BUDGET 2014: Feds announce $30M in new IRAP funding for youth internships

Mark Brownlee
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The federal government plans to funnel millions of dollars into its popular Industrial Research Assistance Program in the hopes of making it easier for employers to hire and train young people.

(Stock photo)

The initiative was just one of several new spending announcements included in the new federal budget, delivered on Tuesday, aimed at helping companies recruit employees.

The government intends to spend $40 million on “supporting” up to 3,000 full-time internships for post-secondary graduates in “high-demand fields” over the next two fiscal years.

Up to $30 million of that would go to IRAP, a popular funding program for Canadian businesses, so it can “support youth internships in small and medium sized enterprises undertaking technical research and development projects.”

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Another $10 million of that money would go towards Employment and Social Development Canada’s Youth Employment Strategy. In addition, the government is planning to reallocate $15 million from existing funds to support another 1,000 internships at small and medium-sized businesses through that program.

The initiatives are designed to match underemployed graduates up with companies that are searching for workers, the budget document indicated.

The budget also includes millions of dollars in new money for accelerators and incubators.

The government intends to spend $40 million on the Canada Accelerator and Incubator Program, an initiative announced in September of last year.

“It will enable leading organizations to expand their intensive mentoring and business development services to high-potential companies and entrepreneurs, including young Canadians, so that they can develop their ideas into globally competitive businesses,” the budget document said.

The new money will bring the total funding for the program up to $100 million, according to the budget document.

Recipient organizations will be announced in the coming months.

The budget also includes a plan to spend $150,000 on mentorship among women entrepreneurs, a category of people the government believes is “significantly under-represented” in small business ownership.

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