Check out Co-Chair Sarah Davidson’s recent blog about youth engagement on Windsorstar.com!
More and more often I hear my peers in Windsor express frustration about the lack of opportunities for young people. When you consider Windsor’s current unemployment rate of 10.7%, this shouldn’t come as much of a surprise.
Even in cities outside of Windsor with high unemployment, young people are finding that that they are falling short in getting the jobs they want. They are coming out of university and college with degrees and designations, significant debt, and little experience in their desired field of work.
Getting the right education for a desired field of work is only the first step to gaining employment. In most cases, young people are finding that getting the job they want comes down to their experience (or lack thereof) and knowledge of the community they wish to work in.
Unemployment will always exist, as will the competitive nature of gaining employment, no matter what community someone is from. Therefore, young people need to stand out and clearly demonstrate that they are investing in their community and making a contribution to its success.
So, to all of those complainers frustrated about their academic to professional experience ratio, I ask: What are you doing about it?
I am not originally from Windsor, but I came here to attend the University of Windsor six years ago. During my time here I have come to love Windsor and have been rewarded through my engagement and involvement with the community.
When I first came here I had no connections or job prospects, but becoming involved in the community has provided me a unique opportunity to network and interact with a wide variety of movers and shakers (including other youth!) in Windsor and develop my leadership skills, which in turn has given me very marketable skills.
Windsor is a community that thrives on interaction, diversity, and small town character. One thing is for sure: Windsorites want to see each other succeed, especially youth.
Why should civic engagement be important to Windsor’s youth? Getting involved doesn’t just have to mean volunteering for a local organization or charity. While volunteering at a shelter, for example, is valuable and important to the community, there are also opportunities for youth to make change themselves and to have their voices heard about issues that matter most to them.
GenNext is a great example of this. The group is comprised of a diverse group of young professionals and students who want to make a change in Windsor. They are currently working to raise $10,000 which they will use to start a youth-focused grant program. This is just one example of how young leaders are making a change to better their community and create opportunities for fellow youth.
There you have it. The answer is clear. What can give you a competitive edge over your peers in gaining employment? Getting involved in your community. Show some initiative, benevolence, a little hard work, and it will go a long way. In the interest of celebrating National Volunteer Appreciation Week, let us also celebrate and profile the work that is being done by young leaders in Windsor.
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