Feds invest in student summer jobs

Minister of State for Finance Ted Menzies. REUTERS/Chris Wattie

Minister of State for Finance Ted Menzies. REUTERS/Chris Wattie

Bill Kaufmann, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 5:55 PM ET

CALGARY — The federal government is pumping $107.5 million into creating student summer jobs this year to help reduce high youth unemployment.

The goal is to create 36,000 jobs across the country for post-secondary students, Minister of State Ted Menzies said Thursday.

"It helps students get necessary skills and tangible work experience and helps them earn money for the coming school year," said Menzies, who made the announcement at the University of Calgary.

"When talking to business, skills shortages are their most pressing concern. We need every bit of talent at work in this country."

Employers with fewer than 50 staff members can apply in February for funding to hire.

During the recent recession, youth unemployment was at 15%. Many university graduates were unable to find work that suited their level of education.

Menzies said those challenges remain, adding the summer work program will help give young people a head start when they graduate.

"Many young Canadians are graduating into unemployment rather than jobs and a career," he said, adding his own son's engineering career benefited from a similar scheme.

Adam Rousselle, a second-year political science student at the U of C, said the program has already helped him by funding earlier employment in his home province of New Brunswick.

"Programs like these are essential to Canada's young people," said Rousselle, 26.

The program will cover up to 100% of the minimum wage and mandatory costs of not-for-profit employers, while smaller business and public sector workplaces are eligible for 50% coverage.

Employers can apply at servicecanada.gc.ca/csj2013.