Modernizing the Science Horizons Youth Internship Program

Summary of a strategic assessment of effects on the environment of modernizing the Youth Employment and Skills Strategy.

The Science Horizons Youth Internship Program (Science Horizons), funded under the Youth Employment and Skills Strategy (YESS), provides help to businesses to hire recent college and university graduates in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) disciplines in environmental fields by offering funding for some of the interns salary. Overall, this proposal will benefit the environmental sector by increasing the supply of trained and experienced environmental professionals.

The internships should lead to an increase in the number of young graduates working in the environmental field. These employment opportunities will likely benefit the environment, including reducing greenhouse gas production, and by having more workers protecting and conserving the natural environment and endangered species.

Over the next 5 years, the YESS will be updated, to address the priority of supporting youth facing barriers to employment. These include youth living in rural and remote communities, Indigenous, LGBTQ2S+, youth from families with low income, and young women. In order to better integrate these youth into the labour market, the YESS will now allow for additional supports to be provided to youth facing barriers. These additional supports may include but are not limited to, subsidies for transportation and training.

The expanded Science Horizons program is intended to have important positive environmental outcomes. The YESS supports the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy (FSDS) goals and the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). The program supports the FSDS goal of Clean growth by giving youth the opportunity to gain skills in working in the environmental sector and green economy and potentially develop careers that support a transition to a green and low-carbon economy. It will also directly contribute to the UN SDG 8 Decent and economic growth by promoting sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.

Impacts on human health and the economy are anticipated to be positive as employers, including small and medium businesses, will receive support to hire young graduates and youth. This will give young graduates and youth the opportunity to benefit from good-paying jobs that will develop skills for them to have successful careers, which indirectly improves human health and society. Furthermore, the modernized strategy’s renewed focus on youth facing barriers will further help youth who may have traditionally struggled to integrate into the labour market.

In addition, Canadians will experience improved human health and a greener economy as many of the projects that these young graduates are expected to work on will improve local water quality, ecosystems, and community infrastructure (i.e. green infrastructure).

The overall impact on the economy is expected to be positive as there will be an increase in jobs in the green economy and infrastructure. Increased employment of STEM graduates will support innovation in environmental careers. Good-paying jobs will lead to sustainable economic growth as innovation in these fields advance the capacity and impact of environmental careers.

Follow-up and monitoring of the environmental effects of the program will be conducted as part of the Department’s oversight role with the third party delivery agents for the program. Follow-up will occur annually through the delivery agents’ annual reports. A program evaluation will be conducted for Science Horizons as part of the Summative Evaluation of the Horizontal Youth Employment and Skills Strategy in 2020.

Each specific project that hires an intern is required to report on the results of their project at the end of the project, which are 6 to 12 months in length. Reporting on environmental impacts and performance targets are required to be included in these reports. These results will be reflected and followed-up through the program’s annual reporting requirements, which include reporting on the effects of the program on the FSDS goals and targets.

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