Almost 200 unemployed older workers across the province will receive help finding work, thanks to a new program called the Targeted Initiative for Older Workers. A joint investment of $1.8 million was announced today, Oct. 11, by Education Minister Karen Casey and MP Gerald Keddy, on behalf of Monte Solberg, federal Minister of Human Resources, in support of the older worker initiative. “An aging population is causing the workforce in Nova Scotia to change, and our government is committed to providing educational resources to assist older workers through these changes,” said Ms. Casey. “Our older workers are a valuable resource, and this program supports our efforts in providing them with the support they need to obtain and upgrade their skills.” The first 13 projects funded under the program will be delivered by organizations across the province who support older workers. The support will include employment-assistance activities, essential-skills upgrading, preparation for self-employment and work experience. “Government has made a commitment to creating the best-educated, most-skilled and most-flexible workforce in the world,” said Mr. Keddy. “Because there is currently a worker shortage in Canada, we cannot, and must not, overlook the experience of older workers. With active support, these workers will continue to make an important contribution to their communities.” The initiative also supports the efforts of existing programs such as Nova Scotia’s Age Advantage Initiative. This program was designed to help displaced and unemployed older workers navigate life and work changes. The Targeted Initiative for Older Workers is a $70-million federal commitment that provides programming until March 31, 2009. Under this initiative, the provinces and territories that choose to participate have responsibility for identifying vulnerable communities and project design, and delivery. The participating provinces and territories then work with organizations in affected communities to develop projects. “At NSCC, we welcome and support learners and industry partners of all ages, cultures, career backgrounds and aspirations,” said Joan McArthur-Blair, president of the Nova Scotia Community College, which received funding under the initiative. “Diversity is an essential contributor to our province’s prosperity. Older workers contribute great knowledge and experience to the success of our economy, and they serve as role models for the next generation of industry leaders.” The program is part of the government of Canada’s two-part strategy for assisting older workers. In addition to this initiative, an expert panel on older workers has been appointed to study labour-market conditions affecting older workers. The panel is looking at other potential measures to help older workers, including improved training and enhanced income support. The initiative for older workers offers programming to meet the immediate needs of unemployed older workers pending the outcome of the study. For more information see the website at www.olderworker.ca .
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