A donation by the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce established the CIBC Chair in Youth Employment in 1999. The role of the Chair is to contribute significantly to the body of scholarship on Youth Employment by studying the challenges facing young people and helping to develop potential solutions.
Understanding both the challenges and opportunities faced by youth with respect to employment issues is crutial in ensuring that the youth of today can acquire education and training, obtain employment, and contribute to society in the future: to raise a family, purchase a home, provide education for their children, contribute to eldercare for their parents, and provide for their own retirement.
As then-CIRHR Director Frank Reird noted in U of T media coverage at the time of the Chair's establishement, "There are a myriad of isssues facing young people in today's working world. These issues will have implications not only for their financial situation but also for their general health and well-being in the long run."
Some of these issues include the school-to-work transition, youth unemployment and its scarring effects, the growth of non-standard employment and the effects of restructuring to an information based economy, as well as childcare issues faced by two-earner and single-parent families. Other questions to be addressed include:
- How do youth employment issues relate to inequality in wages and hours worked?
- How equipped are youths to deal with new workplace issues?
- What is the impact of labour market policy on youth?
The CIBC Chair in Youth Employment has enabled the CIRHR to carve out a niche in a valuable area by serving as a catalyst for mobilization resarch, teaching resources, and interactions with other stakeholders. While the Chair itself is held by one faculty member at a time, its impact is felt throughout the work of the entire Centre, as graduate students, alumni, and other faculty members collaborate on research projects in the area of youth employment.