Social Work Professor Adje van de Sande and his colleagues led a Community-Based Participatory Needs Assessment to identify the barriers Somali youth face in accessing post-secondary and vocational opportunities.
They gathered focus groups of Somali youth at the Somali Centre for Family Services in Ottawa, and asked about their experiences in seeking out vocational training as well as enrolling in college and university programs.
The main objective was to address social and economic exclusion locally by inviting Somali youth aged 19-30 to be directly involved in all phases of the research. Members of the Somali Centre and Muslim community were part of an advisory committee.
Their final recommendations included:
1. The creation of a Somali-focused employment and post-secondary education resource centre/program;
2. The development of a mentorship program for Somali youth;
3. Creating the role of a private sector liaison;
4. Subsidized opportunities for Somali youth to design their own placements would be created.
The project was supported by the Ontario Trillium Seed Grant program and was led by the School of Social Work’s Centre for Studies on Poverty and Social Citizenship.