CEE Centre For Young Black Professionals

About Us

The CEE Centre for Young Black Professionals is a charity dedicated to addressing economic and social barriers affecting black youth ages 14 and over in the GTA.

For over a decade, we have provided workforce development, education, and advocacy programs. With over 1000 youth graduating since our inception, our partnerships, curriculum standardization, and support have been vital in achieving our mission.


Program And Sector Activities:

Located in the vibrant city of Toronto, CEE is deeply committed to nurturing a diverse pool of talented Young Black Professionals who contribute significantly to the Canadian labor market. Our programs are thoughtfully crafted to elevate their careers, education, and overall empowerment, encompassing a holistic, individual-focused approach that resonates with their cultural backgrounds.

At present, our array of programs is strategically designed to address critical gaps within six key sectors: Technology, Entertainment, Social Services, Finance, Trades, and Hospitality. By offering professional development opportunities, our aim is to fortify the social service sector in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). Through our comprehensive CEE Essentials Training Suite, we provide frontline staff with responsive programming and cultural competence training. Over the past year, CEE has been fortunate to welcome a dedicated cohort of new team members who bring unwavering passion, expertise, and a profound commitment to the community we serve.


Looking ahead, CEE’s Ascent Towards Becoming a National Organization:

As we embark on our eleventh year of programming, CEE remains steadfast in our mission to create boundless opportunities for young Black professionals, shatter stereotypes, and transform “I cannot” into “I can” for our youth, and communities. We are immensely proud to announce our expansion beyond the confines of the GTA, with our programs branching out to various regions across the country. This remarkable growth exemplifies our unwavering dedication to making a resounding national impact.

Our vision mission

We envision a society and economy in which Black youth achieve economic stability and a stronger knowledge of themselves through culturally relevant job training that nurtures their potential and promotes positive contributions towards building prosperous communities.

We want to create a society and economy in which Black youth can achieve financial prosperity and a high quality of life for themselves and their families. We work to achieve this in collaboration with Black youth, their families, employers, and the broader community.

The history of CEE

CEE is an esteemed legacy initiative of the Youth Challenge Fund, established in 2006 in response to the alarming rise of youth violence in Toronto, notably marked by the “summer of gun.” Dr. Kofi Hope founded the organization in 2012 and served as the Executive Director until 2018, passing the torch to the current Executive Director, Agapi Gessesse, who spearheads our ambitious efforts to scale the organization. In 2013, Shereen Ashman laid the foundation for our program model and the esteemed CEE Essentials curriculum, which have become integral pillars of our organization’s success.

As we proudly celebrate our 10th year of programming and service to Black youth in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), CEE Centre for Young Black Professionals has been at the forefront of introducing groundbreaking programs within industries that face labor gaps across Canada. Our innovative initiatives span sectors such as Finance, Social Services, E-Trades, Hospitality, and Cybersecurity. Through unwavering dedication, we have guided and supported 492 young individuals to successfully graduate from our programs, boasting an impressive retention rate of 96%.

Recognized as a trusted partner, CEE has forged meaningful collaborations with grassroots and incorporated non-profit organizations within the GTA, all sharing a collective vision of uplifting the Black community. Our commitment to fostering innovation and knowledge-sharing led us to establish the Black to the Future Community of Practice. Furthermore, our renowned CEE Essentials curriculum  has not only been embraced by fellow non-profits within Ontario but has also extended its reach to neighboring provinces such as Quebec and Alberta in Canada, as well as Houston, Texas in the United States.

Over the past decade, CEE has cultivated strong relationships with funders, employers, unions, corporations, and collaborative partners who have become unwavering allies in our mission. Together, we tirelessly work towards ensuring the success, social well-being, and economic prosperity of our members.

As we embark on our 11th year of programming in the 2023-2024 fiscal year, CEE remains steadfast in its unwavering commitment to providing pathways of opportunity for young Black professionals. We are dedicated to breaking stereotypes and empowering every individual with the transformative belief that “I cannot” becomes an empowering “I can” for our youth, their families, and the wider community we proudly serve.

Important documents about the foundation of CEE

What We Do?

Our core Values

1.  Person-centred Work: CEE treats each member as an individual with unique experiences and contexts. We work with our members to develop their own pathways to achieve their aspirations. The needs and perspectives of our members are always at the forefront of our decision-making as an organization.

2.  Strong Partnerships: CEE understands the importance of working in collaboration not a being in competition with other community groups. CEE is committed to working with strong partners with a track record of success in delivering programs that benefit Black youth.

Social Justice

CEE’s work with Black youth in Toronto is a part of the larger struggle for economic justice, dignity and equity for all human beings. Wherever possible CEE will work to support other organizations and individuals who are striving for social justice in our communities.

Building Community

CEE makes it a priority to invest its resources within the Black community and specifically with those from marginalized neighbourhoods. We also are focused on building connections between Black youth and their larger communities.


CEE uses an anti-oppression model to create an equitable, accessible and inclusive space. Discrimination of any kind is not tolerated.

Respect for Diversity in Black Communities

CEE understands that youth who identify as “Black” come from a variety of backgrounds, regions, cultures and religions. Our programming is inclusive of the different Black experiences young people have in Toronto.

Designed by: Avando Mitchell
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