The Career Launcher program is helping youth find jobs

Header image for Interrobang article CREDIT: SKYLAR MCCARTHY
Fanshawe's Community Employment services have created the Career Launcher program, as part of the federal government's Youth Employment and Skills Strategy (YESS) program.

Fanshawe College received some major funding recently from the federal government.

The $3.7 million dollar boost from the federal government is being used to help youth that are facing barriers trying to get in or return to the workforce. This is why Fanshawe’s Community Employment services are creating the Career Launcher program, which is a part of the federal government’s Youth Employment and Skills Strategy (YESS) program.

The program is eligible for anyone 15 to 30 at any of the Fanshawe employment centres in London, St. Thomas, Simcoe or Aylmer. However, the program is only eligible for those who are a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident.

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The Career Launcher program will focus on youth facing barriers to find employment by developing plans and strategies for success into returning or just joining the workforce. The program will focus on employment counselling and supports, essential employment skills training, academic upgrading, short-term accredited skills training, and work experience placements.

Lisa Rusal, assistant manager of employment and student entrepreneurial services at Fanshawe said that the program’s biggest strength is the flexibility

“What I really love about the career launcher program is the flexibility,” Rusal said. “For example, some individuals may need a lot of assistance with self-promotion and self-marketing and having the confidence to get out there and network. So that’s one component that they could get from this project. Another area that individuals may access is quality work experience. So, there’s opportunities to do a 12-week work placement.”

What will this program teach in terms of new skills? Rusal said that the most critical skills are interpersonal and soft skills.

“One of the things we’ve put a lot of emphasis on with this program under employability skills is some of the soft skills, so what our employer expects in terms of problem-solving skills and critical thinking skills, and just some of those self-management skills,” said Rusal.

Rusal said that resiliency and social intelligence are some of key thing employers are looking at.

“We all saw if COVID didn’t prove this to us then nothing will. The importance of succeeding through adversity and being able to get up and dust yourself off when you’ve had a disappointment or something not going the way you wanted it to. So, resilience is really important,” said Rusal. “In social intelligence, your ability to build and nurture really positive relationships with colleagues, customers, bosses, and everyone that you will interact with being self-directed in terms of setting your own learning goals, where you want to get and how you’re going to get there, being self directed is super important to employers.”

Darlene O’Neill, the executive director of employment and student entrepreneurial services at Fanshawe said that they’re happy to give these supports to the youth during a challenging time.

“Fanshawe’s Employment Services are thrilled to have these extra supports for youth as they navigate these challenging times. This project will facilitate quality learning and employment experiences for youth in London, St. Thomas, Simcoe and Aylmer and assist them as they launch into their careers,” said O’Neill in a press release.

To learn more and see how you can register, you can go to for more.