ST. JOHN'S, NL, April 5, 2013 /CNW/ - Dr. Kellie Leitch, Parliamentary Secretary to the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, today emphasized the importance of youth having the right skills to address the needs of the job market during a visit to the YMCA of Northeast Avalon.
"Our government's top priorities are creating jobs, economic growth and long-term prosperity," said Dr. Leitch. "The Government of Canada's Youth Employment Strategy is helping youth in Newfoundland and Labrador develop the skills and gain the experience they need to get jobs now and prepare for the workforce of tomorrow."
Last year, the Government of Canada provided over $10.8 million through the Youth Employment Strategy to help young people in Newfoundland and Labrador make a successful transition to the workplace.
The YMCA of Northeast Avalon is receiving over $384,000 from the Skills Link program to help youth overcome barriers to employment. Skills Link is part of the Government of Canada's Youth Employment Strategy.
Through workshops, participants will gain valuable life and job skills such as effective communication and computer skills. Additionally, they will gain work experience with local employers.
During her visit to St. John's, Dr. Leitch also spoke about skills and training measures in Economic Action Plan 2013 and also toured Academy Canada, the largest independent career college in eastern Canada. Academy Canada provides career-based training programs that combine academic knowledge with hands-on training.
"The labour development initiatives proposed by the federal government in its 2013 budget are very progressive and will prove highly effective in closing the skilled labour gap that currently exists," said James Loder, President of the National Association of Career Colleges. "We're very proud to be an active participant in building the workforce of the future in partnership with the Government of Canada."
With an annual budget of more than $300 million, the Youth Employment Strategy (YES) helps youth, particularly those facing barriers to employment, obtain career information, develop employment skills, find jobs and stay employed. YES includes the Skills Link and Career Focus programs and the Canada Summer Jobs initiative, which creates thousands of job opportunities for students every summer.
Economic Action Plan 2012 provided an extra $50 million over two years to enhance YES with a new initiative that connects young Canadians with jobs that are in high demand and helps them develop tangible skills and gain work experience.
Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes new measures to connect Canadians with available jobs and equip them with the skills and training they need. These include the Canada Job Grant, creating opportunities for apprentices and providing support to under-represented groups such as persons with disabilities, youth, Aboriginal peoples and newcomers. For example, Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes an additional investment of $70 million over three years to support 5 000 more paid internships.
Youth Employment Strategy
The Youth Employment Strategy (YES) is the Government of Canada's commitment to help youth make a successful transition to the workplace.
Skills Link, which is part of YES, helps youth facing barriers to employment, including youth who are single parents, youth with disabilities, young newcomers and youth in rural and remote areas, to develop the skills and gain the experience needed to find a job or the confidence to return to school.
To learn more about Canada's Youth Employment Strategy and other youth employment initiatives, please visit youth.gc.ca.
Economic Action Plan 2013 announced specific new measures to address skills mismatches and labour shortages. These include:
Canada Job Grant
The Canada Job Grant will ensure Canadians are able to obtain the qualifications they need to get jobs in high-demand fields. The Grant will provide $15,000 or more per person, including a maximum $5,000 federal contribution and matching contributions from provinces, territories and employers. Businesses with a plan to train Canadians for an existing job or a better job will be eligible to apply for a Canada Job Grant. Upon full implementation, nearly 130 000 Canadians each year are expected to be able to access the training they need to obtain gainful employment or improve their skills for in-demand jobs. The Canada Job Grant will be introduced in 2014-15 as part of the renewal of the Labour Market Agreements.
Opportunities for Apprentices
To further reduce barriers to accreditation in the skilled trades in Canada and increase opportunities for apprentices, the Government will work with provinces and territories to harmonize requirements for apprentices, and examine the use of practical hands-on tests as a method of assessment, in targeted skilled trades. This will support more apprentices in completing their training and encourage mobility across the country.
In addition, the Government will support the use of apprentices in federal construction and maintenance contracts. The Government will also ensure that funds transferred to provinces and territories through the Investment in Affordable Housing Program support the use of apprentices. As part of the new Building Canada plan for infrastructure, the Government will encourage provinces, territories and municipalities to support the use of apprentices in infrastructure projects receiving federal funding.
Support for Under-represented Groups
Economic Action Plan 2013 will also support labour market participation and a more inclusive skilled workforce with a range of measures including:
- An introduction of a new generation of Labour Market Agreements for Persons with Disabilities with an investment of $222 million per year to better meet the employment needs of Canadian businesses and improve the employment prospects for people with disabilities.
- A reallocation of $19 million over two years to promote education in high-demand fields, including the skilled trades, science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
- Investing $70 million over three years to support an additional 5 000 paid internships for recent post-secondary graduates, ensuring they get the valuable hands-on work experience needed to transition into the workforce.
- Dedicating $241 million over five years to improve the on-reserve Income Assistance Program to help ensure Aboriginal youth can access the skills and training they need to secure employment.
- Maintaining funding at $40 million per year, starting in 2015-16, for the Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities. The program will also be reformed to provide more demand-driven training solutions for persons with disabilities and make it more responsive to labour market needs. Employers and community organizations will be involved in project design and delivery.
- Extending the Enabling Accessibility Fund at a level of $15 million per year, to support capital costs of construction and renovations to improve physical accessibility for persons with disabilities, including workplace accommodation.
For more information about these initiatives, visit www.actionplan.gc.ca
SOURCE: Canada's Economic Action Plan
For further information:
Director of Communications
Office of Minister Finley
Media Relations Office
Human Resources and Skills Development Canada
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This news release is available online at actionplan.gc.ca.