In December 2014, The Home Depot Canada Foundation convened a group of youth, youth-serving organizations and businesses to discuss unemployment among youth experiencing homelessness. The purpose was to identify the barriers that homeless youth face in seeking employment, the role of business, and the role employment can play in ending youth homelessness.
Our goal was not to duplicate the research that has been done in this area, namely a report in 2012 by Raising the Roof. Rather, it was to provide a venue for those close to the issue to learn with and from one another.
During the Symposium – a 90-minute discussion over breakfast – youth shared their experiences and opinions. This allowed human resource professionals and hiring managers to better understand the strengths that youth can bring to a workplace and the barriers they face in doing so. It was also an opportunity for youth-serving organizations to meet businesses willing to take risks. It was, in short, a step toward building a common understanding of a complex issue.
This paper shares a few of the things we learned and outlines how we – along with our partners – will seek to reduce the barriers to employment as part of our commitment to end youth homelessness.