Angela Simo Brown appointed as the new lead executive for program supporting youth who face barriers to employment
Toronto, ON, August 26, 2020 – Building on its efforts to support diversity and inclusion, MaRS announced the appointment of Angela Simo Brown as the new lead executive of an innovative program aimed to create job opportunities for young people who face barriers to employment across Canada.
The appointment follows MaRS earlier commitment to build the Coalition of Innovation Leaders Against Racism – a diverse group of senior leaders seeking to strengthen pathways for Black people, Indigenous and people of colour into the workforce while helping to end systemic racism within the innovation ecosystem.
Simo Brown will lead Opportunity For All Youth, a MaRS-supported program that engages employers who are committed to making it easier for the estimated 700,000 unemployed young people in Canada who are not in education, employment or training (NEET) to find work.
“Canada’s youth unemployment rate is at a historic high and Black, Indigenous and people of colour are experiencing a disproportionate impact,” said Alex Ryan, SVP of Partner Solutions at MaRS. “Opportunity For All Youth and its partners have engaged 7,000 youth this summer and placed over 1,000 in jobs. I’m excited to scale this unique industry-led youth employment model under Angela’s leadership to not only change lives, but encourage other organizations to tap into the wealth of young talent in this country.”
“Statistics show that systemic barriers and hiring practices favour some individuals but leave others behind,” said Angela Simo Brown, lead executive, Opportunity For All Youth. “Now is the time to approach these disparities with bold action and investment.”
In the coming weeks, Opportunity For All Youth, will launch a pilot program to produce a youth innovation inclusion toolkit that can be shared with MaRS partners and startups. Senior leaders from MaRS, and members of the Coalition of Innovation Leaders Against Racism, will provide mentorship and offer youth skill development experiences within the MaRS ecosystem including innovation challenges and hackathons.
Simo Brown is a former associate vice-president and general manager of Social Change Strategy & Innovation at LoyaltyOne, where she launched the Good Food Machine initiative, aimed at improving health outcomes for marginalized children and youth. She also co-founded Air Miles for Social Change, incentivizing Canadians to make positive choices for their health and the environment.
MaRS is North America’s largest urban innovation hub. A registered non-profit, MaRS supports high-growth startups and scale-ups tackling key issues in health, cleantech, fintech and other sectors. In addition, MaRS convenes all members of the tech ecosystem to drive breakthrough discoveries, grow the economy and make an impact by solving real problems for real people — in Canada and around the world.
About Opportunity For All Youth
Opportunity For All Youth aims to close the opportunity divide by identifying and removing barriers to employment for vulnerable and marginalized youth. An employer-led coalition that connects job-ready youth with early employment opportunities through community employment service providers, its goal is to change the youth employment system in Canada so that it works better for everyone, from young job seekers and the community services organizations who support them, to the businesses who hire and invest in them. Opportunity For All Youth is supported by MaRS and funded in part by the Government of Canada Skills Link program.