Youth in Crisis – Cornwall Ontario faces the Brain Drain Challenge

This is the first story of our intern Markus Noé.    Markus It’s our tiny way of trying to help the youth of Cornwall find their place in the community doing the things that mean the most to them.      We hope you enjoy Markus’ first effort for us, and we hope to see more of his work as he continues his path as a journalist.

We’re going to be doing a series of stories about Youth in Cornwall.  If you have a story you wish to share email us at

Youth in Crisis – Markus Noé

The closing of Domtar marked the end of an era for Cornwall. Domtar was the last of what were many high paying factory jobs in the area. In today’s Cornwall, high paying jobs that required minimum education are scarce and the youth of the city find themselves at a crossroad. One path leads away from the city to either university or college and the other path leads to eking out a living at one of the many low paying jobs that are available.

Sarah Newton 23, a graduate of St. FX University with a B.Sc. (Bachelor of Science in Chemistry) is an example of a youth that left Cornwall to further her education and to hopefully open more doors for herself. It has been over a year since Newton graduated and returned to her home and still she has been unable to find full time employment in her field. Newton explained her frustration with her situation when she said, “I believe professional people in my age group of 20-30 are being neglected in this community. There are employment opportunities here but only at very different ends of the spectrum. There are either low paying call center type jobs or good paying jobs that are related to my field but require experience that I am not able to obtain here. In order for young people to stay here the city needs to find a way to bridge the gap.”

For the time being, the abundance of call center jobs that have been created in Cornwall throughout the past decade is a good thing. These jobs have begun to replace those that have been lost in the labour industry. However there are some who believe that the city needs to act now to lure more sustainable jobs to the community. Newton is one of this people, when asked about the benefits to the community these call centers bring she said, “It’s a good short term fix but to rely on these jobs to sustain to community into future is suicide. This type of work provides very narrow experience and one cannot use the experience gained at a call center for much else besides the service industry.”

Adam Brazeau, a reporter for the “le Journal de Cornwall” and graduate of the Journalism program at St. Lawrence college understands the problems that youth face and suggested a solution when he said, “Cornwall really needs an incentive for youth to stay; local businesses that are already established should have internships in place for college programs in which they scout for upcoming local talent. Business should also be given an incentive such as a tax credit for hiring locally.”

Cornwall has been in a downward spiral for decades. One can blame the market, the unequal opportunities created by free trade or just bad luck. Only one thing is for sure, the time for contemplating what went wrong is over and the time to adapt is now. The first step to get this ship back on course is job creation, but not just any types of jobs will do. We need jobs that entice hard-working, young professionals back to their hometown to continue the sustainable growth of our community.

Markus Noé

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