Students looking to gain work experience and explore careers within their community, now have more opportunities through the new Career Rising program.
The Career Rising program is delivered in partnership with the Nova Scotia Co-operative Council, providing skills development camps and work experience within the agricultural and resource sectors. The program supports dependents of clients receiving income assistance through the Employment Support and Income Assistance program and youth in care (ages 15 to 19).
“At first, I was very nervous to start work, but the program helped me learn how to be more responsible. The program taught me how to achieve my goals and how to be more productive overall,” said Fallon, age 16, a student participating in the Career Rising program in North Sydney. “I am really happy to be working here. This program is making me think about what I want to do after I graduate high school.”
Following the success of the pilot project last year the Department of Community Services has made Career Rising a permanent program, now with added incentives for students.
The program features four components:
— a two-week skills-development camp focused on building self-confidence, leadership skills, work readiness, financial literacy and career exploration
— a paid work experience with a local employer within the agricultural and resource sectors
— and new this year, post-work experience support that includes resume development, and ongoing connection to community and supports throughout the school year
— also new, a post-secondary grant compromised of matched wages at 25 per cent (up to a maximum of $1,200 per year) by community services and $500 per student from the Credit Union Atlantic, to help encourage students to attend post-secondary and alleviate future post-secondary costs.
“The students are great workers,” said Charlotte Paul, owner of Dragonfly Haven Therapeutic Farm. “They provided loving care for the animals, including feeding and chores, they worked independently in an outside positive work environment within our farm setting.”
Last year, 15 youth completed the pilot and this year, 34 youth have successfully completed. Forty employers participated in the program, providing valuable work experiences and mentorship support.
“Engaging and supporting youth, our future leaders, has always been a priority for Nova Scotia Co-operatives and Credit Unions,” said Dianne Kelderman, president and CEO, Nova Scotia Co-operative Council. “We are thrilled to partner with the Department of Community Services to engage and support even more youth, and hopefully together, we have given them new skills and experience, and a path of options and hope for the future.”
“When we heard of the Career Rising program we knew this was a great opportunity for us to encourage and support a group of young students who have an interest, but may not see themselves going to post-secondary education because of financial challenges,” said Darrell Kuhn, president and CEO Community Credit Union. “Because of that, we are allocating $12,000 a year to a tuition trust to specifically support youth participating in the Career Rising program.”
“By implementing this new program, we are hoping to give youth valuable work skills and experience, while helping them to plan for their future and self-sufficiency,” said Kelly Regan, Minister of Community Services. “At the same time, we’re also helping to give much needed support to the agricultural and resource industries in our rural communities.”
To participate in the program, youth and families can visit their local Community Services office to learn more or call 1-877-424-1177.