Province Expands Youth Initiatives

The province is creating more opportunities to connect Nova Scotia youth and employers to help recent graduates find jobs in their fields.

Premier Stephen McNeil announced the expansion of the Connector Program to the Annapolis Valley during an event today, May 10, in Wolfville. This is part of government’s plan to roll out the program across the province. It is currently available in western Nova Scotia, Halifax and Cape Breton.

The program helps connect local business and community leaders with youth and new immigrants who are interested in starting and growing their careers in the province. It will be delivered by the province’s Valley Regional Enterprise Network by September, at a cost of $100,000.

“Young people are looking for guidance, skill building and career opportunity, and business leaders are looking for new ideas and fresh talent,” said Premier McNeil. “This program is seeing results in other parts of the province and we’re grateful for the support of partners and business leaders who have been mentors, made space for youth in their organizations and contributed to a positive outlook about the success that youth and new Nova Scotians can find here in Nova Scotia.

“Recruiting, retaining and increasing the participation of youth in our workforce will strengthen our businesses, our economy and our communities.”

Government has also added $1.7 million to the Graduate to Opportunity program funding this year, bringing the total budget to $6.5 million. This is a wage subsidy program for employers who hire recent graduates.

Colibri Software, located in Wolfville, develops innovative technical solutions for smaller local companies and large US based multi-nationals. The company recently hired James Walsh of Sheffield Mills in the Annapolis Valley who graduated from Acadia University in 2016 with a bachelor of computer science.

“We bring ideas to life and work closely with our customers to deliver the right solutions,” said John Read, president, Colibri Software. “The Graduate to Opportunity program has provided us with the opportunity to offset some of the costs associated with hiring a recent graduate while providing new grads with the opportunity to gain real world experience in their field.”

Quick facts on programs helping young people find employment:
— since its launch in February 2015, the Graduate to Opportunity program has helped more than 550 post-secondary graduates secure full-time work in their chosen fields. This includes 33 companies that have hired 39 new graduates in the Annapolis Valley
— in spring 2017 the 10 per cent diversity bonus was added to the Graduate to Opportunity program. About 80 diverse graduates have already been hired
— the Connector Program has connected 2,500 people to local business and community leaders
— launched in January 2018, Innovate to Opportunity offers a wage subsidy to businesses looking to hire recent graduates with advanced degrees. This program also offers an additional 10 per cent incentive for diverse candidates
— the Co-Op Education Incentive supports more than 500 work experience placements for post-secondary co-op students each year at over 300 organizations
— the Student Summer Skills Incentive provides work placements for more than 800 individual students with more than 500 organizations

Information on the Connector Program in the Annapolis Valley can be found by contacting Emily Kennedy, co-ordinator, Valley Regional Enterprise Network at