Success Stories

Linking Youth to Opportunities Initiative

A recent initiative of Community Futures Parkland has been aimed at stemming the flow of young people from the region.

Parkland staff had been concerned that--as in numerous rural regions-- many of the local youth are choosing to either relocate to larger urban centers within Manitoba or leave the province altogether.

In some cases, the cause for out-migration may be a general lack of knowledge with regard to labour market opportunities for young people in their region and uncertainty as to how to access these opportunities.

With this in mind, Community Futures Parkland proposed to create a Parkland "Linking Youth to Opportunities" circuit that would help develop linkages between Parkland businesses and youth and ultimately provide young people with access to information about the Parkland labour market and it's opportunities.

Parkland Community Futures Development Corporation approached Human Resources Development Canada (HRDC) & Manitoba Advanced Education & Training (MAET) to partner with them in this project. A partnership was developed and all three organizations became sponsoring agencies. Representation came from not only these organizations but as well from Youth Service Canada and East Parkland Economic Development. The project goals were as follows:

  • To visit the 12 high schools and post-secondary institution(s) in the Parkland region and inform youth about opportunities in Manitoba's, specifically Parkland's labour market, economy and on local labour contacts
  • To inform youth about entrepreneurial assistance and career opportunities in Manitoba, specifically Parkland's area
  • To accomplish these goals the CF hired "motivational speaker" Jeremy Novak to partner with the Community Development Coordinator to speak about these issues in June 2002.

Having relocated from Vancouver to a rural region in Canada, the twenty-something Novak went against the trend of moving to urban centres, and is enjoying the lifestyle of the country setting.

Raised in Ladner BC, a suburb south of Vancouver, Novak grew up in a very urban setting. After graduating from High School he joined the Katimavik program, which enables youth to travel to three provinces throughout Canada to perform community development services in various communities. After completing that program, he chose to relocate to Gravelbourg, Saskatchewan and start the successful Renaissance Gaiety Theatre.

In the winter of 2002 he also worked as youth presenter for Skills Connect Saskatchewan for the Saskatchewan Labour Force Development Board before returning to Gravelbourg to start another small business venture.

To his audience of students and teachers, Novak spoke of his belief in Linking Youth With Opportunities, explaining that there are multiple opportunities in rural regions of Canada.

In fact, he believes passionately in the notion that rural regions are "Entrepreneurial Heavens" and he has proved it by becoming a successful young entrepreneur himself.

Out of 425 possible high school students, 404 students attended "Linking Youth with Opportunities" presentations. 404 evaluation surveys were submitted. 73 per cent of the participants rated the presentation as being average to very good.

Written comments from the students and teachers described Novak's presentation as "funny & interesting", "enthusiastic and positive" and "very motivational"

To further complement the presentations, Community Futures Parkland, along with Youth Service Canada, developed an informational package containing info on high-demand occupation in Manitoba, list of post-secondary in the province, various websites for career information, and data on the Parkland Career & Job Fair (coordinated by the Community Futures office).

Parkland has found this initiative to be an all-round positive experience; furthermore, the CF also believes that it could be looked at as a "pilot project" to assist the Province and it's sub-regions to encourage youth to stay or come back to Manitoba