News release

Province Invests in High-Value Work Experience for Students

Students and employers in the province will have more access to co-operative education opportunities thanks to the province's new Strategic Co-operative Education Incentive.

Economic and Rural Development and Tourism Minister Percy Paris announced the program, an initiative of jobsHere, at Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax, today, Feb. 8.

"The province is pleased to be investing $1.8 million into this important incentive, doubling the amount of co-op positions funded annually to 450," said Mr. Paris.

"The way ahead is high-value jobs. Nova Scotians need more opportunities to learn valued skills to step into these roles. Co-operative education helps them to do just that."

The Strategic Co-operative Education Incentive provides organizations 50 per cent of the required minimum hourly wage of $15 an hour.

The new program combines the province's current non-profit based Co-operative Employment Program and the Private Sector Research and Development Co-operative Program. The budget for these two programs was $800,000 and is included in the $1.8-million budget for the new program.

Eligibility is now expanded to include all private sector, government-funded and non-profit organizations.

The program will assist high-value businesses and organizations across the region to recruit and retain students for work placements. Approvals will be based on the opportunity for increased productivity, career-related experience, and future opportunities to retain students in full-time, long-term employment in Nova Scotia.

"We are pleased to see the province supporting co-operative education, which is such an important aspect of post-secondary education and career development," said Elizabeth Church, vice-president, academic, Mount Saint Vincent University.

"Over the last 30 years, we have seen our students benefit from the co-op experience. Eighty-one per cent of our 2008 and 2009 co-op grads secured employment in their field of study within six months of graduation."

In 1979, Mount Saint Vincent University became one of the first post-secondary institution to offer co-operative education in the Maritimes. Over the past five years, 300 of Mount Saint Vincent University's work placements were funded through the province's co-operative education programs. Universities and community colleges across the province offer co-operative education programs. Last year more than 1,800 work placements were completed by students attending a Nova Scotia institution.

"I have had the opportunity to go on three co-op terms, where I've gained invaluable personal and professional experience," said Cassidy Quinton, public relations co-op student. "This initiative is one to be applauded, and on behalf of the co-operative students at this university and others, thank you for contributing to our futures."

jobsHere is the provincial economic growth plan to strengthen Nova Scotia's workforce with the right skills for good jobs, increase productivity and advance global competitiveness to grow the economy and make life better for families.

Applications can be found at www.gov.ns.ca/econ/sep/scei . For more information call 1-800-424-5418 or 424-6000. The deadline for summer work placement funding is Feb. 28.

FOR BROADCAST USE:

Students and employers will have more access to co-operative education opportunities thanks to the province's new Strategic Co-operative Education Incentive.

Economic and Rural Development and Tourism Minister Percy Paris says the province is investing one-point-eight million dollars in the incentive.

Mr. Paris says the way ahead is high-value jobs and Nova Scotians need more opportunities to learn valued skills to step into these roles. He says co-operative education helps them to do that.

The incentive provides organizations 50 per cent of the required minimum hourly wage of 15 dollars an hour.

Eligibility is now expanded to include all private sector, government-funded and non-profit organizations.

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Media Contacts:

Bailey Williams
Economic and Rural Development and Tourism 902-424-5836 Cell: 902-237-9986 E-mail:
Akiko Lovett
Mount Saint Vincent University 902-457-6439 Cell: 902-441-0505 E-mail: