Government is piloting new supports for young people on income assistance to help them become independent and get into the workforce more quickly.
The EDGE pilot program is a job search and readiness program designed for young adults aged 18 to 26 who receive Employment Supports and Income Assistance. The program is the first of its kind in Nova Scotia.
“This program is part of our commitment to helping young people find a path into the job market,” said Premier Stephen McNeil.
“We want to make sure every Nova Scotian has the opportunity to be part of the economy and succeed in this province. I’m proud that young adults came forward to help design this program that builds skills and confidence.”
EDGE is delivered in peer groups, with mentorship and youth-focused supports. It helps young adults develop skills and gain access to the resources they need in a supportive environment designed to meet their needs.
“I am so pleased to be able to offer our young adults more options to help them reach their goals,” said Minister of Community Services Kelly Regan. “The program resulted from listening to young people and responding to what they need to be independent.”
“Going through a patch of hard luck, EDGE helped by connecting me with peers in the same situation, a good atmosphere to socialize and work in, and helped ease my sense of frustration and isolation,” said Brandon, 25, program participant.
The program is delivered in two sites, by three service providers, MetroWorks in Halifax Regional Municipality, and Community INC., partnered with The Portal Youth Centre in Kentville.
“The EDGE program efficiently helped us fill two positions with well-prepared and responsible young people,” said Rachel Bedingfield, Kentville Department of Parks and Recreation. “We value our role in mentoring local young people to build skills and experience. It is clear that because these youth are supported by the EDGE staff and program, they are continuing to be successful in their jobs.”
“Programs like EDGE not only support youth with employment, but they also drive economic development by strengthening our future workforce to meet the needs of our diverse business community,” said Dave Rideout, president and CEO of MetroWorks.
Government has invested $1 million in the EDGE pilot program. Under changes to Employment Supports and Income Assistance, the department is building supports to help young people build connections to communities, self-confidence, a career path and independence from income assistance, breaking the cycle of poverty from generation to generation.
Those interested in learning more about the EDGE program in these regions should contact their Employment Supports and Income Assistance caseworker or call 1-877-424-1177.
Source : Media Release