Career Trek’s Fund Development Officer, Meghan Laube, accepted the National Youth Employment Innovation Award for Career Trek at a special luncheon on October 3 in Collingwood, Ontario.
Meghan’s light blue eyes sparkle with excitement as she attributes the grad-prize win to Career Trek’s proactive career development approach, noting that Career Trek must be on the right track.
“I think one of the biggest differences for us is how early we start to engage young people in the conversation. Not a lot of people do that,” says Meghan. The depth and breadth of what participants in Career Trek see is unmatched anywhere else.”
As grand-prize winner of the innovation award, Career Trek received a complementary ticket to the weekend-long conference on workforce engagement and a spot on the innovation award winners panel with the three runners up.
Many of the people that Meghan spoke with at the award luncheon work in what she calls reactionary programming, on the retention and rehabilitation side of youth employment.
“Many people approached me following the discussion and were really refreshed by our proactive approach and commented on how positive the approach is,” says Meghan.
The Innovation Award is a national contest open to applicants from Canadian Community based organizations. Handed out annually by the National Youth Employment Coalition and First Work, the award recognizes innovative programs and projects that lead to youth employment and career success.
“We were overwhelmed by the number and quality of submission [sic] and with the successes achieved by these projects and programs,” says Michelle Haddad, Senior Events and Programs Coordinator at First Work. “It was truly a challenge selecting the contest grand prize and runner-up winners for this year.”
According to Haddad, the contest judges were impressed with the fact that Career Trek’s programming focuses on hands-on learning, employment skills, and bridge building. They were also impressed with Career Trek’s extensive network of partnerships and how it engages youth starting at age 10 and then follows them through into post-secondary studies.
“The amount that our participants get to see and do really showcases all of their options and that is something we really do a lot differently than other places,” says Darrell Cole, Founder and CEO or Career Trek. “And we were recognized for that.”
According to Meghan, a lot of questions about how to better serve youth are currently being asked by organizations and governments across the globe. Many countries are struggling with high or record high levels of unemployment, especially youth unemployment, there are a lot of questions about work readiness, about youth leaving high school and post-secondary and being ready to work. There is a lot of confusion about what the best strategy is and she feels like Career Trek is on the right track.