02/06/2015 10:48 EST | Updated 04/08/2015 05:59 EDT

Nova Scotia to help businesses that want to employ new university graduates

HALIFAX - The Nova Scotia government will help cover the salaries of recent university graduates for small- and medium-sized businesses under a new program aimed at helping new grads get their first full-time job.

Under the three-year program, the government will pay 25 per cent of a graduate's salary in the first year and 12.5 per cent in the second.

The incentive is available to businesses with fewer than 100 employees and includes startup companies, social enterprises, not-for-profits and registered charities.

An employer must pay a minimum base salary of $30,000 to qualify.

The province will provide $1.6 million in funding in the first year, $3.2 million in the second and $6.5 million in the third year of the program for a total of $11.3 million.

The program covers students who have graduated from any university in the last year, but they must live in Nova Scotia to be eligible.