Focus on Youth Retention

U35 (Under 35) is a community partnership focused on developing a strategy to attract and retain young talent in Niagara.  

In response to a 2009 Niagara Community Observatory policy brief entitled The Young Are the Restless , a U35 forum was hosted by Niagara Region in Niagara Falls in November, 2015.  The forum focused on discussing creation of an action plan to ensure more young people age 20 – 34 remain living and working in the Niagara region. About 200 municipal leaders, business people and youth participated in the forum. A U35 planning committee including partners such as Brock University, Niagara College and local chambers of commerce was formed as a result.  

Niagara Region Council included construction of a youth retention strategy with post-secondary institutions within their Building a Labour Ready Workforce strategic priority (2015-2018). The April, 2016 State of the Region address includes detail about the U35 strategy.  

Source:  NEXTNiagara, Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce
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Source: Niagara Region
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Subsequent research highlighted in a January, 2017 Niagara Community Observatory policy brief suggests that the focus of “youth” retention be broadened to include the 30-44 age cohort.  The brief points out that, since 2001, the Niagara region’s population has grown in the 20-29 age cohort, and it is actually the 0-14 and 30-44 age cohorts that have declined.  

Source: “Growing Niagara: A closer look at Niagara’s aging population”. Niagara Community Observatory & Niagara Workforce Planning Board. January 2017.
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The YMCA of Niagara Region Youth Action initiative comprises three different components offered throughout the region: School Programs, Friday Night Drop-ins, and Dances. These programs provide youth with the opportunity to develop assets that will help them become healthy adults, and give them the foundation to make positive life choices.  IN 2014-15, the YMCA engaged 4,956 youth in a High School Entrepreneurship Outreach Program.

Source: YMCA of Niagara Region 2014-15 Annual Report
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The Young Carers Initiative (YCI) is a non-profit agency in Niagara and Haldimand-Norfolk regions, with a mission to promote the wellbeing of Young Carers, their families and their community partners. Powerhouse Project is an inter-agency strategy developed by YCI that has established two centres to meet the needs of Young Carers and their families. YCI serves caregiving children, youth, young adults and their families through social, recreational and educational programs intended to foster resilience, self esteem, and life skills. In 2015-2016, YCI supported 190 young carers and 3 young adult carers, as well as 215 parents in Niagara.

Source:  Young Carers Initiative 2015-2016 annual report
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