A new pilot program will help post-secondary students connect with local businesses, gain experience, and find good jobs in Nova Scotia after graduation. Labour and Advanced Education Minister Kelly Regan will launch the Experiential Learning Initiative later today, March 21, at the Halifax Partnership’s Game Changers event. “Hands-on, practical experience is the best training for any job, and one of the best ways for students to explore potential career options,” said Ms. Regan. “This initiative will help students gain on-the-job experience by working with local employers, and make connections so they can launch successful careers here at home after they graduate.” The Halifax Partnership will manage the new initiative, alongside its other programs focused on mentorship and networking. This pilot program will help boost awareness of opportunities for students, and engage employers through the Halifax Partnership’s extensive business network. The objective is to enroll 100 student participants. “Experiential learning has shown me that local businesses truly appreciate young talent, while also giving me invaluable experience,” said Cali Keating, a neuroscience student at Acadia University. “After finding meaningful employment, the Halifax Partnership continued to support me with networking opportunities that will benefit me throughout my academic and professional career.” The province will invest $100,000 in the Experiential Learning Initiative. Funds will cover the cost to promote the project, and hire a coordinator who will work with post-secondary institutions and students. “Nova Scotia has a wealth of post-secondary students who offer the talent, drive and enthusiasm our businesses, city and province need to grow and prosper,” said Halifax Partnership CEO Ron Hanlon. “With over 20 ways for employers to work with students – from internships, to research projects, to apprenticeships – businesses of all sizes can benefit.” The Experiential Learning Initiative aligns with the Halifax Partnership’s Game Changers Action Plan, a three-year, private-sector-driven initiative to retain young talent in Nova Scotia. It also advances one of the Transition Task Force report’s key themes, which is to provide meaningful hands-on experience. Funding for the pilot comes from the province’s Innovation Team, which includes representatives from government, post-secondary institutions, students, and the private sector. The team makes recommendations in key areas like experiential learning, student recruitment and retention, and entrepreneurship. March 20-24 is National Co-operative Education Week which celebrates the benefits of co-op education for students and employers.