First Jobs Fund

Applications will be accepted between
December 18, 2023 – February 2, 2024.
Approved organizations/projects will be notified prior to April 1, 2024.
Projects cannot begin prior to April 1, 2024
and must be completed by March 31, 2025.


Is your organization:

  • Looking to hire youth (ages 15 -29 years) facing barriers to employment for their first job experience, with an emphasis on Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) youth?
    Note: 13 – 15 youth need to complete the Young Workers Readiness Certificate.
  • A registered non-profit youth serving, or non-government organization (NGO)?
    A non-Government organization is a nonprofit organization that operates independently of any government, typically one whose purpose is to address a social or political issue.
    • NOTE: Private businesses may partner with a non-profit/NGO for the work experience portion of a project (but are NOT eligible to apply independently)
  • Implementing Truth and Reconciliation activities?
  • Supporting in demand jobs and key economic sectors?

If your organization answered YES to all these questions, the First Jobs Fund may be right for you! The First Jobs Fund supports organizations to develop and deliver programming that includes:

  1. Job readiness activities that will deliver employability skills, mentorship, job coaching and life skills to youth participants, and;
  2. Work Experience initiatives that will provide a minimum of seven (7) hours of employment per week and at least 150 hours of employment to youth participants

NOTE: To be considered eligible for the First Jobs Fund, organizations must include both activities as part of their application.

Since 2016, the First Jobs Fund has provided opportunities for youth to:

  • Gain employability skills and work experience to prepare them for future employment.
  • Build the confidence, abilities and skills needed to enter the workforce.
  • Access supports that meet their needs and get them ready for work.

Organizations can apply for up to $225,000.
Funding is based on availability.
Projects with a focus on Program Priorities will be given priority.

Program Priorities

Projects will be approved based on First Job Fund priority areas, including:

  • Programming targeted at youth facing multiple barriers to employment, with an emphasis on BIPOC youth
  • Paid work experience opportunities (wage subsidies)
  • Truth and Reconciliation activities
  • Skills/experience for in demand jobs and key economic sectors
  • Offering services in rural and/or northern communities

Funding for First Jobs Fund programs is available for NEW EMPLOYEES only.

  • Work experience placements cannot result in layoffs, reduction of hours or dismissal of current employees.
  • Retroactive support for previously hired youth is ineligible.

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How to Apply

  1. Ensure that your organization meets the all program eligibility requirements outlined below.
  2. Complete and submit the First Jobs Fund application form and project budget. Be sure to read the application guidelines for program definitions and instructions on how to complete and submit the application form.

Applications will be accepted from December 18, 2023 – February 2, 2024.

Eligible Activities

Through job readiness activities and work experience programming, organizations need to complete the program application and clearly outline how participants will be engaged in the following activities:

Activities should include the following:

Intake Review of the service offerings, to a client, provided by the organization. All participants involved with a First Jobs Fund project will be required to complete an Intake and consent form.
Case Management Individualized case management and counselling supports provided to a client as they progress in their action/service plan to achieve their employment goals.
Job Search Assistance One on one or workshop-based support to help youth clarify their employment goals and expectations, assess their skills and interests, prepare resumes and build interview skills so they can conduct a successful job search.
Job Development, Matching & Placement (wage subsidies) Through work experience placements this activity is designed to assist youth who are facing labour market access barriers to find and connect with appropriate employment opportunities that are reflective of their skills and strengths as well as employer needs (see Wage Subsidy Eligibility Criteria).
Short Terms Skills Training Courses or seminars designed to help youth build employability skills.
Foundational Skills Training Sessions designed to improve literacy skills, English and/or French language skills.
Employability Skills Workshops Sessions designed to assist youth to better prepare for the world of work.

All organizations are required to share the following resources with youth engaged with the program funded through FJF:

Safe Workers of Tomorrow
Manitoba Employment Standards
Employment Standards | Young Employees

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Eligible Program Expenses

Please see Appendix C in the First Jobs Fund Application Guide for detailed information on Eligible and Ineligible expenses.

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Eligible Work Experience Placements

  • Each position must provide minimum of seven (7) hours of employment/week and at least 150 hours of TOTAL employment within the project dates;
  • First Jobs Fund positions must be based in Manitoba and cannot be funded by any additional federal, provincial or municipal employment program;
  • Organizations will recruit employers to participate in the program based on the employers' ability to provide work experience opportunities for youth.
    • First Jobs Fund employers must provide employees with ongoing performance feedback and an end-of-term evaluation.
    • Additional requirements may be applied in certain sectors (e.g. construction sector wages and overtime standards).

Where can the work experience placements take place?

  • Registered not-for-profit youth-serving organizations, non-governmental organizations, municipal governments, schools and school divisions, educational institutions and hospitals, and registered private businesses.
  • Federal and Provincial government departments, agencies and Crown corporations are NOT eligible.

Ineligible Employees

The following individuals are ineligible for work experience placements:

  • Immediate relatives of the owner, hiring authority or any director of the applicant business/organization;
  • Individuals who are owners or part-owners, or board members of the applicant business/organization;
  • Self-employed individuals, independent contractors, sub-contractors, independent commission salespersons, individuals involved in one-on-one personal services or those paid on a piece-work basis;
  • Employees currently approved/participating in another provincial or federal wage incentive program.

Monitoring and Reporting

Organizations that are approved for the First Jobs Fund will be required to use the Manitoba government Service Provider Reporting System (SPRS) to capture program outputs and outcomes. Additionally, monthly financial reports will be required to show program expenses. Additional details or reporting may be required based on specific programming offered.

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Program Selection

All applications will be screened and assessed through the following two phases.

Phase 1 - Basic Eligibility Screening

All applications submitted will be reviewed to ensure the organization and programming meet all basic eligibility including:

  • Serving youth (ages 15 -29 years) facing barriers to employment for their first job experience, with an emphasis on BIPOC youth
  • A registered non-profit or non-government organization
  • Implementation of Truth and Reconciliation activities
  • Supporting a key economic sector and/or in-demand jobs

Phase 2 - Assessment Process

Applications that have met all basic eligibility requirements will be assessed based on the following criteria.

  • Experience: The organization has a demonstrated background, knowledge, expertise and capacity to deliver the proposed programming to youth clients.
  • Project Activities: The project activities are clearly outlined and support youth to gain employability skills and work experience to prepare them for future employment.
  • Project Outcomes: The project clearly states the desired/anticipated measurable outcomes and outcomes are realistic to achieve.
  • Project Costs: The project costs have been clearly outlined and budget items align with project activities. The project cost will be assessed based on the requested funds and the number of clients served.
  • Priority: As part of the FJF selection process, priority will be given to projects that:
    • Provide programming targeted at youth facing multiple barriers to employment (with an emphasis on BIPOC youth), and supports are available to work to address these barriers
    • Include paid work experience opportunities (wage subsidies) to the youth
    • Seek to address the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action that call upon all levels of government to take action to eliminate educational and employment gaps
    • Provide skills and/or experience for an in demand job and/or a key economic sector
    • Are offering services to youth located in rural and/or northern communities

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Important Contacts

Canada Customs and Revenue Agency
For information on employer/employee contributions to E.I. and C.P.P.: 1-800-959-5525

Workers Compensation Board
To inquire about compulsory and non-compulsory registration: 204-954-4321 or 1-855-954-4321.

Employment Standards Branch
To inquire about employer obligations, such as overtime, vacation pay, minimum wage and Averaging/Break/Rest Permits and Simplified Averaging Permit process: 204-945-3352 or 1-800-821-4307.

If you require further information

Economic Development, Investment, Trade and Natural Resources
First Jobs Fund Program

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