2015-16 in numbers
  • 35 youth across three tiers
  • 70% of graduates are employed or in post-secondary
  • 9 obtained or are working towards completing a GED program
  • 7 pursued post-secondary education
  • 6 secured other full-time employment
  • 2 graduated from a post-secondary program

A crucial phase in our employment programming is an individual’s transition from dependency on income, and other support systems, to long-term sustainable and viable employment. Employment and training are essential in breaking the cycle of poverty, but barriers can make stable and long-term employment nearly impossible for many of our program participants. In particular, barriers such as low education levels, mental health and addictions issues, and criminal justice involvement are common in the lives the youth we employ.

In 2008, Choices for Youth created the Train for Trades Program. We partnered with the Carpenters Millwrights College to provide basic safety and construction training to a group of ten at-risk youth who went on to help us renovate the Lilly Building, a supportive and transition housing complex. The success of the program was undeniable: three of the youth were then accepted into post-secondary studies, and two were offered employment.

The Train for Trades model has since evolved. Today it is a successful social enterprise known as Impact Construction and supports at-risk youth and Choices for Youth in general. 

Impact Construction offers high quality and on-time construction services while empowering at-risk youth with the intensive supports, education, and training needed to transition to independent and sustainable full-time employment. As the enterprise grows, it only holds more potential to build a skilled workforce of youth who can be of service to the broader community.

Impact Construction uses with three distinct tiers of programming and support. The goals of each tier are as follows:


Tier 1: Navigate participants through personal barriers while they complete 44 weeks of safety training and hands-on work experience in energy efficiency retrofits and construction projects in line with skill levels.

Tier 2: Increasing independence over a year of specialized work experience, enhancing a participant’s ability to pursue sustainable long-term employment or further education.

Tier 3: Participants work independently with minimal supervision and are looking to move onto external opportunities. 


Youth also have the opportunity to complete their GED on the worksite itself, under the instruction of a certified educator.