Program snapshot

Age group: Young adult (18-24)

Gender: Male only

Population served: Aboriginal/Indigenous; Adult offenders; Placed out-of-home

Topic: Recidivism; Social development

Setting: Urban area; Community-based setting; Recreational/sport-based setting; Social services setting; Workplace

Location: Manitoba

Number of completed Canadian outcome evaluation studies: 1

Continuum of intervention: Tertiary crime prevention

Brief Description

Work2it offers supports to youth facing multiple personal barriers to training and employment.  Starting as a pilot in fall 2011 in Winnipeg and The Pas, Work2it provides pre-employment training, job coaching and employment opportunities for at-risk youth through partnerships with two community organizations: New Directions for Children, Youth, Adults and Families in Winnipeg and Fire Spirit in The Pas. 

The program provides fifty (50) high/very high risk Justice referred youth offenders with the opportunity to gain life skills, training and employment.  All youth are assessed at intake and are provided an action plan to obtain the necessary skills to move toward solid citizenship. Participants will develop pre-employment and work place skills, literacy skills, be attached to a job coach/mentor, receive employment/placement support and, if they desire, return to school supports.  Youth also have access to recreational/leisure programming, cultural activities and counselling support. 


The main goals of the Work2It program are to:

  • Develop essential life, workplace and pre-employment skills;
  • Build linkages to the labour market and other employment programs; and
  • Gain work experience and increase self-confidence and awareness through strength-based approaches.


The Work2It program assists high-risk youth who have had contact with Child and Family Services and/or the Justice system and who have not been able to effectively access previously existing employment resources. Youth participants will be referred by the Justice Department (assessed with the YLS/CMI as high or very high risk) and/or the Families Department.

Work2It will provide programming to young male offenders (female offenders are now directed to another program) between the ages of 16-25 years.

Core Components

The Work2It program components include the following:

Assessment – Upon Intake an action plan will be developed for each participant based on the following assessments:  

  • Risk and protective factors;
  • Psychosocial needs;
  • Essential skills; and
  • Literacy levels.

Mentoring – Attached to each youth is a program mentor who will remain connected throughout the program to provide role modelling, trouble shooting, curriculum delivery, job support and advocacy.

Skills – Develop work place skills through:

  • Participating in life skills an pre-employment training;
  • Participating in Genesis (a social enterprise created by the proponent), which also provides ‘unemployable’ youth with work experience;
  • Volunteer activities which could be linked to community hours; and 
  • Assisting youth in obtaining identity cards, bank accounts, and other practical life needs such as budgeting, etc.

Wellness – Provide youth with the opportunities for physical and recreational activities three times a week to promote wellness; safety measures are identified and put in place.

Counselling – Clinical and Anger/Aggression supports are available to whoever requests them. Crisis response (including suicidality) is in place for the youth. Resources are available both in the institutions and the community.

Cultural Programming – Aboriginal Kookum available for females, Aboriginal cultural advisor will provide drum making, medicine picking and sweats. Daily smudges available; access to Muslim imams, Christian ministers or other cultural leaders as required.

Work Placement – Prepare youth through: teaching essential skills, learning styles, interests, aptitudes and skills assessments; job search techniques, resume development; paid work experience; work site trouble shooting; and community employment.

Return to School – If so desired, prepare youth to return to school by choosing an appropriate educational setting and provide continual support and tutoring.

Implementation Information

Some of the critical elements for the implementation of this program or initiative include the following:

  • Organizational requirements: The organization requires strong management and staff with knowledge and expertise in program development and follow up for high risk, multi-barrier youth. Strategic planning must be continuous to meet the changing needs of these individuals within their community.
  • Partnerships: This program receives referrals from, and works closely with, the Department of Justice and the Department of Families. Many supports are utilized when expertise in an area is required; i.e. literary programming developed in conjunction with the Faculty of Education at the University of Winnipeg.
  • Training and technical assistance: Limited information on this topic.
  • Risk assessment tools: Risk assessments are determined by an in-depth, in-house evaluation at time of Intake.  All level 4 risk participants are streamed to the Work2It program.
  • Materials & resources: Many of the materials and resources for the Work2It program are developed in-house.
    • An established Curriculum (as reviewed by the Learning Partners of Manitoba) is divided into 11 different modules and used as guidance by program staff.
    • With the aid of the Faculty of Education at the University of Winnipeg, a Literacy Project has been developed – an enhancement and assessment resource for the Work2It program.

International Endorsements

The most recognized classification systems of evidence-based crime prevention programs have classified this program or initiative as follows:

  • Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development: Not applicable.
  • Crime Solutions/OJJDP Model Program Guide: Not applicable.
  • SAMHSA's National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices: Not applicable.
  • Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy: Not applicable.

Gathering Canadian Knowledge

Canadian Implementation Sites

In 2011, Industry, Training and Employment Services - MB4Youth (then under Manitoba Children & Youth Opportunities) initiated a Request For Proposals to deliver an Employment Readiness Program for high-risk, multi-barriered youth living in Winnipeg and The Pas (Manitoba).  New Directions for Children, Youth, Adults and Families Inc., located in Winnipeg (Manitoba), was the successful organization to secure the Winnipeg Work2It project. 

The pilot program commenced on September 26, 2011.  Work2It is an annual program and is currently in its sixth year, effective April 1, 2016 to March 31, 2017.

Main Findings from Canadian Outcome Evaluation Studies

In September of 2011, the Healthy Child Manitoba Branch of Children & Youth Opportunities (now connected with Manitoba Education and Training) was engaged to provide a third party evaluation on the Pilot Project – Work2It.  The evaluation design of the Work2It project was a randomized control trial design. The study evaluated two groups of male and female high risk youth alike in most aspects of their characteristics and involvement with the Justice System: one group into the Work2It program, the other a ‘control’ group.

Harvey Stevens, Senior Policy Analyst of Healthy Child Manitoba commenced a two year evaluation in September of 2011 until July of 2013. The conclusions of the study are not considered concrete, but were rather noted as 'suggestive of impact’ by the author for a few reasons:

  • The sample size was small – approximately 111 youth, which Stevens found did not result in achieving an impact of large statistical significance in either group;
  • Involvement in the Work2It program did not necessarily reduce the impact of involvement in the Justice system, but it did reduce the severity of the charges laid against the youth; and
  • The control group had access to other New Directions programming which also resulted in a lower involvement with the Justice system.  Had the control group not been involved in any other programming, Stevens felt the impact of the Work2It youth may have been larger and the statistics more significant between the two groups. 

Cost Information

The total cost of the 2016-2017 Work2It program is $466,314 with a per diem rate of $59.55 (based on 261 days, 30 participants).  Participant numbers can range from 30 to 50 at any one given time. The program runs fiscally from April 1 to March 31.


Stevens, H. (2014).  Evaluation Report of the Work2It Program.  Final Evaluation Report. Submitted to the Minister of Children & Youth Opportunities, Minister Kevin Chief, MB4Youth Branch, Crime Prevention Branch, Community and Youth Corrections, Healthy Child Manitoba, New Directions, General Child and Family Services (Unpublished report).

For more information on this program, contact:

Industry, Training and Employment Services – MB4Youth
Manitoba Education and Training
310 – 800 Portage Avenue
Winnipeg, Manitoba R3G 0N4
Telephone: (204) 945-2930 

Record Entry Date - 2018-03-14
Record Updated On - 2021-04-29
Date modified: