The federal government is spending $73 million to create 10,000 work placements for students over the next four years.
The federal government is promising to create 10,000 paid student work placements in key industries over the next four years through a new $73-million program set to be unveiled Monday in Toronto.
The funding was originally announced in the 2016 budget, but details of how the government plans to create these connections between students and employers haven’t been released until now, just in time for the 2017-18 school year.
Patty Hajdu, minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, told the Star the goal is to provide incentives to companies to hire students in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) industries, as well as the business sector.
“There does tend to be a bit of a lag between students graduating and getting a position in their field,” Hajdu said.
“This allows us to try to address that and to close that gap.”
Starting this school year, the program will provide wage subsidies to participating companies to host active students who need to finish work placements to complete their post-secondary programs. According to Hajdu’s office, the government will pay 50 per cent of the student’s wages — up to $5,000 — and 70 per cent of the wages, totalling up to $7,000, for first-year students and “underrepresented groups” such as women in male-dominated programs, Indigenous students and people with disabilities.
Hajdu said the placements are meant to be flexible and could include anything from three-month contracts to part-time work a couple days per week.
“It’s designed in that way so that a variety of different programs and courses of study can take advantage of this,” she said.
The government has inked deals with five industry groups that include companies willing to take on students through work placements, in fields including information and communication technology, aerospace and aviation, the environment, and biotechnology and business.
Hajdu said work continues to link more sectors to the program, and the department is pushing for one with financial services.
“This is really around incenting employers to take on students and then having that fringe benefit of them saying, ‘I’ve invested some time in this person, this could be a real asset to me to hire this person,’ ” she said.
“We think it’s a really effective way of playing matchmaker, if you will.”
Original article written by Alex Ballingall can be found here.