Feds roll out new student-placement workforce program

The Department of Workforce Development and Labour has launched a $73-million, four-year Student Work-Integrated Learning Program (SWILP) that will create 10,000 paid workforce placements for post-secondary students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and business. The new program complements the work of Mitacs, which received $221 million over five years in the last Budget to allow the not-for-profit organization to attain its long-standing goal of 10,000 research internships for post-secondary students and postdoctoral fellows each year. The SWILP is open to polytechnics, universities, and colleges and is a key component of the federal government’s objective of creating 60,000 student work placements over the next five years, particularly in sectors where skilled talent is in short supply. In the biotechnology sector, for example, 33% of companies in the biotechnology sector report skills shortages, according to BioTalent Canada, one of several industry groups participating in the program. It will receive nearly $5.6 million to place more than 1,000 students. For aerospace, the Canadian Council for Aviation and Aerospace will receive $4.8 million. Employers and post-secondary institutions will provide eligible employers in STEM and business with wage subsidies for quality student work placements of up to 50% of the wage cost for the placement (up to $5,000 per placement) and up to 70% percent (up to $7,000 per placement) for first-year students and under-represented groups, such as women in STEM, Indigenous students, people with disabilities and newcomers.