Marie France Gosselin Travail Jeunesse Quebec City, Quebec
In 1999, Travail Jeunesse started small. Dedicated to the successful integration of at-risk youth into the community and workforce, it established a 5,000 sq. ft. (465 m2) manufacturing facility in which it could hire and train at-risk youth (99 percent of whom are homeless when they meet Marie France and her support team). Youth not only perform contract manufacturing work for local businesses but also gain the necessary social skills to function within the community. At the time, Travail Jeunesse relied on the government for 80 percent of the funding. It started with simple manufacturing processes like bagging nuts and bolts. But with commitment to social and vocational training, the program grew. It added 15,000 sq. ft. (1,393.5 m2) and has brought many local business partners on-board.
Teknion has been involved since the beginning. Travail Jeunesse has diverted production through the facility and expanded the type of work undertaken in the plant to include more sophisticated tasks, like cabinet assembly. It also brings in engineers to train the youth on Kaizen (continuous employment) providing them with valuable skills they can use to advance themselves. Today, Travail Jeunesse returns about $1,000,000 per year in value back into the local economy and is 90 percent self-funded. Fortyfive individuals are enrolled in this program each year, and the organization boasts a 75 percent integration rate into the workforce. Teknion is a beneficiary of this success rate beyond just Travail Jeunesse,s manufacturing plant. It employs Travail Jeunesse alumni within its facilities, reaping the benefits of a skilled workforce it custom rained.