First Jobs Fund

The application intake for the First Jobs Fund is now closed.
Please check back regularly for program updates.

The First Jobs Fund Program is designed to support innovative employment and training experiences to prepare at-risk youth aged 15-29 for their first job, which increases likelihood of future sustainable employment.

Programs should focus on new short-term projects that assist youth to overcome employment challenges and promote youth participation in the labour market.

Funding is available to organizations that assist youth ages 15 – 29 years to develop job readiness skills that help them prepare for the world of work and to help employers hire young people and provide a supporting, developmental work environment.

The First Jobs Fund will:

  • Provide opportunities for youth to gain employability skills and work experience to prepare them for future employment.
  • Help youth build the confidence, abilities and skills needed to enter the workforce.
  • Assist youth with barriers to employment to access supports that meet their needs and get them ready for work.

Program Priorities

Priority will be given to youth facing multiple barriers to employment including:

  • previous or current contact with the justice, child or social welfare systems
  • member of an employment equity group (Indigenous, visible minority, person with a disability)
  • having health, drug and/or alcohol related issues
  • limited personal supports or skills to make the transition to work
  • limited academic skills (e.g. school drop-out or at risk of dropping out)

Priority will be given to programs or proposals that result in work experience opportunities for youth.

Proposals will be considered as resources allow and in keeping with program priorities.

Multiple applications from the same organization will be considered as resources permit.

Priority will be given to program proposals from organizations that have not previously received First Job Fund support.

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How to Apply

Email for further information.


Registered not-for-profit youth serving organizations and non-governmental organizations. Organizations are encouraged to work with employers to help youth make connections to the workplace.

Eligible costs include:

  • Job Readiness: Organizations can receive support to provide job readiness training and supports to a youth or group of youth aimed at improving participants’ general employability, preparing participants for further training, providing job search assistance or referrals to employment placements and work experience.
  • Wage subsidies: Organizations can apply for a wage subsidy for youth to work in a registered not-for profit youth-serving organization, non-government organization, school, school division, educational institution, hospital or registered private business. Federal and Provincial government departments, agencies and Crown corporations are not eligible. Each position must provide a minimum of seven (7) regular hours of employment each week and at least 150 hours of total employment. Please review the Wage Subsidy Terms and Conditions if applying for wage subsidy funding.
  • Training Costs: Organizations can receive funding to support youth in taking specific skills training or other skills training that is designed to improve or reinforce knowledge, skills, or personal qualities which would be useful to the employee when entering the workforce.
  • Support Costs: Organizations can apply for support costs such as tools and equipment, special clothing required for the job and transportation assistance for youth participating in work experience or job readiness training.
  • Workplace Mentorship: Organizations can apply for support towards a workplace mentor that agrees to provide a safe environment for a youth to gain skills and meet their professional development needs.
  • Job Coaching: Organizations can apply for salary funds for a job coach, who will provide support to a youth focused on improving their performance on the job.

Program/costs that are not eligible include:

  • Capital costs will not be covered by the First Jobs Fund.
  • Programs that do not meet the work experience/employment terms and conditions.
  • Programs that result in the lay-off, reduction in hours, or dismissal of current employees.

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Terms and Conditions

Organizations interested in applying for funding must submit a program proposal that provides information about the organization, rationale/need for the program, program objectives/activities, and a detailed monthly cash flow. Please see the proposal guidelines for additional information.

All program proposals must meet the following basic criteria:

  • Registered not-for-profit youth serving organizations or non-governmental organizations.
  • The organization must be legally registered in Manitoba.
  • The organization must operate in accordance with Manitoba Employment Standards and Manitoba Human Rights regulations.
  • Members of the program coordinator's immediate family must not be recruited as program participants or employed as program staff.
  • Funding from Manitoba Economic Development and Jobs must not be used to offset reductions in core funding received from other sources or to subsidize other unrelated operations, activities, or programs.
  • The proposed program must be targeted to participants who are 15-29 years of age.

Any agency or community organization with an unresolved or outstanding financial or employment situation will not be considered for participation in this program until the matter is resolved.

Unexpended funds must be returned to the Province.

Projects are responsible for establishing the recruitment and selection process for youth in their project.

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Wage Subsidy Terms and Conditions

Eligible Hiring Organizations

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

  • 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 already approved/participating in another provincial/federal wage incentive program.

Eligibility requirements for youth job placements supported through First Jobs Fund

  • First Jobs Fund support is not available retroactively for existing employees; funding is only available for new employees who meet the First Jobs Fund eligibility requirements.
  • The creation of First Jobs Fund positions cannot result in the lay-off, reduction of hours or dismissal of current employees. First Jobs Fund positions cannot be used to replace employees who have previously been laid-off or dismissed.
  • 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.

Failure to comply with any of the following Terms and Conditions could result in disqualification from the program and demand for repayment of any funds received. By submitting, a First Jobs Fund proposal, the applicant agrees to comply with all terms and conditions listed in this information, if approved for assistance.

  1. All approved employers agree:
    1. To comply with all Federal and Provincial laws and regulations governing employers;
    2. To provide each employee with supervision, training, orientation and a clear definition of the duties and position responsibilities;
    3. To provide and pay the employee for consecutive weeks of employment during the funding period;
    4. To pay the employee the provincial minimum hourly wage or the wage indicated in the proposal, whichever is greater. OR
      That employers in the construction industry must pay at least the applicable minimum industry standard wage;
    5. To maintain an accurate daily record of the hours worked by each First Jobs Fund employee, including a separate daily record of overtime hours. Claims for reimbursement, payroll records, including records of daily hours worked, cancelled cheques, records of employer contributions and employee deductions for all employees funded under the program must be maintained in Manitoba and produced for review upon request by a person employed by the Government of Manitoba to monitor the program;
    6. To pay each employee’s wage at least twice per month and provide a pay statement on each occasion
    7. To provide each employee vacation pay at the rate of at least 4% of regular gross earnings;
    8. To make only those deductions from the employee’s wage which go toward normal employee benefits, are authorized by the employee or are authorized by law; and
    9. To issue T4 slips to all employees and remit all applicable payroll deductions to Canada Revenue Agency.
  2. For positions not covered by a collective agreement, or by the Construction Industry Wages Act, ALL OVERTIME HOURS worked must be PAID at one and one-half times the regular hourly rate of pay. Overtime hours include any hours worked by an employee in excess of eight (8) hours per day and any hours worked by an employee in excess of 40 hours per week. Any variation to standard hours of work must be approved through the issue of an Average/Break/Rest Permit or a Simplified Averaging Permit issued by the Employment Standards Branch. For farm employers, any hours in excess of 10 hours per day, or 50 hours per week will be considered overtime hours by First Jobs Fund.
  3. Employers listed in the compulsory workers compensation category under The Workers Compensation Act must ensure that each employee is covered by workers compensation and, when asked, must provide satisfactory proof that the required workers compensation coverage is in place. Even if you are listed on the exempt industry list under The Workers Compensation Act, you may still need to register First Jobs Fund employees. Employers not listed in the compulsory workers compensation category under The Workers Compensation Act must ensure that each employee is covered by privately purchased liability insurance coverage equivalent to the coverage that would otherwise be available under the Act and, when asked, you must provide satisfactory proof that the required insurance coverage is in place.
  4. First Jobs Fund employers must provide employees with ongoing performance feedback and an end-of-term evaluation.
  5. If, in the opinion of First Jobs Fund program officials, an approved applicant or authorized representative has misrepresented the information provided in the proposal or other First Jobs Fund documents; OR
    has used part or all of the funding for purposes other than those authorized on the approved proposal; OR
    fails to comply with the Terms and Conditions of the program as described, program officials may cancel any funding approved or provided and take the appropriate steps to require the approved applicant or authorized official of the approved proposal to repay, in whole or in part, any funds provided.
  6. Where First Jobs Fund staff has determined that an employer has failed to comply with programs terms and conditions regarding a First Jobs Fund employee, funding will be withheld until compliance has been verified by program officials. Failure by program officials to take action for non-compliance or for a breach of the program Terms and Conditions shall not be construed as a general waiver or relinquishment of this right.
  7. Approved employers must pay their employees their full wage each pay period (including overtime earned during that period).
  8. Employers are responsible for all Mandatory Employer Related Costs (MERCs) including but not limited to Employment Insurance, Canada Pension Plan, Workers Compensation, vacation pay and, where applicable, the Manitoba Health and Education Levy.
  9. The First Jobs Fund program only provides funding support related to Mandatory Employment Related Costs (MERCs) for staff delivering the approved program. Benefits such as company pension plans, dental/medical plans, life insurance etc., are not eligible expenses.

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Wage Subsidy Financial Assistance

The First Jobs Fund provides employers with a wage incentive equal to minimum wage. MERCs are the responsibility of the employer.

The First Jobs Fund will not provide wage incentives for any weeks worked outside of the approved employment period, any weeks in which an employer has not provided a minimum of seven (7) regular hours of employment, any time off given to an employee in lieu of overtime pay or wages paid in lieu of notice or as severance pay.

The minimum number of hours supported per position under the First Jobs Fund is 150 hours.

Monitoring and Reporting

Monthly program reports will be required for each program. Form and content will be determined by Manitoba.

Program reports will be required within 15 days of the end of the month to which the report pertains. The final program report will be required within 30 days of the end date of the program.

All programs may be subject to financial, statistical and in-person program visits/monitoring throughout the duration of the program. Receipts for approved program costs and proof of hours worked for work experience placements, job-coaching and/or workplace mentorship are required.

All programs will be asked to complete a program assessment which will assist in evaluating the effectiveness of the program.

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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.

Office Location

If you require further information, please contact:

Manitoba Economic Development and Jobs
First Jobs Fund Program
230-800 Portage Avenue
Winnipeg, MB R3G 0N4
Phone: 204-945-3556

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