by Morinville News Staff

The province announced Nov. 3 it will be reinstating the Summer Temporary Employment Program (STEP), a move it says will help students access more job opportunities.

The program returns for the spring of 2016 and will run from May until August. STEP supports employers by providing wage subsidies for more than 3,000 student positions.

The program will subsidize wages paid by employers to encourage summer employment opportunities for students.

The province sees STEP as a way to help students gain valuable work experience while helping small businesses and other employers access a new workforce.

“Students hold the future in their hands. Their success is Alberta’s success, and we need to provide every opportunity to succeed,” said Premier Rachel Notley in a release Tuesday. “That’s why our government is following through on our promise to reinstate STEP. We are helping open doors for students to gain the skills and on-the-job experience they need to enter the workforce and be successful.”

In the past, STEP funding was available to municipalities, non-profits, and frequently used by local libraries, including those in Morinville. Under its relaunch, STEP will be available to small businesses (1-49 employees) for the first time. The program will also be open to municipalities, not-for-profit groups, school boards, and publicly-funded post-secondary institutions.

Romy Garrido, Chair of the Council of Alberta University Students, was pleased with the $10 million announcement.

“Students are pleased to see the Summer Temporary Employment Program returned for summer 2016, just three years after the program was cut by the previous government, Garrido said. “Not only will STEP once again be able to help thousands of students obtain meaningful employment experience, it will also make a big impact in the many communities across Alberta that previously relied on the program.”

The program is available for Albertan employees who are current or returning student 15 years or older. They must be Canadian citizens, permanent residents or refugees and individuals who are legally allowed to work in Canada. Temporary foreign workers are not eligible for the program.

For more information visit http://work.alberta.ca/labour/summer-temporary-employment-program.html.

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