$1.3 Million Investment to Provide Opportunities for Creative Employment for Equity Seeking Youth

TORONTO, September 17, 2020 – Toronto Arts Foundation is pleased to announce a significant investment of $1.3-million from Future Skills Centre, funded by the Government of Canada’s Future Skills Program, to ArtWorksTO. This program, developed in partnership with the City of Toronto, exists to increase professional employment opportunities for youth in the creative sector.

The investment has enabled collaborative program partners to expand workforce development, networking and employment opportunities for youth participants. The grant will support programming over a two-year period to prepare an anticipated 240 youth artists from equity seeking backgrounds (young artists identifying as Indigenous, Black and People of Colour and/or 2SLGBTQ+) for jobs in the arts and culture sector industries.

ArtWorksTO was launched in 2015 as part of the City of Toronto's Youth Equity Strategy in partnership with Toronto Arts Foundation’s Neighbourhood Arts Network. The program is designed to support creative youth entrepreneurs, ages 18-29, who face multiple barriers to employment and education to enhance access to the media arts and creative industries workforce. Instrumental partnerships with Ontario College of Art and Design University (OCAD U) and The Remix Project will increase the depth and reach of the programming in 2020 and 2021.

The investment aims to increase participant success. OCAD U will customize and deliver in-demand skills training with a new certificate program. The City of Toronto will provide paid project based internship opportunities for youth to develop original arts-based communications pieces that promote City programs and employability supports through the Toronto Youth Partnerships & Employment (TYPE) program. The Remix Project will act as an industry advisor at networking activities involving sector professionals. Neighbourhood Arts Network is responsible for the overall coordination and administration of the project. 

“Workforce solutions for youth from equity seeking backgrounds are urgently needed, as are employment and training programs for improving equity in the growing labour force of the arts and culture sector,” said Claire Hopkinson, Director & CEO, Toronto Arts Foundation and Toronto Arts Council. “Toronto Arts Foundation is thrilled that we’re able to expand this high-impact program to include valuable supports from acclaimed new partners through catalyst funding from Future Skills Centre.” 

"The City of Toronto is delighted to work with our impactful ArtWorksTO partners to expand the project into a comprehensive workforce development model for young creatives, with the support of the Future Skills Centre. Through piloting this project over the last four years, we are confident in the ability of ArtWorksTO to create transformative opportunities for vulnerable young people to develop their professional portfolios and careers in the creative industries. I have no doubt that ArtWorksTO participants will play an important role in expanding the voices, talent and diversity of Toronto's creative industries." – Stefany Hanson, Manager, Youth Development Unit, Social Development, Finance & Administration, City of Toronto.

“Through this exciting partnership, OCAD U reinforces its commitment to increasing opportunity and access to post-secondary options and to employment for youth in the creative industries. The new Certificate in Art & Design Professional Skills was developed specifically for ArtWorksTO participants as a pathway for those interesting in pursuing a career in art and design. It is a pleasure to welcome these talented students to OCAD U.” – Evan Tapper, Director, Office of Continuing Studies, OCAD University. 

“Helping young people transition from education and training to their first job is a key component in building the workforce of tomorrow. We’re especially happy to provide that help in the arts sector, since the labour market is increasingly demanding workers who show creativity, flexibility and imagination—attributes that are at the heart of this program and its partners.” – Pedro Barata, Executive Director, Future Skills Centre

ArtWorksTO is one of 30 projects funded as part of a $37-million investment by Future Skills Centre to provide essential solutions to support Canadians transitioning to new jobs or industries. It is the only arts project to receive support through this funding.
ArtWorksTO will make program modifications this year to ensure the safety of participants and partners in light of the COVID-19 crisis.
For more information on ArtWorksTO, visit: neighbourhoodartsnetwork.org/artworksto

ArtWorksTO is funded by the Government of Canada’s Future Skills Centre. Le projet Bridging the Gap est financĂ© par le Centre des CompĂ©tences futures du gouvernement du Canada.



About Toronto Arts Foundation
Toronto Arts Foundation is a charitable organization that sparks creative connections, spotlights artistic excellence, and supports vibrant cultural growth throughout our diverse city, through private sector investment. To learn more or to make a donation, visit torontoartsfoundation.org.

About the City of Toronto
Toronto is home to more than 2.9 million people whose diversity and experiences make this great city Canada’s leading economic engine and one of the world’s most diverse and livable cities. As the fourth largest city in North America, Toronto is a global leader in technology, finance, film, music, culture and innovation, and consistently places at the top of international rankings due to investments championed by its government, residents and businesses. For more information visit toronto.ca

About the Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD U)
OCAD University (www.ocadu.ca) is Canada’s oldest and largest university for art and design. Founded in 1876, the university is dedicated to art, design and digital media education, practice and research, and to knowledge and invention across a wide range of disciplines.

About The Remix Project
The Remix Project is a multidisciplinary arts training organization, devoted to strengthening the creative community by supporting the next generation of industry leaders. Focused on each student’s personal and professional development, the charity was created to help level the playing field for talented youth who face barriers in pursuing careers in arts & entertainment. For more information, www.theremixproject.com

About FSC
Future Skills Centre is a forward-thinking research and collaboration hub dedicated to preparing Canadians for employment success and meeting the emerging talent needs of employers. As a pan-Canadian community, FSC brings together experts and organizations across sectors to rigorously identify, assess, and share innovative approaches to develop the skills needed to drive prosperity and inclusion. FSC is directly involved in innovation through investments in pilot projects and academic research on the future of work and skills in Canada. The Future Skills Centre is funded by the Government of Canada’s Future Skills Program.

Contact information:
For more information, please contact: Sarah Gladki, Communications Manager: sarah@torontoarts.org