Escalator: Companies and Youth Moving Up 

Escalator brings together private, public and community sectors and uses innovative solutions to tackle unemployment for opportunity youth across Ontario. Escalator aims to unlock our full business and talent potential.

Escalator: Companies and Youth Moving Up

Workforce Development
April 16, 2021
Problem Addressed

Canada has 779,000 young people aged 15 to 29 who are not in employment, education or training. At the same time, 70% of employers said their biggest challenge to filling entry-level roles was finding applicants. Despite both a supply of, and demand for, young talent, youth and employers aren’t always finding each other, especially when it comes to opportunity youth who may face additional barriers to employment.

Solutions Implemented
  • Escalator recognizes that more can be done to connect supply and demand and to unlock currently untapped young talent. Since launching in 2014, CivicAction has developed action-oriented strategies to help close the skills gap, make the job market more transparent, and give new networks to youth – all of which has helped connect thousands of youth to new opportunities (see results below).

Key Results


Thousands of youth enrolled in netWORKS, a career-oriented networking and mentoring program, led by United Way of Toronto & York Region. Since 2015, dozens of employers have hosted networking sessions and provided various supports to youth. Plus, hundreds of youth connected with industry leaders at one or more group networking sessions, gaining fresh perspectives and building key professional connections. Find out more here.


850+ front-line youth workers with the capacity to reach approximately 35,000 youth, as well as 1,500 youth have been trained on pre-employment skills in partnership with LinkedIn Canada. 95% of youth workers felt better prepared to support their youth in articulating their transferable skills to employers. Find out more here (link to site).

NPower Canada

Thousands of students have graduated from NPower Canada, which trains young people facing barriers and matches them with paid internships in the technology sector. A majority of graduates enter full-time employment or pursue post-secondary education within 6 months of graduating. Find out more here.

Enabling youth to be their very best selves and helping them prepare for the jobs of tomorrow is a shared ideal of CivicAction and RBC. By tapping into diverse, young talent our workforce will reflect our communities and ensure no one is left behind. This is about building inclusive prosperity. CivicAction’s work on Escalator is helping companies see their role in solving the issue of youth unemployment by building critical new channels between youth and employers.

Zabeen Hirji, Chair of CivicAction, former Chief Human Resources Officer, RBC