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Grant supports jobs for youth facing barriers to employment

Foundry Works! provides integrated and individualized assistance to youth aged 15 to 24 in B.C.
The Foundry is receiving $5.1 million from the province to assist youth facing barriers to employment. (Foundry BC image)

Young people with persistent and multiple barriers to employment or education, including youth directly affected by COVID-19, will have better access to services through a new employment program.

The province is providing Foundry with a one-time grant of $5.1 million to administer Foundry Works! over the next three years. Foundry Works! is a youth employment program that integrates health and social services.

“We know social and emotional well-being matters, and support can prevent or minimize future mental health and substance-use challenges in a young person’s life,” said Nicholas Simons, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. “Foundry’s research-backed employment initiative will support youth to have the greatest chance for success and happiness.”

Foundry Works! is designed to provide integrated and individualized wraparound assistance to youth aged 15 to 24 in B.C., including health, mentoring, education, skills development and job placement services. Foundry Works! will deliver programs and services to youth, who are not employed or involved in an educational program, to help them develop skills, gain paid work experience and eventually transition into the labour market.

“Young people in B.C. are full of potential. Especially now, during COVID-19, they are facing unprecedented challenges - including to their employment,” said Steve Mathias, executive director, Foundry. “Foundry envisions all young people in B.C. having the supports they need to live the life they want to lead. That includes vocational and employment services integrated with other health and social services young people need, delivered in a personalized way. We are excited to launch Foundry Works! through the Foundry Virtual BC platform and in our Foundry centres in 11 B.C. communities starting this summer.”

Foundry is a provincewide network of integrated health and social services centres where young people can access a variety of wraparound supports and services, including individualized mental health care, substance-use services, primary care and social services, as well as youth and family peer supports. Online resources and first-of-its-kind, provincewide virtual services further broaden Foundry’s reach. Referrals are not required to visit a centre or to receive online support, and all services are free and confidential.

“For young people, especially those who have mental health or substance-use challenges, meaningful employment can make a huge difference to their life,” said Mitzi Dean, Minister of Children and Family Development. “Using an innovative approach, the Foundry Works! program integrates both health- and employment-related services to help put youth on a successful pathway.”

Interested participants can contact their nearest Foundry to enquire about Foundry Works! and do not need a referral from another organization.

“Children, youth and families facing mental health and substance use challenges can learn new skills and participate in the workplace, which will make a tremendous difference in their lives,” said Sheila Malcolmson, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “Foundry is a leader in our communities and this investment in Foundry Works! will give youth and young adults access to the supports they need as they transition to adulthood.”

Quick Facts:

* Over 123,000 young people in B.C., aged 15 to 24, are affected by loss of employment due to COVID-19.

* Foundry services can be found online and in 11 B.C. communities, with another eight centres in development.

* Foundry Works! is expected to support up to 600 individuals each year to improve their employment readiness, social and emotional well-being, and to achieve success in the labour market.

* Foundry Works! is expected to launch provincewide in summer 2021.

* This grant is funded through the Canada-British Columbia Workforce Development Agreement (WDA).

Learn More:

Learn more about Foundry:

For further details about the launch of Foundry Works! in summer 2021, visit:

If you or someone you know needs help, reach out. Supports can be found online:

Learn more about the Canada-British Columbia WDA: