CAREERS: The Next Generation Gets Boost From The Province

The government of Alberta is increasing funding to connect students with in-demand jobs.

The provincial government announced Wednesday they will triple the annual funding of CAREERS: The Next Generation to more than $6 million a year – by 2022-23.

This will help provide 6,000 students with paid internships, skilled trades and technology learning opportunities in elementary, junior high and high school.

In a release, Premier Jason Kenney says this is all about preparing young Albertans for great careers and ensuring future prosperity.

“We believe that a trade certificate has every bit as much value and merit as a university degree, and that apprenticeship learning deserves as much support as classroom programs. CAREERS: The Next Generation is a fantastic way of getting more young Albertans into trade apprenticeships,” the Premier said.

This funding will double the number of schools involved with CAREERS to 1,000 from 494 and quadruple the number of learning opportunities for students.

Minister of Advanced Education Demetrios Nicolaides says a skilled workforce is the backbone of a prosperous economy.

“We need to encourage more youth to enter into the skilled trades to address both the looming skilled labour shortage and one of the highest youth unemployment rates Alberta has seen in decades. CAREERS: The Next Generation is a critical partner helping to make that happen by re-energizing skills development and renewing the Alberta Advantage. We promised Albertans that we would invest in skilled trades education so that our young people can choose careers that will provide secure, good-paying jobs.”

In addition, schools are offered age-appropriate programs, with high school students matched to employers via internships, apprenticeships, camps, workshops and mentoring.

Registered Apprenticeship Program student Aurora Erickson speaks with Premier Jason Kenney. Photo courtesy: Jason Kenney’s Twitter

Minister of Education Adriana LaGrange says it’s important for students to have opportunities to explore their career choices beyond high school.

“By providing them with hands-on learning programs in areas such as technology and the trades, we are improving their future employability. I have heard from both school boards and industry stakeholders how valuable the Registered Apprenticeship Program and Career and Technology Studies are as an important first step to engage students, improve high school completion rates, and build a qualified and educated workforce.”

CAREERS say the funding will help them double the number of schools where it provides programs up to 550 high schools and 450 elementary and junior highs having access to apprenticeship learning.

Last year, CAREERS helped place nearly 1600 students in paid internships with 816 employers in 247 communities.

Board Chair for CAREERS Jim Carter says this will allow them to help thousands of youth get a head start on their future.

“In partnership with schools, CAREERS provides real-world experience to help our youth make more informed career decisions and encourages them to pursue post-secondary education. CAREERS works closely with industry, linking youth to occupations that will help build a motivated, productive and innovative workforce and support Alberta’s economic success.”

Since 1997, CAREERS has grown from 57 employers to 816 in 2018.

Over the next 5 years, nearly 20 thousand skilled trades workers are expected to retire – with around 45 thousand over the next 10 years.

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