Seasonal funding for summer students increases

Federal government spending on the Canada Summer Jobs initiative was up almost double compared with last year.

Federal government spending on the Canada Summer Jobs initiative in the Kootenay-Columbia this past summer was up almost double compared with last year.

The program saw more than $600,000 in federal assistance this summer, up by more than $240,000 from last summer, according to a press release from Kootenay-Columbia MP Wayne Stetski.

In the press release, Steski described taking an active role in distributing the funds and allocating this year’s additional federal assistance.

“I assigned jobs funding for as many as 175 students in the riding, and gave particular consideration to communities that were impacted by the loss of a major employer,” he said, adding the program, which is meant to aid in creating jobs for students aged 15 to 30, is also about helping young people acquire valuable experience and workplace skills.

He said his priorities in distributing the money in this region included helping support projects in tourism, arts and culture, the environment and food security, and that grants were also assigned to non-profit organizations,public sector employers and small businesses.

Organizations in the Columbia Valley that had funding approved for a student summer job this year based on Stetski’s priorities included the Columbia Shuswap Invasive Species Society and East Kootenay Invasive PlantCouncil, the Radium Hot Springs Chamber of Commerce, Friends of Kootenay National Park, the WindermereValley Museum, Friends of the Invermere Library, and the Columbia Valley Arts Council.

“Without the funding, these summer student positions wouldn’t be available,” said Radium Chamber manager Kent Kebe. “It helps (the students) and it helps us.”

“It’s absolutely a good program. We mentor our summer students and we give them an opportunity to learn the ins and outs of art gallery operation and non-profit organization. It’s a great opportunity,” said Columbia ValleyArts Council executive director Jami Scheffer.

In Stetski’s press release, summer student Chelsey Weisbecker described how she was hired through th eprogram by Cranbrook’s Boys and Girls Club and worked at its Youth Impact Youth Centre.

“The experience this job offer(ed) has helped me learn interpersonal communication, leadership, organization and teamwork,” she said. “This has been more than just a job for me.”

To learn more about the Canada Summer Jobs Initiative,