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Executive Council
Human Resources, Labour and Employment
November 5, 2009

Youth Retention and Attraction Strategy Officially Launched

The Honourable Danny Williams, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, today officially launched Creating a Province of Choice: A Youth Retention and Attraction Strategy for Newfoundland and Labrador. The strategy was developed in collaboration with youth with the intent of countering the impacts of out-migration, strengthening the labour market and supporting the economic development of the province. The Premier was joined by the Honourable Susan Sullivan, Minister of Human Resources, Labour and Employment and the minister responsible for the implementation of the Youth Retention and Attraction Strategy.

“This strategy marks the beginning of a new era of partnership with the young people of this province, and reflects our shared commitment to ensuring that Newfoundland and Labrador continues to navigate its way towards prosperity and self-reliance,” said Premier Williams. “With this strategy in place, we are laying a cornerstone in the foundation of our future success. I have always been a strong advocate for meaningful engagement of our youth and we have set out with them on this innovative approach with sound policy directions that will guide government. The young people of our province and our many partners will continue to work together to position Newfoundland and Labrador as a province of choice for young people to live and work.”

The launch was broadcast live over the Internet to an audience of thousands that included students in classrooms throughout the province. During his address, Premier Williams declared Minister Sullivan as Minister Responsible for Youth Engagement as part of the Provincial Government’s new commitment to involving members of the next generation in areas of key concern.

“I am so pleased that our government recognizes and values our youth, and as a reflection of that Premier Williams has created this new role,” said Minister Sullivan. “I am excited to lead this initiative on behalf of the Provincial Government. Working with youth and benefiting from their fresh ideas and perspectives is energizing, and it produces innovative approaches to solving problems and building on strengths. This new strategy is truly the product of the ideas, skills and passion of our youth. Working together, we will make Newfoundland and Labrador a province of choice for young people.”

The strategy is the result of more than a year of research and collaboration between government, youth, nationally respected socio-economic policy researchers, and leaders in the business and labour communities. Part of this process included 13 intensive, day-long deliberative dialogue sessions with over 480 youth from across the province, Alberta and Ontario. Through these sessions, the Provincial Government learned that employment is the number one priority for young people in considering where to live and work. Second to employment among young people’s priorities for retention and attraction, was continued access to affordable, quality education. Therefore, of the 41 strategy action items (listed in the Backgrounder below), over half focus on these two areas.

For example, young people identified the need for better school-to-work transitions, more work experience and easier access to quality entry level jobs. The strategy contains a number of responsive action items including expansion of the existing Graduate Employment Program; expanding access to existing internship opportunities and summer jobs; as well as support of the Advancing Non-Profit and Voluntary Investments in Learning (ANVIL) program. This is an initiative that will help advance work-term opportunities for co-operative education students while providing support to non-profit and voluntary groups that continue to invest in the social, cultural and economic base of Newfoundland and Labrador.

With regard to education, young people reported that the quality of education – with more choices and a continued focus on our strong and affordable education system – was a key factor in keeping students and young families in the province to learn, work and live. To this end, the strategy also builds upon the accomplishments and directions set out by the Skills Task Force to increase access to employment opportunities and supports among apprentices. This includes expanding the Government Apprenticeship Hiring Program to allow for additional apprenticeship placements within Provincial Government departments and agencies and introducing a new wage subsidy program for non EI-eligible apprentices.

“I am proud to have contributed to a process that will help our province become a more welcoming and adaptable place for my generation, as well as future generations,” said Daniel Smith, a member of the Youth Advisory Panel that guided the development of the strategy. “Today’s launch is an exciting starting point for the work that lies ahead, and by working in continued partnership, I am confident we will build a province that young people will always want to call home.”

For more information about Creating a Province of Choice: A Youth Retention and Attraction Strategy for Newfoundland and Labrador, please visit www.youth.gov.nl.ca

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Media contacts:

Elizabeth Matthews
Director of Communications
Office of the Premier
709-729-3960
elizabethmatthews@gov.nl.ca
Andrea Nolan
Press Secretary
Office of the Premier
709-729-4304, 727-0991
andreanolan@gov.nl.ca
 
Jennifer Collingwood
Director of Communications
Department of Human Resources, Labour and Employment
709-729-0753, 690-2498
jennifercollingwood@gov.nl.ca
Daniel Smith
Chair
Canadian Federation of Students Newfoundland and Labrador Office
709-737-3204
chair@cfs-nl.ca


BACKGROUNDER
Creating a Province of Choice: A Youth Retention and Attraction Strategy
for Newfoundland and Labrador

The Youth Retention and Attraction Strategy contains 41 initiatives with a funding commitment of $15 million over the next three years.

These initiatives fall under eight key objectives: Promoting Newfoundland and Labrador, Supporting Education, Enhancing Employment Opportunities, Fostering a High Quality of Life, Celebrating Culture and Diversity, Developing Opportunities Specific to Labrador, Creating Incentives to Stay and Return, and Engaging Youth. For details on each initiative, visit www.youth.gov.nl.ca

DIRECTION 1: YOUTH ENGAGEMENT
1. Installing the role of Minister Responsible for Youth Engagement
2. Creating an Office for Youth Engagement
3. Creating an Youth Partnership Forum
4. Developing an Online Youth Portal
5. Using a “Youth Lens” for program and policy development initiatives
6. Creating of a Youth Engagement Guide
7. Establishing grants for youth engagement and leadership development
8. Supporting community organizations in developing youth responsive strategic plans
9. Supporting youth participation on provincial/regional advisory bodies and planning boards
10. Determining the feasibility of an Online Voter Registry System
11. Supporting the implementation of the “Experiences” program

DIRECTION 2: POSITIONING AND PROMOTING NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR
12. Development of a marketing campaign to highlight the opportunities and benefits of living and working in Newfoundland and Labrador in partnership with business and labour, and ensuring marketing activities for employment and training supports and services include youth as a target audience

DIRECTION 3: EDUCATION
13. Expand the Government Apprenticeship Hiring program
14. Expand wage subsidy program for non-EI eligible apprentices and streamlining existing wage subsidy programs
15. Increase awareness among employers of available employment programs and facilitate timely access
16. Explore opportunities to increase apprenticeship employment opportunities through measures such as the inclusion of a requirement for contractors on large-scale government construction contracts
17. Increase young people’s access to resources for financial literacy and management (e.g. Financial Planning Guide for Students and Youth (BEGIN) and “Economics for Success” program)

DIRECTION 4: EMPLOYMENT AND JOB CREATION
18. Staging an Annual Symposium on Youth Recruitment and Retention
19. Expanding the Graduate Employment Program
20. Supporting the Advancing Non-Profit and Voluntary Investments in Learning (ANVIL)
21. Expanding access to existing internship opportunities and summer jobs
22. Initiating a feasibility paper on family-friendly policy options for Newfoundland and Labrador
23. Expanding access to career information resources
24. Supporting the Public Service in examining best practices for retention of young workers in the Public Service
25. Supporting the Public Service and Office for Youth Engagement in establishing a Provincial Government Support Network for Young Employees
26. Expanding professional development opportunities for participants in the Graduate Employment Program.
27. Supporting youth in accessing information and resources to increase their awareness of workplace safety issues (e.g. “Passport to Safety Program”)
28. Young Entrepreneurs and Innovators Program
29. Best practices manual for family-friendly workplace practices
30. Entrepreneur Mentorship Program
31. A grant program for businesses to implement innovative workplace skills development practices for students
32. Introducing an Export Internship Program
33. Continuing to support the ongoing development of entrepreneurial information resources and employer recruitment and retention resources with a focus on youth

DIRECTION 5: QUALITY OF LIFE AND ACCESS TO REGIONAL SERVICES
34. Implementing a Youth Leadership Scholarship Program focused on high school-aged students who have engaged in meaningful leadership and citizenship volunteer activities in the areas of healthy lifestyles, recreation, health and wellness, and promoting healthy living in their communities

DIRECTION 6: DIVERSITY AND CULTURE
35. International Graduate Retention Incentive
36. Proclaim an Annual Multiculturalism and Diversity Week
37. Work with Aboriginal communities and service providers to better integrate and maximize provincial employment and training supports and services for youth

DIRECTION 7: LABRADOR
38. Implementing Experience Labrador - Exchange Program to provide opportunities for young people from Labrador and the island portion of the province to learn about each others cultures and lifestyles

DIRECTION 8: INCENTIVES TO STAY OR RETURN
39. Examining feasible approaches to providing financial or other incentives for staying or moving to Newfoundland and Labrador
40. Developing a Youth Connections Webpage/Registry that will allow youth and new graduates who move away to stay in touch with what is happening here in the province.
41. Developing a web-based “Guide to Relocation” in Newfoundland and Labrador

2009 11 05                                                   10:05 a.m.
 


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