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netWORKS Program Funding Stream

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

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 1 for information on program alignment to YSS Outcomes.

3. netWORKS Overview

Helping to level the playing field for youth facing barriers to employment, netWORKS is a coordinated approach to career-oriented networking and mentoring opportunities. This initiative was developed in collaboration with Ten Thousand Coffees, Civic Action and United Way Greater Toronto.

netWORKS connects the dots between employers and youth through a new centralized, flexible and technology-driven platform. The program works with employers to engage staff who have “been there” and can offer guidance to youth who need it. Participants receive training to become mentors or mentees, engage in group networking sessions and have the opportunity to connect for individual networking, or more structured mentoring.

The netWORKS funding stream is for up to three years of funding to support 160 youth per year to participate in the netWORKS program. United Way is seeking to contract organizations serving clients in either Peel, Toronto or York Region. Please read carefully to see if this opportunity fits with your organization’s mandate and current capacity.

See Appendix 2 for more information on netWORKS program components.

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 netWORKS funding. We do not fund individuals.

Service delivery organizations must be located in and provide services in either Peel, Toronto or York Region, and must currently provide structured employment programming for youth between the ages of 18-29 who experience barriers to the labour market.

For this round of netWORKS 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.

The community partner must be prepared to adhere to the netWORKS program model and actively support all components of the program.

To be eligible for netWORKS 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 or are not trusteed by a charitable organization
  • 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). netWORKS is intended to:

  • Integrate with and enhance the existing employment services and supports you currently offer to youth, specifically to support youth in developing their professional networks.
  • Connect your organization to a broad cross-section of corporate and community organizations working to remove barriers to youth employment.

See Appendix 3 for information on netWORKS community partner deliverables.

6. Amount Available

The maximum funding available through the netWORKS funding stream is $270,000 over three years.

7. Use of Funds

The funds can be used for the following:

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

8. Program Selection Process

netWORKS 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.

9. Program Selection Criteria

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

  • Proven organizational health
  • Clear demonstration of how netWORKS will be integrated into existing youth employment programs to ensure youth have right skills and training to benefit from netWORKS
  • Demonstrated capacity to fulfill the role of the community partner and deliver all project components
  • Demonstrated history of service to job-ready youth facing multiple barriers to employment and career-oriented employment opportunities
  • Demonstration of existing employment programs and supports serving significant numbers of job-ready youth who face challenges in accessing career-oriented networks and mentors
  • Evidence of existing wrap-around social supports or formal referral services to support the unique needs of youth population served
  • Evidence that management and frontline staff are able to support youth participation in all elements of the program: group networking, individual networking, individual mentoring with potential for long-term engagement
  • Demonstrated organizational culture that encourages and supports positive youth development
  • Demonstrated capacity to monitor, track and report on mentee outputs and outcomes
  • Demonstrated history of strong relations with employer partners in either Peel, Toronto or York Region

10. 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

11. 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 netWORKS funding. Office hours are an opportunity to access support with your netWORKS 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: Annique Farrell, Manager of Youth Initiatives, by email at networks@uwgt.org or by phone at 416-777-1444 ext. 382.

12. Appeals

There are no appeals for netWORKS funding.

13. Appendices

Appendix 1: Youth Success Strategy – Expected Outcomes & Indicators

Chart displaying expected outcomes and indicators

Appendix 2: netWORKS Program Components

  1. Participant and Mentor Orientation Sessions
    All program participants (mentees) are required to attend a netWORKS orientation session. These half-day sessions are held at the community partner’s location and are facilitated by their staff. An orientation session should be held for each new cohort of 10-15 participants. A similar orientation session is held for volunteer mentors.

    The orientation session provides information about the program including but not limited to: commitments/expectations; supports available; networking skills-building; the netWORKS online hub and the creation of online profiles; code of conduct; collection of participant data.

  2. Introductory Networking Session
    All program participants (mentees) are required to attend and actively participate in at least one introductory networking session in order to count as a participant of the netWORKS program. The introductory networking session is a two-hour structured session, hosted by a netWORKS employer partner and facilitated by United Way staff, with support from the community partner. Each cohort will begin their netWORKS experience at an introductory networking session.

    The session gives mentees their first opportunity to practice networking in a facilitated and supported environment. They will meet mentors, engage in initial conversations, book 1:1 networking meetings and learn about the types of careers at the host employer.

  3. Small Group Networking Sessions with Mentors
    Group networking events or “group chats” are initiated and hosted by volunteer mentors. They provide youth with an opportunity to explore areas of career interest and learn from the mentor’s experience in their field, company or occupation. Topics might include industry or occupational information, career path ideas, resume and application tips, interview tips, etc. Mentees have the opportunity to attend as many of these small group sessions as they wish.

  4. 1:1 Networking Meetings
    Once mentees have attended the introductory group networking session, they can begin to connect with mentors for individual networking and information interviews using the on-line platform. Mentees are encouraged to network broadly. Community partner staff will support mentees in preparing for information interviews and follow-up on advice and information received.

  5. Structured 1:1 Mentoring
    For 2019 programming, a small number of netWORKS participants will have the opportunity to be matched in an intensive, formal 1:1 mentoring relationship. This component of the program is still in development and organizations will be notified once the implementation date is finalized.

Appendix 3: netWORKS Community Partner Deliverables

  1. Staffing Responsibilities

    Management Staff:
    • Regular coordination with United Way
    • Participate in monthly community partner manager meetings
    • Manage the program within community partner organization

    Front Line Staff:
    • Complete outreach, assessment, and intake of 200 new youth participants per year
    • Schedule, coordinate and deliver orientation sessions for 160 new youth participants per year
    • Support 160 youth participants a year, to create and complete profiles on the netWORKS hub
    • Accompany and support youth at networking sessions as needed as well as assisting at the event (e.g., set-up and take-down)
    • Deliver participant focus groups after initial networking sessions to complete data collection (e.g., demographics, etc.)
    • Ensure that all youth participants initiate, register, prepare for and attend individual networking and group chats on the netWORKS hub (e.g., researching mentors, companies, preparing questions, providing transportation supports, etc.)
    • Communicate monthly with UWGT program staff to share:
      • Program updates
      • Upcoming session schedules
      • Challenges and opportunities
      • Evaluation findings

  2. Mentoring Component
    • Provide additional screening for youth participating in 1:1 mentoring
    • Coordinate, attend and provide support during mentoring orientation session for participants
    • Coordinate transportation for youth to mentoring sessions when required
    • Conduct follow up meetings with and provide additional support for youth as needed (i.e., employment and wrap-around supports)

  3. Data Collection, Monitoring, and Program Evaluation
    • Collect participant information and track outputs
    • Support participants in completing participant surveys
    • Collect post-program outcome information as required
    • Provide input on the program pilot to inform the process evaluation and continuous improvement of the program

  4. Employment Services
    Community partners will provide employment services and supports to all netWORKS participants. This includes but is not limited to:
    • Fundamental job readiness skills workshops or activities
    • Career development/career exploration workshops or activities
    • Personal management (life) skills workshops or activities
    • Job attainment skills workshops or activities
    • Employment-related skills workshops or activities
    • Job maintenance and career advancement skills workshops or activities
    • Job matching and placement services
    • Job coaching support for job placements/work experiences
    • Job trials and other short-term work experiences

  5. Wrap-around Supports
    Based on client need and staff assessment, the community partner will provide wrap-around supports and referrals for additional services that support youth during their netWORKS program participation. Wrap-around supports include but are not limited to:
    • Housing supports (or formal referrals if no in-house program)
    • Mental health/health counseling (or formal referrals if no in-house counseling)
    • Childcare supports (or formal referrals if no in-house childcare supports)
    • Immigration and/or newcomer services (or formal referrals if no in-house service)
    • Other (e.g., legal, hygiene, clothing, basic life skills)

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

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