12 – 16% of Canada’s youth will not graduate from high school.
How Reboot Plus Can Help Vulnerable Youth Graduate and Thrive
High schools are rife with students who have, for varied reasons, checked out and need help to graduate high school. These students need extra support to not only stay on track, but to thrive. How can we help our most vulnerable youth develop the tools and strategies they need not only to stay on track, but to realize their potential? The typical education system is not working for these students. How can we help them develop networks and connections to support them when they no longer trust the system that they are in?
In Toronto youth aged 17-24 who have not finished high school and do not have a plan for their future can now access an extra layer of support through the Reboot Plus program. Humber College will soon be offering hope-centred career development promoting experiential learning, self-reflection, and envisioning. This free 16-week program will provide participants the opportunity to identify their values, personality, interests, and skills, meet with professionals and develop an education and career action plan.
Building on Past Success
The Reboot Plus program, funded by the Future Skills Centre, is a labour research initiative to 1) provide youth who are not on track to graduate from high school, the support, knowledge, skills, and post-secondary and workplace exposure required to develop and embark on a meaningful career pathway; and 2) raise employer awareness of the importance of onboarding young people in the current labour market, and of their capacity to do so. After finding success on the West Coast through partnerships between Douglas College, local Boards of Trades and Chambers, and School Districts, the program is expanding across Canada to test the portability and scalability to help kids graduate high school.
Making Options Accessible
“The students that we’re trying to catch are those who often face the most challenges, both at home and in the school system,” says Lynn vanLieshout of Humber. “We need to make sure we meet them where they are at socially, emotionally, and educationally. I know individual education plans for all students is difficult for schools to strive for, so this is an extra layer of support that we can offer to students to help them navigate their education and career options. Many students are not aware of their options and our job is to help them realize the many avenues to success.”
Connecting With Mentors
While participating in the program, youth move forward by exploring education, careers, and jobs that they are interested in. They find out about and prepare for the training and education needed to get to the career they want. They meet with professionals who work in the jobs and fields that interest and excite them through informational interviews and find out what careers are really like. The program has a growing database of 400+ professionals willing to provide interviews to students. “Once they discover what direction they would like to head in, our job is to help them figure ways to get there. This can be as simple as helping students learn about upgrading options, or as complex as helping a youth clear a criminal record to open their future,” says vanLieshout.
Showing Students They are Valued
Although some students in the Reboot Plus program may have mental health concerns, anxiety or have experienced trauma, they are very self-aware. Many have grown up quickly and have matured a lot quicker than other students their age. They want more understanding and compassion than what is currently being offered to them. They really want the opportunity to be a part of their community. This program offers them hope and lets them know they are important and they are valued, and they are cared about.
If you’re an educator or community stakeholder who would like to offer an alternative education and career pathway to help a young person graduate high school, please contact Lynn Van Lieshout of Humber College. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. This program will begin February 2023 for students living in Toronto.
The Reboot Plus project is funded by the Government of Canada’s Future Skills Centre.
Le projet Reboot Plus est financé par le Centre des Compétences futures du gouvernement du Canada.