Horizontal evaluation of the Youth Employment Strategy - Career Focus stream - Summary

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Evaluation of the Youth Employment Strategy – Career Focus stream [PDF - 174 KB]

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About the program

The former Horizontal Youth Employment Strategy consisted of 3 program streams: Summer Work Experience, Skills Link and Career Focus. A new and modernized Horizontal Youth Employment and Skills Strategy that came into effect in June 2019 merged these 3 streams.

Career Focus targeted youth between the ages of 15 and 30 who were completing or had completed their post-secondary education. Career Focus funded local and regional organizations from various sectors to provide youth with work experiences. These work experiences helped youth to gain employment experience and skills related to their field of study or career goal.

In 2017 and 2018:

  • approximately 6,300 youth participated
  • the government provided $93M in funding to organizations.

Main findings

  • Immediately after completing a Career Focus initiative, a larger share of participants still worked, compared to those who returned to school
  • Through Career Focus, youth enjoyed a positive and lasting impact on their labour market attachment. On average, participants earned $5,535 more per year than non-participants
  • Over a 10-year period, Career Focus yielded a positive return on investment for individuals and society as a whole


  • Youth interventions like a wage-subsidy can facilitate post-secondary graduates' entry into the labour market and foster positive long-term impacts
  • Youth targeted by Career Focus typically faced less barriers to employment relative to youth targeted by Skills Link

The full Evaluation of the Youth Employment Strategy – Career Focus stream is available at Career Focus Stream.

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