If you think back to when you were in high school, after graduation there is a good chance you could not wait to get out of the community you grew up in to either continue your education or secure a job. “There’s nothing here for me”, is a common assumption for students in high school. Why? They simply don’t know what opportunities there are in their own community. Depending on their long-term job aspirations, searching local is generally not a focus.
Looking through the eyes of a student at their own community they tend to be familiar with businesses they see on commonly travelled routes or establishments visited with friends or family. A few examples are restaurants, entertainment attractions or commonly visited service or retail establishments. These businesses are part of a vast economic landscape within a community. Specific to Clarington, in addition to strengths in retail, professional and consumer services, there are manufacturers, utilities, health management, diagnostics laboratories, trades and construction, tourism and cultural assets, and innovation in agriculture, just to name a few. Encouraging youth to explore employers and skills in all industries in their community expands their knowledge of business variety and employment opportunities.
At the Clarington Board of Trade (CBOT), in addition to providing programming and the platform for local businesses to connect, network, learn and grow we carry out the role of economic development for the Municipality of Clarington. The attraction and retention of business in any community is an integral part of economic development as is supporting job creation and workforce development. Educating youth on what opportunities exist and to explore career options in their own backyard is an important step to supporting the growth of a strong, local workforce. Youth engagement has been identified by CBOT as a valuable initiative. Visiting high schools in Clarington, we speak to students in careers classes about exploring opportunities their community has to offer. From class visits to events where students engage with businesses face-to-face, these are initiatives CBOT is proud to integrate into the Clarington community – working together with schools and business to increase awareness and help educate the workforce of the future.
Invite your children to explore ‘Clarington Businesses’ online, for a glimpse on some companies that are here and what they do. Take a drive to explore business areas. If your child is interested, support participation in co-op programs in their school – a few suggestions that will increase awareness and may encourage youth to think “wow, there are a lot of interesting opportunities in my community”!