Youth Employment Challenge

Wondering what happened at the Youth Employment Challenge? Read a blog post about it here!

To view the Youth Employment Challenge intro presentation, scroll to the bottom of this page.

1. Challenge intro

The Youth Employment Challenge is our first time collaborating directly with a government agency, and the first time we’re able to offer financial incentives (totaling $3,000!) for members of the community to work on civic tech projects.

As an experiment in both of these respects, this challenge is designed to enable learning. The focus is on process, and the challenge is non-competitive. Every team that meets the criteria listed below will share in the cash award.

2. Context and question

Youth employment in Canada is undergoing a period of change, with people entering the full time workforce later and at a more gradual rate than they were a generation ago. Government officials are working to understand the implication of this trend. There are some trends in youth employment that may contribute to negative outcomes for Canadian youth in the workforce, including:

  • Lack of workforce preparedness, especially with respect to “soft skills”.
  • Mismatch of educational choices with labour market needs.
  • Lack of relevant work experience, and impacts of unpaid internships.

Furthermore, data shows that certain groups are at a higher risk of un- and underemployment:

  • Indigenous youth
  • Racialized and newcomer youth
  • Youth living in poverty or in conflict with the law
  • Youth in and leaving care
  • LGBTQ youth
  • Youth with disabilities and special needs

The Youth Employment Challenge asks you to develop and test a prototype answer the following question:

How might civic technology contribute to improving youth employment in Canada?

Improved youth employment may mean:

  • Youth getting jobs
  • Job readiness/employability
  • Knowledge of the job market
  • Ability to make more informed education decisions
  • Many other things!

Design for youth as you see it. Typically, governments and social service providers consider “youth” to include people between 15 and 29 years old. You might choose to focus on a more specific group of youth

3. How to participate in the challenge

  1. Form a team! There are no restrictions on team size
  2. Check out the challenge folder on Google Drive.
  3. Join the challenge channel on Slack (#youth-employment-chal). If you haven’t joined Civic Tech Toronto on Slack yet, you can do so here. This is where we’ll share administrative information, and where you’ll be able to ask questions of subject-matter experts. Each team must have at least one member in the channel.
  4. Review the questions you’ll need to answer in the submission template.
  5. Do great work!
  6. Review the submission checklist.
  7. Submit your work here by 11:59pm on Tuesday, November 29.

3.1. Participant resources

  • Google drive challenge folder, including
    • Informational slide deck
    • Participant information document
    • FAQ document
    • Submission checklist
    • Civic tech project canvases (these are optional support resources to help you get started. You do not need to submit these canvasses to meet award criteria.)
      • Project framing canvas
      • Initial user research project canvas
      • Prototype creation project canvas
      • Prototype testing project canvas
    • Required submission template
  • Challenge Slack channel
  • Work sessions at Civic Tech Toronto hacknights (every Tuesday, 6:30-9pm)

3.2. Participation guidelines

    • Intellectual property remains with participants.
      • Submissions must use Creative Commons licenses, and code must be open source
      • Challenge sponsor (Employment and Social Development Canada), challenge administrators (Urban+Digital), and challenge host (Civic Tech Toronto) may use any portion of your submission for research and promotion
    • Incomplete, duplicative, or bad faith submissions will be disqualified
    • All teams whose submissions meet the following criteria will share in the cash award.
    • Each team who meets the following criteria will receive the same compensation, regardless of team size.
      • Is the team’s work publically available and licensed with Creative Commons or open source?
      • Does the team’s work document initial user research?
      • Does the team’s work document prototype testing?
  • If you fully answer all the questions in the submission template, you will meet these criteria.