15. Why Don’t You Just Get a Job? Homeless Youth, Social Exclusion and Employment Training

In this chapter, we ask a key question: What is the role of employment training programs in helping young people move off the streets? More and more communities struggle with how to enhance the employability of homeless youth, often knowing that traditional employment training programs and supports have not always successfully engaged the most marginal of youth populations.

Our understanding of youth homelessness and employment is drawn from what we have learned from three major research studies, as well as other research on street youth and. It is our contention that if employment really does have the potential to help end youth homelessness, then we really need to understand what factors enhance the success of such efforts. We argue that this challenge begins with a clearer understanding of the factors in lives of street youth that make it so difficult to obtain and maintain work. Drawing on what has been learned from innovative programming in Canada, we conclude by presenting a clear and robust framework for developing effective employment and training supports for homeless youth. Here we outline key components that should be considered when developing programs and focus on social inclusion rather than the exclusionary factors that limit the prospects for street youth.

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Gaetz, Stephen
O’Grady, Bill
Buccieri, Kristy
Karabanow, Jeff
Marsolais, Allyson
Publication Date: 
Canadian Observatory On Homelessness