Atlantic-Fisherman-april-7
Dennis King (right), executive director of the P.E.I. Seafood Processors Association, was on hand to hear federal and provincial officials announce funding for Team Seafood 2017. Egmont MP Robert Morrissey (second from left) made the announcement on behalf of the federal government, while the province was represented by Rural and Regional Development Minister Pat Murphy (left) and Workforce and Advanced Learning Minister Sonny Gallant. Federal funding of $125,250 has been approved to support up to 250 student bursaries for the 2017 season, with an equal amount cost-shared by the province and seafood processing companies. Submitted photo

The general manager of one of the largest seafood processing plant in western P.E.I. is optimistic the expanded “Team Seafood” program can help him attract workers this spring.

“Students help keep our plant fully operational and Team Seafood is a great incentive to attract workers,” says Francis Morrissey. “Many of them come from fishing families, so it helps students to support the community while earning good money for school.”

Team Seafood was launched in 2016 as a partnership between the seafood processing sector and the federal and provincial governments to expand the workforce in rural communities during the peak processing season. Federal funding of $125,250 has been approved to support up to 250 student bursaries for the 2017 season, with an equal amount cost-shared by the province and seafood processing companies.

Last year, more than 100 students were hired to work at 10 seafood processing plants. In addition to hourly wages, students who met the program requirements earned bursaries up
to $1,000 towards their post-secondary studies.

“The Skills Links Program, under the Government of Canada’s Youth Employment Strategy, helps youth develop job skills and gain the work experience they need to get jobs now and prepare for the workforce of tomorrow,” says Egmont MP Robert Morrissey. “The project will assist youth gain the experience needed to find a job or return to school.”

In addition to the support for bursaries, the P.E.I. Seafood Processors Association will receive $33,750 under the Labour Market Development Agreement and $11,250 from the Atlantic Shrimp Corporation to promote Team Seafood and support student recruitment.

“Our government is pleased to support the Seafood Processors Association for its innovative approach to recruit workers to continue producing the world’s best seafood,” says Workforce and Advanced Learning Minister Sonny Gallant. “This investment will help build our reputation as Canada’s Food Island and increase economic prosperity in
rural communities, while providing well-paying summer jobs for students.”

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Andy Walker
Andy Walker has been a journalist in PEI for over 30 years. After a career working for both PEI's daily newspapers, he has been a full-time freelance writer since 1997 and resides in Cornwall.