Every day, passionate young people from across the country reach out to me about issues that matter. Young Canadians are concerned about our environment, the economy, and job creation. I take my responsibility as a Member of Parliament to listen and engage with youth on these issues very seriously. Including young people at the table for these discussions is critical to the success of our community and Canada.
This past November, I created the Ottawa Centre Youth Jobs Council as one way to stay connected with young people in the riding. The Youth Jobs Council works to create an action plan for youth job creation, foster youth entrepreneurship, and encourage employers to hire students and recent graduates.
In 2012, the youth unemployment rate in Ottawa was over two times that of workers aged 25-54. On February 28th, with the help of the Youth Jobs Council, I had the opportunity to listen to young people at a town hall on youth unemployment and underemployment. I heard about the barriers young people face in entering the workplace, the skills they need, and the types of employment they are hoping to gain. Following the town hall, members of the Shopify team led a coding workshop, allowing participants to learn this highly demanded skill.
Holding town halls like this one to gather real input from youth will help create real, lasting change for youth employment here in Ottawa Centre. Over the coming months, I look forward to more opportunities to bring youth and business leaders together from across our city in support of youth job creation.