By Ben Harrison
Premier Darrel Dexter has announced a new employment initiative. The initiative, called Nova Scotia 211, is a new phone service that helps callers find employment opportunities and government services.
Nova Scotia 211 received $585,000 of provincial funding in Tuesday’s budget. The initiative has been developing for the past five years with the United Way of Halifax Region. Robert Wright, director of the initiativ, says the government funding allows callers to receive personal attention.
“When you call Nova Scotia 211, the information referral specialist walks you through your situation, what type of employment you’re looking for and can give you access to databases in your area,” said Wright. “We want to provide callers with all of the information they need in one spot.”
Wright is paying major attention to employment in the city with the introduction of Nova Scotia 211. The service, already available in Vancouver and Toronto, is drawing lots of media attention here in Halifax for its accessibility.
“The idea of Nova Scotia 211 is the simplicity of the numbers. Someone can phone and ask if there are employment opportunities available in their field of interest, or employment services or retraining facilities,” said Wright. “The information goes through a referral specialist, and all calls remain confidential.”
United Way, BellAliant and Nova Scotia Power have all pledged support for Nova Scotia 211.
Listen to Wright talk about Nova Scotia 211 via telephone: Wright interview
Tuesday’s budget also included $14.5 million for jobsHere, the employment section of the provincial economic development plan. The section helps provincial companies bring in more business through various levels of assistance. Jennifer Gavin, director of economic and rural development for jobsHere says the assistance jobsHere provides can attract high value jobs for the province.
“These high-value jobs are really the future of Nova Scotia,” said Gavin. “We need these in the face of a building economy, in order for businesses to be innovative and lead on a global level.”