Working wise:Numerous programs to help retain a skilled workforce

I would like to hire some temporary staff

Dear Working Wise: I would like to hire some temporary staff to help keep the business running smoothly while my full-time staff take their summer vacations. Are there any programs available to help business owners hire short-term employees or students during the summer? Signed, Hiring

Dear Hiring: The Alberta government provides a wide range of services and supports to help employers attract, develop and retain a skilled workforce.

The Summer Temporary Employment Program (STEP), for example, may be just what you are looking for.

STEP is a wage-subsidy program that encourages employers to hire high-school and post-secondary students during the summer from May to August.

The program provides employers a $7 per hour wage subsidy for a minimum of 30 hours per week (on average) to a maximum of 37.5 for each eligible employee hired. The wage offered for a STEP position will be determined by the employer, but they must pay at least minimum wage, currently $12.20 per hour.

The students you hire must be at least 15 years old and planning to return to school in the fall. The students can’t be a current paid employee or be an immediate relative to the employer.

The position can be of any skill level, but STEP cannot be used to pay wages for registered apprentices. STEP cannot be combined with other programs/placements like co-ops, internships, Canada Summer Jobs, however you may be able to apply for the Canada Alberta Job Grant to train your STEP student.

Eligible employers include: small businesses with less than 50 employees, non-profit organizations, municipalities, public libraries, school boards, First Nations, Métis Settlements, and publicly funded post-secondary institutions.

Making STEP available to these organizations supports the growth of Alberta’s small businesses and encourages the creation of work experiences that may not be typically available to high school and post-secondary students.

Giving students the opportunity to gain work experiences helps bridge the gap between education and the workplace, and sets them up for success in the future.

Interested? The deadline to apply for STEP is Feb. 24, 2017.

If your application is approved, you can then go ahead and recruit a student the same way you hire any other employee.

To learn more and apply for the STEP program, visit AlbertaCanada.com/step.

For information on other helpful programs and services for employers, contact your local Workforce Consultant with Alberta Labour. You can connect with your local Workforce Consultant by calling 1-800-661-3753 or clicking Albertacanada.com/WorkforceConsultants.

Do you have a work-related question? Send your questions to Working Wise, at charles.strachey@gov.ab.ca. Charles Strachey is a manager with Alberta Community and Social Services. This column is provided for general information.

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