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Archived - Harper Government Makes Major Investment to Encourage Canadians to Pursue Education and Careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics

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Investment in Let's Talk Science aims to reach 5 million young Canadians over the next five years

May 21, 2015 – Hamilton, Ontario

The Harper Government is making a major investment to help increase exposure to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) among young Canadians from kindergarten to Grade 12. Through this investment, the Government hopes to increase the number of Canadians graduating and going on to well-paying jobs and careers requiring STEM skills. The Honourable Ed Holder, Minister of State (Science and Technology), joined by David Sweet, Member of Parliament for Ancaster–Dundas–Flamborough–Westdale, announced a $12.5-million investment over five years to Let's Talk Science. Minister of State Holder made the announcement at the Let's Talk Science Challenge at McMaster University, in front of more than 230 Grade 6, 7 and 8 students.

The funding will allow Let's Talk Science to expand its programming to reach 5 million young people from across Canada over five years, particularly those living in rural, remote and Aboriginal communities outside the major city centres. The funding will also increase the number of Let's Talk Science Outreach sites at universities and colleges to almost 50 across the country and expand the organization's capacity to reach French-speaking Canadian students in Quebec and across Canada.

With today's announcement, the Harper Government has more than quadrupled its investments that encourage young Canadians to develop a lifelong passion for STEM subjects leading to promising careers.

Enhancing STEM skills, and supporting organizations such as Let's Talk Science and programs such as the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada's PromoScience, was a commitment made in the newly updated science, technology and innovation strategy, Seizing Canada's Moment: Moving Forward in Science, Technology and Innovation 2014, delivered by Prime Minister Stephen Harper last December.

Quick facts

  • The Government of Canada is providing Let's Talk Science with $12.5 million over five years to promote STEM skills development and career opportunities among young Canadians.
  • This funding will allow Let's Talk Science to increase its volunteer base from 3,500 to 5,000.
  • The Let's Talk Science CurioCity program will engage teenagers through more than 1.3 million web-based interactions.
  • With the increase in Let's Talk Science Outreach sites to 48 universities and colleges, the program will reach 1.5 million youth across Canada.
  • The Let's Talk Science IdeaPark program will reach 840,000 children.
  • According to a 2013 Let's Talk Science–Amgen Canada report, almost three quarters of "top" Canadian jobs, including those in the trades, will require a STEM education by 2020.
  • Recently, a report by the Council of Canadian Academies encouraged governments to invest in a broad-based STEM skills education to prepare young Canadians for the modern economy. The report, Some Assembly Required: STEM Skills and Canada's Economic Productivity, stated that "increasing the quality and level of fundamental skills for STEM among all learners at the preschool, primary, and secondary education levels represents a strategic, long-term approach towards this goal. Such investments may also help to improve Canada's levels of innovation and productivity."

Quotes

"Our government is committed to providing young Canadians with positive experiences in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) that can be translated into fulfilling jobs and careers requiring these skills. Today's investment in Let's Talk Science will allow the organization to reach 5 million young Canadians over five years, particularly in rural, remote and Aboriginal communities, to ensure more young Canadians have the opportunity to pursue STEM careers later on."

– The Honourable Ed Holder, Minister of State (Science and Technology)

"Our government has provided record investments in science, technology and innovation to create jobs, expand opportunities and improve the quality of life of Canadians. Today's investment in Let's Talk Science will continue to support opportunities to expose Hamilton students to science, technology, engineering and mathematics and provide them with the passion and encouragement needed to pursue careers related to these disciplines."

– David Sweet, Member of Parliament for Ancaster–Dundas–Flamborough–Westdale

"For more than 20 years, Let's Talk Science has helped Canadian youth prepare for a world that is shaped by science and technology. With this transformative investment from the Government of Canada, we will launch a bold national plan to bring our programs to millions more children, youth and educators in hundreds of communities across the country. We will work with our world-class volunteer network and education partners to support toddlers to teens in developing foundational skills that will serve them well for all future career paths."

– Dr. Bonnie Schmidt, President and Founder of Let's Talk Science

Associated links

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About Let's Talk Science

Let's Talk Science is a national, charitable outreach organization that creates and delivers unique learning programs and services that engage children, youth and educators in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The organization strives to prepare youth for their future careers and role as citizens in a rapidly changing world.

Contacts

Scott French
Director of Communications and Parliamentary Affairs
Office of the Minister of State (Science and Technology)
343-291-2700

Media Relations
Industry Canada
343-291-1777
media-relations@ic.gc.ca


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