Compared to last August, 5100 more Aboriginal people are employed in Saskatchewan. Of this 1,500 are Aboriginal youth. This is a good indicator that partnerships with First Nations people to participate in the new Saskatchewan are working.
For example our government recently partnered with the Prince Albert Métis Women's Association (PAMWA) and the federal government. This partnership offers youth an opportunity to gain the skills, knowledge and experience they need to enter and succeed in the job market.
The PAMWA is receiving more than $224,000 from the Saskatchewan Ministry of the Economy and over $130,000 from the Skills Link program to help youth overcome barriers to employment. Skills Link is part of the Government of Canada’s Youth Employment Strategy (YES).
We want our youth to participate in this exciting and growing Saskatchewan economy. Grassroots skills training programs are what facilitates the transition into the workplace, and into a position where they can successfully build a career. Saskatchewan’s labour market is saturated with job opportunities. On September 10, 2013, there were over 1000 jobs posted for Prince Albert at saskjobs.ca. If there’s ever a time for our youth to be seeking employment it is right now.
In August 2013, 15,800 new jobs were created in Saskatchewan when compared to August 2012. Nearly one-third of the new opportunities were filled by First Nation and Metis people. Saskatchewan businesses have also been hiring more of our young people (ages 15 to 24) as the youth unemployment rate was 7.2 per cent in August. This is the lowest in Canada and well below the national average of 14.1 per cent.
For the eighth consecutive month, Saskatchewan continues to have the lowest unemployment rate in the nation at 4.2 per cent. The biggest employment gains were found in manufacturing, health care and social assistance. These new opportunities brought Saskatchewan’s labour to an all-time high of 594,800. It’s no secret that Saskatchewan is a great place to live, work and raise a family and new figures from Statistics Canada support that.
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I am also pleased that more than 4,500 students have benefited from the new Saskatchewan Advantage Scholarship in its first year. The program provided more than $2.2 million in scholarships to assist students with their post-secondary education.
Students have up to 10 years from graduation to access the scholarship which reduces tuition up to $500 per year to a lifetime maximum of $2,000. The Saskatchewan Advantage Scholarship is available to new Saskatchewan Grade 12 graduates who enroll at a Saskatchewan post-secondary institution. The institution will apply on the student’s behalf.
While the Saskatchewan Advantage Scholarship is reducing tuition fees for students, those same students can also get all of their tuition back, up to $20,000, if they stay and work in Saskatchewan after they finish their post-secondary education.
In the 2012 taxation year, close to $52 million in Graduate Retention Program benefits were provided to 50,000 graduates. This means more young people are choosing to live and work in Saskatchewan after finishing their education and that's one of the reasons our province is growing at its fastest pace in decades.
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There is still time for seniors to explore Saskatchewan at a great price. Until September 30, 2013, seniors 60+ will be able to ride anywhere along STC’s network for only $10 one-way. This program is extremely popular and is a great way to keep Saskatchewan families and friends connected. In 2012, more than 30,000 seniors took advantage of seat sale month.
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During this warm sunny fall season I am thankful for the strong work ethic that is the culture of our province. As I harvest my garden veggies, Saskatchewan farmers are working day and night to bring in the crops. Other workers are being diligent to utilize the short construction season, to complete the twinning of Highway 11 and other projects. Please, be safe in all that you do.
As I consult with people about issues that matter to them, I want you to know that your voice is heard, your message matters, and together we will keep moving Saskatchewan forward.
Victoria Jurgens is the MLA for Prince Albert Northcote. Constituents can contact her office by calling 306-922-4220, visit her website at http://mlajurgens.ca or email email@example.com. Her office is located at 5A 598 15th St. E. across from Superstore.