2016 Recipient: CEE Centre for Young Black Professionals

The CEE Centre for Young Black Professionals (CEE) is dedicated to addressing economic issues effecting Black youth (18-29). CEE stands for ‘Careers Education and Empowerment. Their mission is to increase economic opportunities for Black youth living in Toronto‚Äôs priority neighbourhoods, supporting them in the areas of employability, social enterprise and entrepreneurship. The core programs focus on Black youth who are out of school, out of work, living in priority neighbourhoods and facing barriers to employment. In three years of operation CEE has had 61 young men and women graduate 6 separate cohorts of our intensive 8-month career programs. They have an 85% retention rate for our programs and over 75% of participants are successfully placed in work or go back to school as a result of the program. Over 900 individuals have also been supported at conferences and events. These include the annual Branded Youth Marketing Conference for young Black and Newcomer entrepreneurs. CEE was a founding partner for this conference, which has been delivered since 2013. CEE works to ensure that all of our programming reaches and is accessible to youth who face multiple barriers, such as: unemployment, underemployment, conflict with law, being young parents, poverty and lack of secondary or post-secondary education.

Currently, CEE has two core programs: 1) Company Challenge Creative: A hands-on program for youth interested in building the skills and work experience needed for entering the creative industry; 2) Kitchen Masters: A program that provides life skills, culinary skills and work experience to help youth build careers in the culinary field.

These intensive 7-9 month programs include in-class sessions, paid job placements and wrap around supports. CEE delivers these programs with an inter-disciplinary team including social workers, case workers and experienced facilitators.