Announcing $2 million Co-operators Community Fund supporting employability of marginalized youth in the wake of pandemic

Canada NewsWire

Pathways to Employability focuses on connecting youth to quality work

GUELPH, ON, Nov. 12, 2020 /CNW/ – The Co-operators is pleased to announce Pathways to Employability (P2E) a $2 million Co-operators Community Funds initiative dedicated to supporting the employability of marginalized Canadian youth who have lost jobs or educational opportunities due to COVID-19 shutdowns. 

“We know that young Canadians have been significantly impacted by COVID-related job losses and educational disruption, primarily due to impacts of the economic shutdown of schools and many of the sectors that primarily employ youth. Marginalized youth have been especially hard hit and some face additional challenges to employability that make them particularly vulnerable to these unprecedented unemployment levels,” explains Rob Wesseling, President and CEO, The Co-operators. “The goal of The Co-operators Pathways to Employability Initiative is to create a brighter, more sustainable future for youth and small businesses by taking an innovative approach to developing solutions to respond to the urgent unmet needs created by the pandemic.”

In the early months of COVID-19 shutdowns, 43% of working Canadian youth lost their jobs or had work hours reduced, according to an April 2020 Statistics Canada Labour Force Survey. Our new P2E initiative will connect these youth to quality opportunities with small businesses looking to hire, train and retain youth, including co-operatives, non-profits and social enterprises. 

The pandemic had a dire impact on opportunities for youth in our communities and put a strain on the capabilities of small businesses. P2E is committed to connecting these employers to marginalized Canadian youth who will receive life skills, employment and psychosocial supports along their path to employability. 

Through the P2E initiative, The Co-operators is proud to be a founding partner of the Canadian Council for Youth Prosperity’s (CCYP) #ImpactCOVID: Road to Recovery Project; a two-phase, youth-led employability program. Youth will co-design a pandemic economic recovery plan with small businesses and then evaluate the plan through employment and participation in community programs across Canada. #ImpactCOVID will help marginalized youth move into higher quality, sustainable, and secure jobs, and gain valuable and impactful work experience with small businesses, including co–ops, non-profits and social enterprises. In return, these organizations will build capacity to hire, train and retain youth.

“Collaborative partnerships have been critical for us in order to design rapid-response approaches to youth workforce development during this current economic crisis,” says Gladys Ahovi, Executive Lead, Canadian Council for Youth Prosperity. “Our commitment to co-creating opportunities for youth and collaborating with sectors across the country closely mirrors the co-operative mindset of resilience and community well-being.”

The Co-operators endorses all 17 of the United Nation Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and have aligned our 2030 Enterprise Long-term Goals to nine SDGs on which we have the greatest expertise and can make the most meaningful impact. In this way, we’re linked with a collective global effort to protect the environmental, social and financial well-being of current and future generations. The P2E Initiative aligns to UN SDG #8 Decent work and economic growth.

The Co-operators Community Funds assists organizations focused on supporting marginalized youth and individuals with mental health challenges gain employability skills to become more self-reliant. In 2019, a total of $582,250 was granted through the funds to 28 organizations focused on supporting marginalized individuals on their path toward employability.

For more information on Co-operators Community Funds: Pathways to Employability (P2E) Initiative and the impact made through partnerships, please visit us here.

About The Co-operators:

The Co-operators Group Limited is a Canadian co-operative with more than $53.3 billion in assets under administration. Through its group of companies, it offers home, auto, life, group, travel, commercial and farm insurance, as well as investment products. The Co-operators is well known for its community involvement and its commitment to sustainability. The Co-operators is ranked as a Corporate Knights’ Best 50 Corporate Citizen in Canada and listed among the Best Employers in Canada by Kincentric (formerly AON). For more information, visit

SOURCE The Co-operators Group Limited