Province increases funding for summer jobs program by $4M
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This article was published 20/04/2022 (415 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Manitoba’s annual summer jobs program that helps municipalities and non-profits hire students for summer positions is receiving a substantial funding boost this year.
Municipal Relations Minister Eileen Clarke announced during the first day of the Association of Manitoba Municipalities’ spring convention in Brandon the funding for the Green Team program will increase from $5 million last year to $9 million this year.
“Despite the recent weather, summer is approaching,” Clarke said with a chuckle after last week’s blizzard. “We hope.”
The annual program subsidizes jobs for young Manitobans aged 15 to 29. It completely reduces wage costs for non-profits, education authorities and Northern Affairs Community Councils as well as covers half the expenses for municipalities.
This year, Clarke said, one of the biggest points of the program is helping organizations and municipalities recover from COVID-19.
Applications for this year’s program opened in December 2021. Approximately 700 projects and 2,200 jobs will be funded this year.
“As a former mayor, I know the value of these jobs for these youth,” Clarke said. “For most of them, this is their first job and this is where they get hands-on training, most often with people and under management. They have to show up for work on time and be managed by someone other than a parent.”
Asked why the province decided to boost the program’s funding this year, Clarke reiterated the COVID recovery aspect, but also said municipalities need extra employees and the working participants of the program rely on the experience they receive.
Accompanying Clarke at the announcement were Association of Manitoba Municipalities president Kam Blight — also the mayor of the RM of Portage la Prairie — and June Letkeman, a councillor for the Municipality of Rhineland.
“I am pleased to see the Manitoba government increase the Green Team program for the third year in a row,” Blight said. “Increasing the program to $9 million is certainly welcome as our members enjoy tapping into this essential fund to help advance community development projects.”
This program, he added, is extremely helpful for municipalities after staffing shortages and operating losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Letkeman listed several projects the program has helped her community of Rhineland accomplish over the years.
“We hire local students and they do jobs that our regular foreman and maintenance crew don’t have time for usually,” she said.
“Without the Green Team, we would not have people to mow all the extra grass that we have in the summer, water our flowers and doing other duties around the community. Because we have a beach in Plum Coulee — which many of you may not know — it takes a long time to take care of that beach and the Green Team is valuable because they have the rake the sand every morning and clear our pathways of all the goose poop.”
Another project the municipality is hoping a Green Team worker can complete this year is digitizing the collection at the Prairie View Elevator Museum in Plum Coulee.
» Twitter: @ColinSlark