1980 - 1985

Just prior to 1980 Dr. Shawn Scherer, a psychologist, together with the help of University of Toronto Faculty, began to formally assess youth oriented programs and research literature in order to determine how best to serve this group. In 1980 a group of community professionals was convened from the Board of Education, Children's Aid Society etc. This group founded the agency in response to the difficulties they encountered in trying to help youth become gainfully employed and contributing members of society.

  • The agency was incorporated as The Centre for Advancement in Work and Living - C.A.W.L.
  • In 1981 funding was secured from the federal government’s Local Employment Assistance Program
  • An office was established near Bloor and Bathurst and three staff were hired
  • An industrial skill training program for youth was started to focus on auto body repair & sheet metal work
  • The Youth Employment Counselling Centre was established at the newly purchased 41 Chauncey Ave. location

1985 – 1990

Starting in 1985 C.A.W.L. expanded its focus from Youth to include Newcomers and developed new partnerships with Metro Toronto’s Community and Social Services, Employment and Immigration Canada and the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations as well as developing a new community partnership with L.A.M.P. (Lake Shore Area Multi-Service Project) to provide local youth with easier access to our services. Training programs expanded to cover welding and computer and the Auto Collision Shop was launched.

  • In 1985 C.A.W.L. was proudly approved as a United Way Member Agency
  • The Office Skills Training program was accredited by George Brown College to grant certificates
  • A six-week intensive group program for immigrants and refugees was initiated
  • A 7-bed residence was opened providing affordable housing and a life-skills program for young men enrolled in training programs

1990 – 1995

This period of time saw C.A.W.L. refining programming, and establishing new partnerships with private vocational schools in order to enhance training. Programs were added to address the needs of adults in the community who had lost jobs due to plant closures, technological change or business restructuring. Partnerships were established with Humber College, the Etobicoke Board of Education and the Ontario Training and Adjustment Board.

  • Experienced Workers’ Program was started to address the needs of unemployed adults over 40
  • The Auto Collision Shop was closed
  • The men’s residence was closed
  • The Industrial Training Program would now focus on the Auto Service Trades
  • Head office was renovated to accommodate new programs & administrative support services
  • The Independent Living Program for newcomers expanded and relocated to 173 Dufferin Street from the Dufferin St. Baptist Church

1995- 2000

This period saw increased growth. The post office building at 2930 Lake Shore Blvd. W. was purchased and renovated and the federally funded Employment Resource Centre (ERC) was officially opened on September 24, 1997 broadening the range of options available to the community. The office space at 45 Chauncey was renovated to enhance interview and classroom activities for the Industrial Training Program. The Independent Living Skills Program was renamed Career Action for Newcomers as a better reflection of the service and relocated to 1207 King St. W.

  • Industrial Training Program strengthened linkages to Apprenticeship.
  • New youth programs were piloted & eventually the provincially funded Job Connect and Summer Jobs Services Program evolved as CAWL’s largest program
  • A network of federally funded agencies emerge in the community
  • Self Employment Discovery is introduced to help clients explore the option of starting a business as a means of becoming self sufficient.
  • A Mentorship Program for foreign trained IT professionals is initiated

2000 – 2005

In order to increase the profile of the agency and heighten community awareness the members passed a resolution to change the agency name from C.A.W.L. to JobStart. With continued program expansion further renovation was required at 2930 Lake Shore, completing the lower level. This renovation also included the installation of an elevator improving JobStart’s wheelchair accessibility. Through this period new programs were implemented such as the Volunteer Program (youth), Workplace Essential Skills Training (WEST, adults), The Mentoring Partnership (newcomers) and Entry Point (post secondary students with disabilities).

  • The Career Action for Newcomers program relocated from 1207 King St. to 219 Dufferin St.
  • Industrial Skills Training was closed and evolved into the Workplace Essential Skills
  • Training (WEST) program and Literacy Basic Skills program
  • Launch of JobStart’s first l fundraising event
  • Technical upgrades were implemented across the agency
  • Launch of the Alumni Program with first Alumni networking event

2005 - 2010

The Computer Learning Training Centre, funded by Microsoft Canada, was launched at the Lake Shore location. Technological upgrades including the launch of a mobile internet kiosk for use in Job fairs were taking place. Programs such as Job Connect, Career Action for Newcomers, Career Solutions (formerly The Experienced Workers’ Program), WEST (Workplace Essential Skills Training) continue to grow and evolve.

In 2008, IT Essentials is added to JobStart’s service offerings to newcomers. It is an innovative enhanced language and bridging program for the IT sector. IT Essentials builds upon existing programming and emphasizes essential components of successful employment integration such as: North American and workplace practices, language idioms, cultural nuances, presentation skills, business writing, workplace experience, and employment retention.

The Enhanced Language Training (ELT) program, funded by Citizenship and Immigration Canada, was launched at the Dufferin Street location in March 2009. The Enhanced Language Training program offers internationally trained IT professional's services to assist them in obtaining and retaining employment in their field of expertise. Services include six weeks of sector-specific IT language training, job search workshops and workplace culture orientation. The ELT program is provided in collaboration with Skills for Change.

Local Immigration Partnership (Central South Etobicoke)

The Local Immigration Partnership (LIP) aims to maximize the benefits of existing settlement services to develop a comprehensive and collaborative settlement strategy for newcomers settling in the area. JobStart has been selected by the community to lead the Central South Etobicoke Local Immigration Partnership (LIP) which provides a framework for, and facilitates the development and implementation of a sustainable local solution for immigrants. This initiative presents settlement service providers, residents, employers and newcomers the opportunity to be part of the research and development of a successful and sustainable settlement strategy plan for social and economic integration of newcomers settling in the Central South Etobicoke area by strengthening capacity and improving access to relevant services (launched September 2009).