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Canada / Youth Unemployment : hundreds of programs but do they deliver value for money?

Ottawa, the provinces, municipalities and non-profit agencies offer hundreds of youth employment programs. They include internships, training allowances, tax credits for apprenticeships and career development for marginalized groups. The question is not so much, do we need more programs but, rather, are they effective? Do they deliver value for money?

This problem is not unique to Canada. In London, England, Project Oracle is devoted to just such probing questions. The initiative comes after the blunt assessment of a select committee: “We find that many services are unable or unwilling to measure the improvements they make in the outcomes for young people.”

Here in Canada, in 2008, the United Way of Toronto published a comprehensive study entitled “Youth Policy: What Works and What Doesn’t.” In a nutshell, it found that youth services go begging for money year to year. This hamstrings their long-term planning. They also struggle to evaluate whether they are doing their job.

Evaluation is a must. Feel-good testimonials from former clients warm the heart, but they are by their nature selective. They say little about a program’s overall effectiveness. The questions we need to ask of youth policy are: what difference is it making? how do we know?

Choosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor from

The Star

via Atkinson series: Young job seekers thwarted by lack of a national strategy – thestar.com.

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