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Students and Youth Not Fooled by Graduate to Opportunities

For Immediate Release

Halifax, NS – Students were unimpressed as the Government of Nova Scotia announced the Graduate to Opportunities program this morning. Students Nova Scotia noted that the program does not come close to offsetting the more than $40 million taken away from students and recent graduates with the elimination of the Graduate Retention Rebate. Meanwhile, the program undergoing a very slow roll-out and it’s unclear to what extent it will create new jobs.

“Today’s announcement will not dupe students and youth into forgetting about how this government cut the Graduate Retention Rebate,” said Brandon Hamilton, StudentsNS President. “When handed a bill for as much as $49 million per year, we’re not going to be placated by a cheque for $6.5 million, post-dated for 2016.”

The Graduate to Opportunities program is being provided $1.6 million in year 1, $3.2 million in year 2 and then $6.5 million in year 3. It will reimburse eligible employers for 25% and 12.5% of a new graduate’s salaries for their first and second year of employment respectively. The Province did take the positive step of extending the program to employers for two years, in response to concerns from StudentsNS and other groups.

“We need to create more jobs for recent graduates and hiring incentives can help to do that, but the Province needs to make sure this program actually creates new jobs,” said StudentsNS Executive Director, Jonathan Williams. “This program does little to ensure businesses aren’t being funded for hiring they would have done anyway.”

Nova Scotia has experienced net youth out-migration every year since 1985. StudentsNS has been calling on the Province to create a youth employment, attraction and retention strategy, using the funds it cut through the elimination of the Graduate Retention Rebate.

“When it comes to youth, Nova Scotia is on a 29-year losing streak and we can’t just fire the coach, we have to act,” said Hamilton. “Where’s the OneNS Report’s urgency? We need to fight for young people.”

For more information on StudentsNS’ call for action on youth employment, retention and attraction visit http://farewelltonovascotia.ca/

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Students Nova Scotia is a not-for-profit and non-partisan advocacy group that represents 37,794 Nova Scotia post-secondary students, including 86% of the university student population. Our members study at Acadia, Cape Breton, Dalhousie, Saint Mary’s, and St. Francis Xavier Universities, the Kingstec Campus of the Nova Scotia Community College, and the Atlantic School of Theology.

For more information, please contact:

Jonathan Williams, StudentsNS Executive Director

Phone: 902 483 5480

Email: director@studentsns.ca

Or

Brandon Hamilton, StudentsNS President

Phone: 902 867 2435

Email: president@studentsns.ca

Kate Elliot