About Moving Towards Opportunity (MTO)
First piloted in 2015, Moving Towards Opportunity (MTO) is a youth employment initiative for 16-18 year olds who reside in Regent Park and surrounding neighbourhoods. The MTO program is designed to better prepare youth from low-income communities for sustainable employment. MTO provides program participants with a comprehensive 14 week employment readiness program followed by an 8 week, full-time paid work opportunity during their summer break.
Why is MTO Important?
There has been a recognition amongst all stakeholders that the Regent Park revitalization is a platform for change and community transformation beyond the bricks and mortar of the physical development. One of the major keys to success of the community revitalization is the social development of the community through capacity building and creating employment opportunities for residents, including youth.
Regent Park has a very large youth population. As of 2006, the youth unemployment rate for Regent Park was 27.3%. We expect that the current rate is higher. The MTO team believes that by providing youth with job skills training and employment experience in the corporate sector more youth in Regent Park will be put on the path toward sustainable employment, and as a result enhance the social development of the entire community.
What Makes MTO Unique?
The MTO program believes that connecting youth to positions within influential organizations facilitates learning, networking and career-building opportunities that these young people would not have access to otherwise.
Many existing youth employment programs are directed at youth aged 18+. The MTO program is unique in that it aims to increase job readiness and find summer jobs for high school students. By engaging students in high school before they make big decisions about their careers, youth are able to gain access to workplace experiences in the corporate sector which can alter youths’ perceptions about what is possible for their professional futures.