Eva’s Employment and Training program provides youth with the skills and support to gain training, experience, and a stable income. The goal of the program is to enable young people to actualize their potential and lead productive, self-sufficient lives.

The Employment and Training program follows a strengths-focused, skills-based strategy. “Knowledge is power; the more knowledge youth get, the more confident they become,” explains Donna Lee Marshall, Employment Advisor and Facilitator in Eva’s Youth Succeeding in Employment Program (YSEP).

The program is youth-centred and built on transparency, honesty, and mutual respect. Donna Lee connects with each young person to build their confidence, helping them to cope with barriers along their path. “If people are constantly telling a young person who they are, they start to believe it. I tell them, ‘Don’t let anyone’s opinion of you become your reality,” (sourced from Les Brown, Motivational speaker) she says.

The importance of a growth mindset is especially important for youth navigating homelessness alongside the ongoing pandemic. During the pandemic, 50 per cent of young workers in Canada under the age of 30 experienced either reduced work hours or employment loss, or both.[1] In addition, 26 per cent of Canadian youth aged 18-20 and 19 per cent of Canadian youth aged 18-34 stopped or postponed their postsecondary studies because of the pandemic.[2]

These circumstances have impacted youth mental health and well-being. The wrap-around supports from other program areas are crucial to providing a comprehensive approach. Resources from Eva’s Family Reconnect program have included workshops and community supports to help youth build positive coping skills and strengthen their resiliency.

“Eva’s employment program is a stepping-stone,” says Donna Lee. “That next step might be an apartment, the job they want or going back to school.”

Youth in the program build meaningful and lasting connections with staff. Support and check-ins continue even after youth have made progress towards being self-sufficient. One alum shared these thoughts: “After securing my placement with an art organization, I continued to get support in every way while attending the program and especially while on placement… I was hired full-time at my placement to continue developing what I learned about myself during the program.”

Eva’s Employment and Training program has been a place of hope and optimism for many youth at Eva’s, especially during COVID-19.

[1] Environics Institute. (2021). Making up time: The impact of the pandemic on young adults in Canada. Retrieved from: report_making-up-time_the-impact-of-the-pandemic-on-young-adults_end292f4ad71b84173b1c6c4da5353acd8.pdf (environicsinstitute.org)

[2] Environics Institute. (2021). Making up time: The impact of the pandemic on young adults in Canada. Retrieved from: report_making-up-time_the-impact-of-the-pandemic-on-young-adults_end292f4ad71b84173b1c6c4da5353acd8.pdf (environicsinstitute.org)