Closing employment gap for Indigenous youth key to addressing labor shortage: study

New research indicates that closing the employment gap for Indigenous youth in Atlantic Canada is key to easing the region’s acute labor shortage.

The Atlantic Provinces Economic Council says employment outcomes for the region’s rapidly growing Aboriginal youth population have improved in recent years, but still lag behind non-indigenous youth.

Research has found that Aboriginal youth under the age of 25 face a number of labor market barriers, including low levels of education and a lack of resources such as transportation.

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It says additional funding for Indigenous youth training, skills development and entrepreneurship would help improve labor market outcomes for Indigenous youth.

The report says this would spur economic development in Indigenous communities and help address a labor shortage in the broader economy.

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APEC Senior Policy Analyst Fred Bergman, lead author of the report, says Atlantic Indigenous youth living off-reserve experienced substantial improvements in their labor market outcomes between 2007 and 2021.

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But they still have lower employment rates than non-Indigenous youth, he said.

“Reducing barriers and closing gaps is key to promoting economic development in Indigenous communities,” Bergman said.

“It will also expand the pool of skilled workers in our economy to help address persistent labor shortages in the region.”

Nearly 49,000 jobs were vacant in the Atlantic region in April 2022, bringing the vacancy rate to a record high of 4.9%.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on July 14, 2022.

© 2022 The Canadian Press


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