Funded program will empower young adults with the in-demand digital skills they need to succeed as the economy recovers and changes
HALIFAX – Today the Government of Nova Scotia, Department of Labour and Advanced Education announced $1,350,000 in funding to bring NPower Canada’s innovative tech employment program to Halifax. This funding allows NPower Canada to scale its proven, sector-based workforce development program to Halifax to launch low-income young adults from diverse backgrounds into meaningful and sustainable digital careers.
“We know young Nova Scotians and youth across the country have been greatly impacted by the economic challenges presented by Covid-19,” said Nova Scotia’s Department of Labour and Advanced Education Minister Lena Metlege Diab. “That’s why connecting youth to careers in our strategic growth sectors has become an even greater priority. Through NPower Canada’s workforce development program, diverse youth will receive training to launch meaningful careers in information technology and use their skills to help employers innovate and succeed.”
“We are thrilled to bring NPower Canada to Halifax,” says CEO Julia Blackburn. “Youth unemployment and underemployment continue to be a challenge across Canada, while the rapid growth of Nova Scotia’s technology sector offers new hope and opportunity. We look forward to working with the Province of Nova Scotia, along with local and national partners to equip underserved youth with the in-demand skills required by today’s IT workforce, closing the tech skills gap and providing employers with the junior-level IT talent they need.”
In addition to the funding announced today from the Government of Nova Scotia, NPower Canada’s expansion into Halifax is also funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Youth Employment and Skills Strategy, Google.org, the Government of Canada under the Future Skills Centre, and RBC.
NPower Canada’s partners and supporters in the region welcome the program, citing the rapid growth of the province’s tech ecosystem, particularly in Halifax, and the growing need for local digitally skilled talent.
“For Canadian youth exploring job opportunities amidst COVID-19, the expansion of NPower Canada is welcome news,” said Lynn Clark, IBM Client Innovation Centre: Nova Scotia, Leader. “Some of the fastest-growing fields like technology need skills that don’t always require a traditional degree. They need people with the right mix of in-demand skills in high growth areas like cybersecurity, artificial intelligence and web development. We are pleased to support the tech employment program with mentorship and in-class activities that will position Canadians for success and contribute to the world-class technology ecosystem in Nova Scotia.”
“At this time, when digital engagement with customers and citizens has taken on a new importance, we are thrilled to welcome in Halifax an organization that will, on one hand, contribute to creating a future for the youth of our province, and on the other, help us grow and succeed through the development of an in-demand high-quality workforce,” says CGI Senior Vice-President, Paul Mackley. “NPower Canada is a great organization that is aligned with CGI’s vision for ICT talent in the region, and we are looking forward to collaborating together.”
NPower Canada will enroll 350 low-income Halifax youth into its Junior IT Analyst workforce development program, including 15 weeks of no-cost technical and professional skills training, industry certification, job placement and alumni career laddering services. The program also features professional development and life skills workshops, mentoring from senior-level IT professional volunteers, connections to job opportunities with NPower Canada partners and 5-years of post-hire coaching, mentorship, networking and job placement support. Applications are open and available on the organization’s website www.npowercanada.ca.
“Now more than ever, we need to invest in skills, coupled with a mindset of continuous learning to better align the Canadian workforce with the jobs of the future,” says Sabrina Geremia, VP and Country Manager, Google Canada. “Last year, I visited Pier 21 to run a GrowWithGoogle workshop and witnessed first-hand how the local community embraced digital skills. Our partner NPower Canada has a proven track record of launching young adults into successful IT and digital careers, and I’m excited to see them bring the IT Support Professional program to Halifax in early 2021.”
Many young adults in the region, particularly from the African Nova Scotian, Indigenous, newcomer and low-income communities continue to face systemic barriers to securing meaningful employment. This program will transition vulnerable unemployed and underemployed Halifax youth into digital careers with strong growth prospects in areas like IT support services, software development, Agile project management, information security and quality assurance. Participants earn globally recognized industry credentials such as the Google IT Support Professional Certificate.
According to the Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC), Nova Scotia will need to fill up to 3,500 positions in the technology sector by 2021. Cultivating the next generation of tech talent has become increasingly urgent for both economic prosperity and social inclusion.
 ICTC, The Next Talent Wave: Navigating The Digital Shift – Outlook 2021, 26.