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Government invests $10 million to better help underrepresented workers get jobs

NOW participants Jacob Neary and Chuck Seale, owner of Panda Print in New Minas.
NOW participants Jacob Neary and Chuck Seale, owner of Panda Print in New Minas. - Submitted

KENTVILLE – The province has announced its investment of millions in a new project seeking to help people without jobs find new opportunities.

The announcement happened Feb. 26 at the Valley African Nova Scotian Development Association in Kentville and revealed the project has received $10 million from the government.

The project focuses on helping people who are underrepresented in the workforce – First Nations, African Nova Scotians, racially visible people, people on Employment Support and Income Assistance, persons with a disability, and workers over the age of 55.

It also offers supports to both new employees and the businesses that hire them with things like higher wages for participating employees, a subsidy for the employer’s wages, and supports and training for both, among others.

Ten organizations are now on board, including the Valley African Nova Scotia Development Association at the Nova Scotia Works Centre in Kentville.

"I see the program as a great opportunity to gain employment for those who are unemployed and looking to broaden their horizons,” said Dana Upshaw, who participates in the program out of Workplace Essentials in Port Williams.

"The benefit of working locally and not having to look elsewhere for work is the biggest highlight for me. The process was quick and I was working at my new job within a few weeks.”

According to a release, the project has so far linked 170 people to over 100 workplaces.

The Centre for Employment Innovation, Nova Scotia Works Centres, Nova Scotia Career Development Association, Labour and Advanced Education and Employment Nova Scotia are all involved in the project.

“This program is helping to bridge the gap between people who are underrepresented in our workforce and Nova Scotia employers who need trained workers," said Municipal Affairs Minister Derek Mombourquette, on behalf of Labour and Advanced Education Minister Labi Kousoulis.

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