Volume 93, Issue 61

Wednesday, January 19, 2000


NEWS

Provincewide intern program renewed

USC to vote on type of campaign

Fraternity falls victim to prank

Another hand reaches to government pockets

Freezing temperatures a danger for homeless

Super computer grows at U of A

Briefs

Bass Ackwards

Caught on campus

Provincewide intern program renewed



By Leena Kamat
Gazette Staff

Despite not meeting its initial goals, Experience Canada, an internship/exchange program created for graduates, will continue to receive government funding.

This week, the federal government entered into a three year deal with the founder of the program, the Council for Canadian Unity, worth up to $9 million, said Roger Butt, director of the youth initiatives programs at Human Resources Development Canada, – the department responsible for awarding the funding.

Butt explained receiving the money in its entirety will depend on the number of graduates who enroll in the program. Currently there are 182 participants and the government hopes for 200 participants by this March, he added.

The program was first created in May 1996 with a $8.4 million grant from the federal government. Its initial goal was to set up 1,500 internships within two years, however only 593 positions have been created in the four years since, said Peter Cowan, a CCU senior analyst.

"It was set up to provide an opportunity for students to get a career launch," Cowan said, adding it involves a six month internship outside the graduate's home province.

The program was created for post-secondary graduates aged 18-29, who have been unable to find a job in their fields.

Employers pay Experience Canada $8,400 per internship to pay for administrative costs, while the program pays the participants directly for living expenses and training, Cowan explained.

"This is one more example of government waste," said John Earnshaw, legislative assistant to Maurice Vellacott, Reform Member of Parliament and deputy critic of the HRDC. "[It's] poorly run, has no accountability structure and is one more sinkhole for taxpayers' money."

Even though initial goals have not been met, the employment results have been positive, Butt said. There are two ways an employment program can be successful – success in finding permanent employment for applicants or encouraging them to go back to school.

Cowan added 84 per cent of participants in the program have been successful, including people who found permanent positions before the six months were up.

"The exchange initiative was a unique opportunity for young people," Butt said, explaining the reasons for the funding. "We're assessing the results and monitoring the project."

"Part of the problem was not enough people knew about this program," Cowan said, adding new public service announcements and advertisements should hopefully solve the problem.

Earnshaw said the basic concept of the program, which is to combine internships and national unity, is flawed because the two items should be separate. "We're looking into pressing the government over this issue," he said.


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Copyright The Gazette 2000