Hundreds of Nova Scotia’s unemployed older workers will continue to benefit from programming that will help them build skills and find work. The Department of Labour and Workforce Development, in partnership with the federal government, will continue to offer programming under the Targeted Initiative for Older Workers after a three-year funding extension of $4.2 million. Since 2007, 23 projects helped close to 300 older workers in Nova Scotia. More than 40 per cent of participants gained employment, or started or are starting their own business. Dozens of other participants are pursuing further training or have gained skills to help them seek employment. Stuart Gourley, senior executive director of the Skills and Learning Branch of the Department of Labour and Workforce Development, said Nova Scotia’s population is aging quicker than any other jurisdiction in the country. “We can not overlook the wealth of skill and knowledge older workers bring to the workforce in this province,” he said. “This funding will allow organizations to keep helping these workers so they have the tools they need to continue to make important contributions in their communities.” The three-year extension of the Targeted Initiative for Older Workers includes a $90-million federal commitment for program delivery for Canada’s older workers. Under this initiative, the provinces and territories that choose to participate identify territories and communities that have been, or could be, affected by closures or downsizing and work with community organizations to develop projects. Unemployed Nova Scotians can qualify for older workers programming if they are between 55 and 64 years old, are legally entitled to work in Canada, lack skills to move into new employment and live in a community that has been, or could be, affected by closures or downsizing. “This program allowed me to capitalize on the skills I already had, and helped me learn new things along the way,” said Pat MacIsaac, a Richmond County program participant. Skills learned through the program Ms. MacIsaac to begin a new phase of her career in the real estate industry. A call for proposals was released May 16. Organizations who support older workers are encouraged to apply for funding. For more information, visit www.olderworker.ca .