The difference between finding a career and finding a purpose takes a little work.
The idea is a system that trades students university education for service to the community.
I believe we should fuse together various existing NS programs, policies and strategies and add an innovative approach to form a branded plan for ‘total education’ of Nova Scotian's children. The idea echoes Kennedy's Peace Corps, an institution that still resonates with young people and helps make a better, more connected world 65 years after it was started.
The Nova Scotia Youth Corps (NSYC) would provide the region with valuable public works such as national and provincial public park maintenance, forestry (maintenance and fire-fighting), conservation management (erosion control projects), disaster response and recovery operations, public infrastructure improvement projects, organizing public events and festivals, beautification projects, security augmentation, public social programs (for seniors and vulnerable citizens), statistical projects (like an HRM tree inventory) and all kinds of administrative support to provincial and local governments.
Youth would "enlist" in the NSYC for 2-4 years, earning 30 days of annual leave and medical benefits during the period. Honorably-discharged NSYC "veterans" would earn college tuition assistance (1 year paid per 1 year served) and some experience could even count toward course credits.
To accomplish the potential of this organization we should draw on our greatest growing resource of the next 25 years. The greying pensioned workforce with their health, wealth and knowledge have so much left to contribute to Nova Scotia. We need to find structured systems to allow them the opportunity to help.
The NSYC idea is really just an organization and branding (a marketing aspect of the policy) of many and varied programs already in place. It would provide long-term investment in Nova Scotia's communities and help restore a sense of collective duty to the greater good to Nova Scotia that many older citizens who served in their youth contend is necessary for long-term cultural health and survival. The NSYC would help young people explore and discover Nova Scotia in a meaningful way, bringing rural kids to an urban setting and visa versa. Young people who’ve worked to build Nova Scotia and make it a better place will have a greater stake in the community.
This helps with:
1. Problems with university tuition, affordability and debt
2. Current high youth unemployment and future shortages in the workforce due to looming retirement of large numbers of baby-boomers.
3. Deterioration of civic understanding and involvement at the local and provincial level.
4. General workforce knowledge gap of government-industry capabilities and opportunities.
5. Keeping young people positively engaged. Reducing youth crime and vandalism.
6. Freeing up some of the economic burden of education costs that could then be redirected to retirement, savings, healthcare, etc.
7. Providing a systematic influx of young people with the energy and innovative ideas that are desperately needed within the government to affect change necessary in the 21st century.
8. Providing a catalyst to reinvigorate the sense of service and community at all levels, and have knowledge of government enabling them to capitalize on capabilities and opportunities along government-industry seam.
9. Develop the ‘stake’ and investment young people have in their home communities.
10. Breaking down the urban/rural divide through a sense of One Nova Scotia
11. Getting things done. Undertaking important projects (like beautification) that might not otherwise be prioritized.
As a bonus, Nova Scotia could send the best of the best NSYC volunteers on international missions to help in foreign countries during disasters or humanitarian crisis, thereby expanding our awareness and knowledge of the world and creating a new sense of pride in our abilities while also promoting Nova Scotia’s friendly, helpful style on the world stage better than any bureaucratic tourism or marketing program.
Writing about life, citizenship, and Nova Scotia.