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New Job Opportunities for Income Assistance Recipients

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first_imgNova Scotians who receive income assistance now have more options to help them on their journey back to work and to earn some extra money, thanks to a new program from the Department of Community Services. Harvest Connection is a voluntary program that links income assistance recipients to job opportunities in rural communities during harvest season. Individuals who have received income assistance for six months can earn up to $3,000 a year, on top of their basic income assistance, by harvesting crops like apples, vegetables and Christmas trees. “Harvest Connection will benefit farmers and income assistance recipients who are looking for work in their community,” said Community Services Minister Judy Streatch. “We’ve heard from farmers and producers and we know there is a serious shortage of seasonal workers to harvest their crops. Harvest Connection will help some of our clients return to work while addressing a pressing need for help to complete the harvest.” “We are pleased to support rural Nova Scotia and the agriculture industry through this new initiative,” said Brooke Taylor, Minister of Agriculture. “It will provide additional labour options for the farming community throughout the province.” One of the most significant challenges identified by the agriculture and Christmas tree industries is a shortage of seasonal workers to successfully harvest crops. “Accessible labour is important to our success and our ability to get our product to market,” said Greg Webster, president of Webster Farms Limited in Cambridge, Kings Co., and human resources chair for Horticulture Nova Scotia. “This change should improve the availability of seasonal workers during the critical harvest period.” “It’s getting tougher every year to attract seasonal labour. Having more local workers available to help us harvest Christmas trees would be great,” said Dwight Herman, vice-president of the Nova Scotia Christmas Tree Council and manager of Kirk Forest Products in Bridgewater. In 2005, the agriculture and Christmas tree sectors generated about $453.4 million in sales and employed about 9,000 people. The Department of Community Services helps people achieve greater self-sufficiency which, for many, means returning to work. A wide range of employment services are available through the department, such as programs to gain on the job work experience, learn a trade or specialized skill, or learn to read. Since 1998-99, the number of people receiving income assistance has declined from 42,000 to about 30,000. Each year, up to 10,000 individuals participate in employment support programs. In 2005-06, the Department of Community Services helped about 3,100 income assistance recipients return to the work force. For more information or to apply for Harvest Connection, income assistance recipients should contact their local Community Services office.last_img read more

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