By Kelly Hagler
Business owners who want to hire high school graduates for the peak summer season need to start planning now to reap big financial rewards. That’s because the Ministry of Training, Colleges & Universities (TCU) is offering a hiring incentive to encourage community organizations and small business owners to create jobs for students.
TCU, a segment of the Ontario government that specializes in education and training for post-high school careers, is offering the $2 per hour hiring incentive for up to 16 weeks for those who employ students between April 1 and September 30. This is about "helping to build the best-educated, best-trained workforce in the world," says Tanya Blazina, a spokesperson for TCU. Employers in all industries, including those in construction and property management, should act now, since students begin looking for summer employment earlier in the year.
"It is important for businesses that are new to the service to connect with Employment Ontario service providers earlier in the year so that they can ensure they are on the list and ‘registered’ to receive student referrals," Blazina says. "Early planning often leads to strong job-matching successes."
Another benefit of participating in the program is a summer job-posting service to help employers. Once small businesses begin participating, they usually are pleased with the results and continue with the program annually, Blazina says.
Before the government implemented the program, Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) members had a difficult time finding seasonal help, says Plamen Petkov, director of provincial affairs for the Ontario branch of CFIB.
"Business owners were looking for summer students to do casual projects for three or four months," he says. "The incentive was to stimulate businesses to be more proactive to approach students for summer positions."
Employers plan to hire more than 100,000 students for summer jobs and services in 2012 through different components of the Ontario Summer Jobs program, Blazina says.
To determine if the service is right for your business, here is what you should know. The Ontario Summer Jobs Strategy features three key programs:
The Summer Jobs Service: Free job-search and self-marketing support for students applying for work and a $2 per hour hiring incentive for businesses and community organizations to hire students for up to 16 weeks.
The Summer Company Program: Hands-on business coaching, mentoring and awards up to $3,000 for students who want to start and run their own summer businesses.
Ontario Public Service Summer Employment Opportunities: Jobs with Ontario government ministries and agencies, as well as community groups. Some bilingual positions also are available.
Participating businesses do not need to create special or specific jobs to attract students. One of the benefits of the program is that service providers are able to match qualified students to the applicable employment opportunity—"so all parties benefit," Blazina says.
The program not only benefits business owners but also provides students the invaluable opportunity to gain career experience at a young age. "Hopefully [the program] makes students better equipped with skills so when they graduate," Petkov says, "they can look for full-time employment."
To get involved in the Summer Jobs program or for more information, visit the TCU website.