Student leaders among those who decry cuts to summer employment program in N.B.
A program that sprouts summer jobs for students in New Brunswick has been pruned this season, meaning fewer hours and jobs.
The 600 cuts to the Student Employment Experience Development (SEED) program come as a shock to students, who count on the work to pay for their education.
“I was stunned and I was disappointed and I felt like it was just another attack against young individuals in New Brunswick,” said Chelsey Smith, a family support worker in Moncton.
Students from college, university, and Grade 12 heading into post-secondary are eligible for a SEED voucher - one similar to a paid internship.
“We do usually have 2,000 vouchers available, and those are usually used up,” said Emelyana Titarenko, the New Brunswick Student Alliance Chair.
If selected from a random draw, students are set up with a summer job with a New Brunswick employer.
What used to be a 14-week work period for university students is now 12. It's also been shortened to eight weeks instead of nine for high school and college students.
“The SEED program, not only does it benefit from an exponential learning perspective, but also financial perspective,” said Titarenko.
SEED student Jasmin Anderson has been selected to work in a lab at Mount Allison University.
“It gives me more experience when I would like to apply for my Masters program or any of that,” said Anderson.
And, since Anderson will be continuing her education post-grad, she won't be working fulltime. She says the SEED opportunity will be a big help financially.
Smith, who has taken on SEED students in the past, says the cuts will hurt.
“I can't encourage any student to want to come here because what kind of support do they get?” Smith said. “Everything that gets promised to them is taken away within a year.”
The New Brunswick Student Alliance says making cuts to the SEED program is not only an issue for students, but rather a ripple effect that's going to affect the entire province.
“We do think that this government doesn’t seem to have a vision or a plan for the post-secondary New Brunswick sector, which is really concerning to us,” said Titarenko.
CTV reached out to the New Brunswick government for comment on why the cuts were made, but did not receive a reply before newstime.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Kate Walker.