Percé Program bringing Islanders home

An internship program for P.E.I. post-secondary students studying off-Island is seeing great results, posting an 80 per cent success rate in getting them to move back home.

An internship program for P.E.I. post-secondary students studying off-Island is seeing great results, posting an 80 per cent success rate in getting them to move back home.

The Percé Program was established 10 years ago to get Islanders who go away for school to eventually come back home and work. Each year 10 anglophone and 10 francophone students are selected.

Stephane Blanchard, a youth economic development officer working with the program, said a recent survey shows more than 80 per cent of past participants have already moved home or are planning to shortly.

"It is well known that there is a big migration of workers towards other Canadian provinces or even the U.S.," said Blanchard.

"By bringing them back, well, we're hoping to help the provincial economy."

The paid internship places students in workplaces matching their field of study for 10 to 12 weeks.

Gabriel Arsenault took part in the program in 2006, and is now working as a certified prosthetist on the Island.

"It would have been a lot more difficult for me to be here if it hadn't been for the program," said Arsenault.

"What this program really does is they find those little fields that you may not think exist here on the Island, and they allow you to work there and make those connections that are just essential for you to come back."

Blanchard said recruitment for this year's program is underway. The deadline to apply is March 28.

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