The federal government will invest $8.6 million in a City of Toronto youth employment program over the next three years, something that Mayor John Tory says is a “great example” of the consistent and reliable funding that the municipality desperately needs.

Employment, Workforce Development and Labour Minister Patty Hajdu made the announcement at city hall on Tuesday morning.

The funding is part of an $11.6 million investment that is being made jointly by the federal government, the municipal government and the private sector. The city is contributing $2 million to the program.

“There is nothing more tragic than watching a young person lose hope of all success,” Hajdu said on Tuesday. “Many times the barriers they face are systemic and given the opportunity to thrive they do just that.”

The money from the federal government will go towards the operation of the municipally-run Toronto Youth Job Corps program, which pairs young people with local employers and then gives them training and a 16 to 24 week paid work placement in order to give them a leg up on entering the workforce.

Officials estimate that the investment will mean that an additional 1,300 people will be able to participate in the program in the coming years.

“I am particularly heartened that this funding will now be secured for 36 months which I think in many areas should be a lesson for all of us in terms of the kind of consistent funding we need,” Mayor Tory told reporter at city hall. “It is the kind of collaboration that we hope can be brought to housing and other things to help us do what we all want to do: build a city that is the economic heart of this country that is strong and fair.”

In recent years, about 33 per cent of those participating in the Toronto Youth Job Corps program have been visible minorities while 29 per cent had some sort of disability and 11 per cent had no more than a Grade 10 education.

Tory said the program “literally tears down barriers” for groups of people that sometimes face challenges in entering the workforce.

Residents between the ages of 16 to 29 are eligible for the Toronto Youth Job Corps program.

“For anybody seeking employment it can be a daunting challenge. It is much more daunting and complex than it used to be. So for people that have additional challenges in front of them these kinds of programs are incredibly important,” Tory said.

A city report has previously pegged Toronto’s youth unemployment rate at 18 per cent. That’s almost triple Ontario’s unemployment rate, which is 6.4 per cent.