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Human Resources, Labour and Employment
January 18, 2010

Graduate Employment Program Expanded Through
Youth Retention and Attraction Strategy

The Williams Government's Youth Retention and Attraction Strategy, a long-term plan that will guide investments aimed at making Newfoundland and Labrador a province of choice for young people, is already having a positive impact through initiatives such as the expansion of the Graduate Employment Program (GEP).

As part of the province's Youth Retention and Attraction Strategy, funding for the GEP will be increased by over $2 million during the next three years, including $200,000 that has been approved to expand the program for the fiscal year 2009-10. This will help create approximately 110 more job placements annually and expand professional development opportunities for program participants.

"When we were developing the strategy, our young people told us that gaining access to employment opportunities, especially quality entry-level positions to help them gain career experience, was their foremost priority," said the Honourable Susan Sullivan, Minister of Human Resources, Labour and Employment and Minister Responsible for Youth Engagement. "Our investment in this program will increase the number of GEP placements available to young people by approximately 50 per cent. This will significantly enhance career development opportunities for our next generation and strengthen our provincial labour market with the young skilled workers we need to meet future demands."

The GEP is a program designed to help recent post-secondary graduates secure valuable work experience as they enter the workforce to begin their careers. The program also benefits employers by providing a wage subsidy towards salary costs as an incentive to hire young, skilled workers that will help their businesses grow and compete. The GEP gives employers 60 per cent of the starting salary for an approved position up to a maximum program contribution of $10,000 over a period of 52 weeks. While the GEP is not restricted to the creation of new positions, it is not intended to be used to displace current employees.

"The Graduate Employment Program is significant for employers and business operators – youth bring skills and learning, as well as new approaches shaped by our university and colleges," said Denis Mahoney, Chair of the Business Coalition. "Youth experience first-hand how workers and employers apply initiative, innovation and hard work to drive successful industries and organizations in Newfoundland and Labrador. It is a smart investment, and I encourage employers and recent graduates throughout the province to find out about the benefits of participating in this program."

The Honourable Danny Williams, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, and Minister Sullivan officially launched Creating A Province of Choice: A Youth Retention and Attraction Strategy for Newfoundland and Labrador on November 5, 2009. Developed by youth, for youth, in close collaboration with business, labour, and community leaders, the strategy is supported by a three-year $15 million budget and contains 41 action items aimed at countering the impacts of out-migration, strengthening the labour market and supporting the economic development of the province. For further information about the province's Youth Retention and Attraction Strategy, visit 

Individuals and employers seeking information about the Graduate Employment Program can visit or call the Labour Market and Career Information Hotline toll-free at 1-800-563-6600.

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Media contacts:

Jennifer Collingwood
Director of Communications
Department of Human Resources, Labour and Employment
709-729-0753, 690-2498
Denis Mahoney
Newfoundland and Labrador Business Coalition
709-722 8735

2010 01 18                                                    10:55 a.m.

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