A new youth community partnership program was announced by the BC government Monday.
The $5 million program aims to get youth involved in community service projects to “build back better” from the impact of COVID-19, according to BC Advanced Education Minister Melanie Mark.
“We recognize that COVID-19 continues to dramatically impact young people’s prospects for work,” said Mark. “Now more than ever, young people are looking for ways to support themselves while giving back to their communities.”
The province said that communities around BC can apply to fund a community-service project of their choosing — like trail building, beach clean-up or invasive species removal, upgrading local parks, or working for a local charity.
In turn, they provide skills and work experience to young people who are unemployed and 15-29 years of age. The idea is that these young participants benefit by applying the work-related skills and experience they gain toward their education, employment, or future careers.
“Engaging in safe, physically distanced local projects is an incredible opportunity for young people to acquire new skills, earn money, and contribute to building back an even better BC,” said Mark.
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Local governments, non-profit community and environmental organizations, employer associations, chambers of commerce and Indigenous communities are encouraged to apply.
Applicants can receive grants of up to $10,000 per youth for projects running up to 16 weeks. The youth then receive a training stipend of up to $2,000 per four-week period (to a maximum of $8,000) for work between June and October 31.
Participants can also receive wraparound supports like bus passes, child are, work boots and personal protective equipment for the work, which will incorporate physical distancing and include no more than 10 youth per project.