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Career Navigator™ Funding Stream

  1. Context
  2. What is UWGT’s Youth Success Strategy?
  3. Career Navigator™ Overview
  4. Eligibility
  5. Scope of Community Partner Role
  6. Community Partner Deliverables
  7. Amount Available
  8. Use of Funds
  9. Program Selection Process
  10. Program Selection Criteria
  11. Summary of Dates
  12. Information Sessions & Office Hours
  13. Appeals
  14. Appendix: YSS Expected Outcomes & Indicators

1. Context

With a recovering economy, greater competition and the breakdown of traditional paths to work, today’s job market is difficult. Youth in particular are facing a quickly-changing landscape where they need personal assets and skills to succeed — the right combination of education and credentials, work-relevant networks and employer-recognized soft skills.

In addition to heightened anxiety regarding the future, many youth — over 17% of the almost 1.1 million across our region, according to 2016 Census data — face multiple barriers to achieving career success, with that figure reaching an alarming 22.6% in Toronto alone.

Racialized, newcomer and Indigenous youth; youth with disabilities; youth in or leaving care; LGBTQ youth; youth in conflict with the law; youth from low-income families: all these young people can benefit from targeted support and opportunities to build in-demand skills and competencies, find meaningful employment and successfully transition into adulthood.

2. What is UWGT’s Youth Success Strategy?

The Youth Success Strategy (YSS) is a significant evolution from a broad investment in youth to an evidence-based strategy to support young people to develop the skills necessary for meaningful employment.

United Way works to enhance the employability, lifelong earning potential and economic security of youth facing multiple barriers (YFMB) by providing better access, opportunities and connections. We address systemic challenges, through research and analysis that improves understanding of the issues and identifies promising practices that inform our partnerships, advocacy efforts and policy recommendations. We collaborate with agencies, employers, in-demand post-secondary programs, foundations and government partners to coordinate and leverage resources and align them with labour needs. And, we invest in innovative programs and signature initiatives that are grounded in the core principle of youth engagement, ultimately strengthening the youth employment sector’s capacity to deliver on its mission.

To reach our goal we have identified three interdependent outcomes for the Youth Success Strategy:

  1. Increase access to post-secondary education (PSE) among specific groups of youth facing multiple barriers
  2. Develop access to work-relevant networks for youth facing multiple barriers
  3. Increase access to experiences that build employer-recognized soft skills for youth facing multiple barriers

See Appendix for information on program alignment to YSS Outcomes.

3. Career Navigator™ Overview

Career Navigator provides youth facing multiple barriers (YFMB) with access to interconnected education, training, job placement, soft skills and wrap-around support services. Through partnership with agencies and employers, United Way’s Career Navigator is helping youth gain industry-recognized credentials needed for in-demand employment opportunities in five sectors: retail, hospitality, construction, IT, and health and social services.

Career Navigator Components

There are a number of common elements that define a career pathways approach. From our extensive research, we selected ten best practices that form the bedrock of the Career Navigator model and on which all our programs will be built:

  1. A clearly defined target group: Career Navigator will target young people who face significant barriers to employment and training.

  2. Employer(s) with in-demand job opportunities: Career Navigator will bring to the table employers, or groups of employers, that have opportunities in high-demand fields. Employer involvement is essential in helping us in program and curriculum design, and in providing internships and employment opportunities.

  3. Industry-recognized credentials: Career Navigator pathways will include industry-recognized credentials in high-demand fields, increasing young people’s chances of employment when they exit the program.

  4. Intake and assessment: Career Navigator will provide thorough assessments of what youth will need both when they enter the program and at various times throughout. Assessment can include everything from identifying academic and life skills gaps to personal and family issues. We will ensure that participants have the support they need to successfully complete their training.

  5. Academic bridging: Career Navigator will offer support that prepares low-skilled participants to be successful in future training or academic coursework. This could include literacy training, writing and communication skills or academic upgrading.

  6. Strategies for development of soft skills: Career Navigator will include strategies to develop the soft skills of participants. For example, this could include the development of communication and teamwork skills necessary to be successful in the workplace, but not necessarily taught in traditional academic or training courses.

  7. “Stackable” academic credits or credentials: Career Navigator pathways will offer a series of sequential credits or credentials that on their own are tied to specific employment opportunities but, that in combination, provide higher credentials for higher quality jobs. For example, participants can leave the program and find a job after obtaining one credential, but can choose to return to the program at a later date and build on their credential with education and training to access a higher quality job.

  8. Wrap-around community supports: A key element of Career Navigator will be wrap-around community supports. This can include financial aid, housing, childcare, counseling or anything a young person will need to support them in successfully completing the program.

  9. Monitoring and evaluation: In each Career Navigator pathway, we will strive for continuous improvement. To support this intention, we will have strong measurement and evaluation frameworks in place. Not only will this help with efficient operations but allow us to remain dynamic and responsive to the needs of the youth participants.

  10. Active coordination and collaboration between partners: To ensure the successful coordination and collaboration of all the relevant partners, United Way will act as the lead convener and coordinator in all Career Navigator programs.

4. Eligibility

We invite all social service organizations with charitable status, as well as those that are incorporated non-profits trusteed by a charity to apply for Career Navigator funding. Service delivery organizations must be located in either Peel, Toronto or York Region and must provide services in these areas. We do not fund individuals.

For this round of Career Navigator funding, United Way will give special consideration to programs that focus on youth with disabilities, and programs that focus on youth involved in the criminal justice system.

To be eligible for Career Navigator funding, your organization must:

  • Be a registered charitable organization OR
  • Be an incorporated non-profit organization, trusteed by a registered charity.
  • Provide services to people living in, or at risk of, poverty.
  • Provide structured employment services for youth in either Peel, Toronto or York Region.
  • Have audited financial statements for at least 2 years (fiscal 2016 and 2017 years). In the case of trusteed applicants, the trustee must have audited financial statements for at least 2 years in addition to the applicant’s financial records.

UWGT will not fund the following ineligible1 organizations:

  • For-profit organizations
  • Organizations that do not have charitable status and do not have a qualified trustee
  • Government, government agencies, boards and/or commissions
  • Hospitals and long-term-care facilities2
  • Universities, colleges and school boards
  • Organizations located outside Peel, Toronto or York Region
  • Organizations whose purpose is solely related to political activity, as defined by the Canada Revenue Agency
  • Organizations without a clear demarcation between religious and community service as evidenced in the organization’s by-laws
  • Organizations that could be deemed discriminatory, as defined by the Ontario Human Rights Code
  • Foundations
  • Unions
  • Professional Associations

UWGT will not support the following ineligible programs/activities:

  • Services mandated by the Child and Family Services Act, (R.S.O. 1990, c. 11)
  • Residential facilities that are licensed and regulated under the Child and Family Services Act and funded by Ministry of Children and Youth Services or Ministry of Community and Social Services
  • Residential facilities that are funded or managed by Corrections Canada
  • Programs that do not have a primary focus on youth employability (e.g., environmental, arts or athletic programs)
  • Programs that align better with or are currently funded through UWGT’s Building Strong Neighbourhoods Strategy (BSNS) and Community Services Sector (CSS) program funding

5. Scope of Community Partner Role

Eligible community partners must currently provide structured employment services to youth facing multiple barriers (YFMB).

Agencies must have the capacity to:

  • Provide access to training space
  • Lead and implement the outreach, intake and assessment of youth participants
  • Deliver industry-recognized technical training and soft skills training
  • Provide wrap-around supports and pre-employment skills training to all participants (in-house mental health supports is a plus)
  • Develop internships and job opportunities for all program participants
  • Deliver on-the-job support for interviews, work experience opportunities, and ongoing post program retention supports to all program participants
  • Collect and share data required for monitoring and evaluation

6. Community Partner Deliverables

Agencies will be expected to:

  • Provide outreach, intake and assessment in consultation (if applicable) with the educational institution and/or employer partners;
  • Provide employer-recognized technical skills training
  • Provide wrap-around supports and employer-recognized essential skills training to participants
  • Secure placement/job opportunities for all program participants

7. Amount Available

There is no cap on the funding request for this program. We acknowledge that costs will vary according to the length of the intervention, chosen economic sector (due to training costs) and depending of the number of youth served and the barriers that they are facing.

8. Use of Funds

The funds can be used for the following:

  • Staff Salary and Benefits
  • Program Delivery Costs
  • Administrative Costs

9. Program Selection Process

Career Navigator funding applications will be administered through United Way’s online funding system, Grants Online (GO). Agencies will be expected to submit an organizational health assessment and an eligibility criteria self-assessment as part of the complete funding application.

UWGT staff and community-based volunteers (including youth) will review and shortlist applications. A Management Advisory Group (MAG) consisting of community-based volunteers will further review the shortlist and makes recommendations to senior UWGT management staff for final approval.

10. Program Selection Criteria

Applications will be shortlisted and referred to senior management for final decision based on:

  • Proven organizational health
  • Demonstration of existing employment programs that are employers’ driven and able to equip and support youth facing multiple barriers in their transition to the labor market
  • Evidence of existing wrap-around social supports or formal referral services to support the unique needs of youth population served
  • Demonstrated organizational culture that encourages and supports positive youth development
  • Demonstrated capacity to monitor, track and report on outputs and outcomes

11. Summary of Dates

  • Information session on Organizational Health: August 27, 2018
  • Self-assessment for Organizational Health opens online: September 6, 2018
  • Mandatory information sessions: September 7 – September 28, 2018
  • Self-assessment for Organizational Health due: October 5, 2018 (not required for United Way currently funded agencies)
  • Full application opens online: October 15, 2018
  • Office hours: November 5 – November 16, 2018
  • Full application due: December 12, 2018
  • Funding announcements: March 2019

12. Information Sessions & Office Hours

UWGT staff will be offering a series of information sessions both before and after the online application launches. Click here to see the schedule and register.

Additionally, office hours are available to all applicants interested in applying for Career Navigator funding. Office hours are an opportunity to access support with your Career Navigator funding application and have your questions answered. Office hours will be held from November 5-16, 2018. Support can be provided over the phone or in-person.

To make an appointment during office hours contact: Fabio Crespin, Manager of Youth Initiatives, by email at FCrespin@uwgt.org or by phone at 416-777-1444 ext. 668.

13. Appeals

There are no appeals for Career Navigator funding.

14. Appendix: YSS Expected Outcomes & Indicators

Chart displaying expected outcomes and indicators


1Agencies listed as ineligible may partner in the delivery of a community service program or project, where a social service agency is the funding

2An exception will be granted to agencies that are currently funded by UWGT.