Youth Engagement and Retention
Youth retention and engagement is an important issue in Saugeen Shores.
It is no secret that there are not enough workers to maintain our booming economy. Businesses everywhere can’t hire enough staff. As a result businesses are turning away customers, limiting hours, and even closing dining rooms.
I am a “boomer”, born in the very peak of the baby boom. Most everyone in that peak will be retired in 5 years, many of us are already. There are not enough workers to replace us. In this very competitive labour market, youth retention is an excellent and necessary strategy for Saugeen Shores.
We are experiencing “youth out migration”. Young people aren’t staying in Saugeen Shores. There are many reasons young people leave. As with some of my children, they go for University, and settle in the city where there is more opportunity. Young people leave because they can’t find places to live, or they can’t afford to live here. I talk about that in my Affordable housing platform.
Another reason that they leave is that they are not aware of the good jobs that are available here in Saugeen Shores. As with all issues, there are steps that can be taken to improve the situation. Here are my solutions.
Promoting careers in Saugeen Shores to our youth.
Employers are offering competitive wages, benefits, training, and more. We could get the message out by holding annual “career fairs” geared toward Secondary Students and youth under 25. This is an easy step, we could hold them every spring.
Make connections to our local colleges.
In the Grey Bruce area we are lucky to have Georgian College with its expanding courses and expertise. Fanshawe College has a branch campus in Kincardine / Tiverton. We need to promote these valuable resources more effectively.
Address the under employed.
Most people today have more than one career. Some people take a “starter job” and get stuck in it. People outgrow their job as their families grow. We need to reach out to those people and guide them into re-training, upgrading, and pre-apprenticeship training that is available through the colleges.
Engage and guide our youth.
Students in High School choose classes to take, but what happens if you need some further guidance, advice, or training after high school? You want to try something out before you sign up for college or training? Maybe you need more technical courses? There are courses that you realize that you should have tried? Or maybe some were like me; I just wasn’t listening much in high school, I was more concerned with having fun.
We need to fill that gap, we need to meet that need. As always, we don’t have to re-invent the wheel. Hanover, Ontario has a first class facility called “Launch Pad”. Google it and you will be amazed at what they do.
We need a “Launch Pad” style youth centre in Saugeen Shores.
There is a dedicated group of local citizens working right now to create a youth training and engagement centre in Saugeen Shores. If entrusted to be your Councillor, I am dedicated to working with and helping this group in any way possible. The Town needs to support this initiative and rally around these volunteers. This would be such an asset to our town. We are lucky to have so many concerned and caring folks in Saugeen Shores.
I believe the old proverb that “it takes a village to raise a child”.
Some smart and strategic effort and programing can engage and retain our youth. As a teacher and as a carpenter that has apprenticed youth, I am the ideal candidate to deal with this issue.