek skilled workers to deliver high quality hospitality products and services. A Prince Edward Island community organization is working to expand the local labour market while offering opportunities to at-risk youth through a new training program.

A skilled workforce is critical to building a strong, resilient future for all Atlantic Canadians. The Government of Canada has partnered with the Government of PEI for a total investment of $297,717 to help Connection 2 Employment ensure youth are able to play an active role in growing a prosperous and more inclusive economy.

A program that benefits businesses and youth entering the workforce

On June 17, Bobby Morrissey, Member of Parliament for Egmont, announced a non-repayable contribution of $149,449 through Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency’s (ACOA) Business Development Program (BDP) to help Connection 2 Employment PEI establish a food services social enterprise for at-risk youth. The announcement was made on behalf of the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Official Languages and Minister responsible for ACOA. The Government of PEI also provided a grant of $148,268 toward the project.

This funding will help Connection 2 Employment PEI develop a hospitality training program at the Holland College campus in Summerside. The new initiative will offer skills development for at-risk youth in a supportive environment. Participants will receive practical on-the-job experience and the local food services industry is expected to see a significant increase in the number of skilled workers in the labour force. This project will help train over 70 participants in the first year and is expected to grow the following year.

The Government of Canada is making investments that help organizations find innovative solutions to today’s workforce challenges, while also ensuring all Canadians have the chance to participate fully in the economy.


“Collaborative and innovative approaches to addressing challenges in the labour market are essential to building a more resilient economy in Atlantic Canada. That is why we are supporting inclusive skills development and building upon a shared vision that recognizes the evolving needs of both businesses and workers.”

- The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Official Languages and Minister responsible 

“Connection 2 Employment PEI has a strong reputation for creating opportunities for all in the East Prince community. This program will propel many young people into successful careers in our hospitality industry. I am pleased to see this organization spearhead this important initiative, which may serve as a model for future skills development programs across other industries. Our Island economy thrives when we support our communities and sectors that are most in need.”

-  Bobby Morrissey, Member of Parliament for Egmont

"Providing young people with employment opportunities where they can gain meaningful on-the-job experience and expand their social skills is exactly what will help us build a strong and vibrant workforce. The Connection 2 Employment PEI Training Centre is an innovative solution put forward by the East Prince Youth Development Centre that will help address the realities of our current labour market needs. These types of solutions are obvious investments that make sense for the Province, and we are proud to be a partner with EPYDC."

- The Honourable Jamie Fox, Minister of Fisheries and Communities

Quick facts

  • Connection 2 Employment is a charitable organization founded in 1994 that provides career services to youth in the East Prince community.

  • The Province of PEI is providing a grant of $148,268

Associated links


Marianne Blondin
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Official Languages and of the
Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Mike Critchley 
Senior Communications Advisor 
Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Vicki Tse
Department of Fisheries and Communities
Bilingual Senior Communications Officer

Connection 2 Employment PEI
Barb Broome, Executive Director

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