New youth innovation hub coming to St. John’s
From: Infrastructure Canada
St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, February 9, 2024 — Choices for Youth Inc. will open a new Social Enterprise and Innovation Hub in St. John’s after a joint investment of over $4.3 million from the federal government.
Announced by Minister Seamus O’Regan and Sheldon Pollett, Executive Director of Choices for Youth, this project will create space for young people to gain employable and transferable skills in a supportive workplace.
Located at 340 LeMarchant Road in St. John’s, the existing building will be renovated to create spaces for social impact, innovation, and economic development programs. The work will create an energy efficient space where up to 100 youth per year will develop lifelong career skills.
Upgrades to the exterior and remodelling of the interior will bring the existing building up to current energy efficiency and accessibility standards. Once complete, these improvements are expected to reduce the facility’s energy consumption by an estimated 84% and greenhouse gas emissions by 3.8 tonnes annually.
Choices for Youth is a non-profit, charitable organization committed to supporting youth and young families in accessing stable housing and employment while working toward family stability and better health, all through innovative programming and social enterprises.
“Choices for Youth is helping young people learn the skills they need to make a real difference in the workplace. This investment won’t just help young people get jobs. It will build careers. It will change lives.”
The Honourable Seamus O’Regan, Minister of Labour and Seniors, and Member of Parliament for St. John’s South—Mount Pearl, on behalf of the Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Housing, Infrastructure and Communities
“With this support, Choices for Youth can continue to build on its thirty-year legacy of empowering at-risk youth to realize their potential and achieve their aspirations. When young people have safe, welcoming, supportive spaces to acquire the skills they need to get good jobs and build strong communities—that’s great news for all of us.”
The Honourable Gudie Hutchings, Minister of Rural Economic Development and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA)
“The new Choices for Youth Social Enterprise and Innovation Hub will ensure a bright future for young people in St. John’s. The federal government is proud to support the construction of this new, energy efficient space that will host education and training opportunities for youth for years to come.”
Joanne Thompson, Member of Parliament for St. John’s East
“We are pleased to support Choices for Youth in this new social enterprise hub, a project that will help them scale up their important ongoing work – encouraging economic empowerment and social change for vulnerable youth. The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador is committed to supporting innovative social enterprises that ultimately help to improve employment and overall well-being.”
The Honourable Andrew Parsons, KC, Minister of Industry, Energy and Technology, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador
“Congratulations to Choices for Youth on securing this important funding that will further support social enterprise and innovation, as well as provide an improved and accessible environment to support vulnerable youth to develop vital employment skills. Our government is proud to partner with Choices for Youth as it continues to provide programs and services that make a positive difference in the healthy development and overall well-being of youth and young families in our province.”
The Honourable Paul Pike, Minister, Department of Children, Seniors and Social Development, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador
“The City is proud to support this new hub for innovation through its Capital Grant program. By investing in this project, we are investing in young people so that they can gain meaningful, and supportive employment and thrive in our community. We commend Choices for Youth for the vision and innovation they have approached this initiative with, which will have a lasting impact for at-risk youth for years to come. We also are thrilled to see this commercial building transformed into an energy efficient, accessible space, which aligns with our goals to be a more sustainable, accessible City.”
Danny Breen, Mayor, City of St. John’s
“We are profoundly grateful for the federal government’s investment in Choices for Youth’s Social Enterprise and Innovation Hub. This strategic funding represents a big next step in building a social enterprise training and employment ecosystem designed to support and transition vulnerable youth into meaningful careers. With this significant contribution in our province, we are transforming 340 LeMarchant Road into a dynamic space where vulnerable youth can cultivate essential skills while fostering innovation, social impact, and economic development. This investment exemplifies a shared dedication to shaping a resilient and inclusive future for youth and young families in Newfoundland and Labrador.”
Sheldon Pollett, Executive Director, Choices for Youth
- The federal government is investing over $2.3 million in this project through the Green and Inclusive Community Buildings program (GICB) and $400,000 through the Atlantic Canadian Opportunities Agency. The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador is contributing $465,000 and the City of St. John’s is contributing $100,000 to the project. Additional partners in the project include the R. Howard Webster Foundation ($760,000 social finance investment), the Northpine Foundation ($200,000), Martek ($100,000), and the Home Depot Canada Foundation ($100,000).
- The GICB program aims to improve the places Canadians work, learn, play, live and come together by cutting pollution, reducing costs, and supporting thousands of good jobs.
- Through green and other upgrades to existing public community buildings and new builds in underserved communities, the GICB program helps ensure community facilities are inclusive, accessible, and have a long service life, while also helping Canada move towards its net-zero objectives by 2050.
- At least 10 percent of GICB funding is allocated to projects serving First Nations, Inuit, and Métis communities, including Indigenous populations in urban centres.
- The GICB program was created in support of Canada’s Strengthened Climate Plan: A Healthy Environment and a Healthy Economy. It is supporting the Plan’s first pillar through the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, the increase of energy efficiency, and helping develop higher resilience to climate change.
- The program is providing $1.5 billion over five years towards green and accessible retrofits, repairs or upgrades.
- The funding announced today builds on the federal government’s work through the Atlantic Growth Strategy to create well-paying middle-class jobs, strengthen local economies, and build inclusive communities.
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Web: Infrastructure Canada
Office of the Minister of Rural Economic Development and of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
Manager, Fund Development and Communications
Choices for Youth