01/30/2013 09:15 EST | Updated 04/01/2013 05:12 EDT

New Brunswick targets recent post-secondary graduates in new jobs program

FREDERICTON - Companies that hire recent post-secondary graduates in New Brunswick could be eligible for a wage subsidy under a new provincial government program.

Premier David Alward says slow global growth means businesses are having trouble creating jobs.

"New Brunswick graduates are having difficulty finding career opportunities here at home," Alward said Wednesday.

Under the program, businesses that qualify will receive a one-year wage incentive when they hire a permanent full-time employee who graduated from a post-secondary institution in the past four years.

Businesses that qualify must pay a minimum salary of $14 per hour, and the government will reimburse 70 per cent of the worker's salary up to a maximum of $10 per hour for a year.

Alward said $13.5 million has been allocated for the pilot program.

He said his government hasn't set any minimum or maximum target for the number of jobs to be created.

Stephen Spence, president of the New Brunswick Student Alliance, welcomed the program, saying it will help keep graduates within the province and bolster the economy.

"Reducing the time that labour force entrants spend between graduation and their first job helps pay down debt, stimulate the economy and improve productivity," Spence said.