Citizens, municipalities, businesses and governments in Cape Breton have recognized the mass outmigration of young people from our region as major issue, degrading our ability to compete and diminishing community prosperity. In addition, employers in Cape Breton are actively seeking strategies to meet workforce requirements as they face pending retirements.
Cape Breton’s population dropped 13.7%, from just under 162,000 people in 1996 to under 140,000 people in 2010, with a net decrease in population of over 22,000 people. This fact, combined with the aging demographics of Cape Breton, is a serious socioeconomic issue.
With these issues in mind, NextGen is proposing to build on the Cape Breton Prosperity Framework by undertaking a comprehensive strategic study and consultation about young talent attraction with a goal to attract Cape Breton’s next generation of talent. NextGen believes this is a necessary initiative in order to:
·Engage young people to participate in the decision and actions that will advance socioeconomic prosperity and equality of opportunity;
·Nurture their voice in order to ensure their perspectives are incorporated in development strategies, policies and projects that will impact the future of Cape Breton; and
·Communicate the perspectives and needs of the next generation to leaders, both in business and public service, and advocate for actions to address this issue.
This strategic study will gather information through research and community consultations, and use it to develop a young talent attraction strategy for Cape Breton. NextGen proposes this strategic study include the following stages of a Comprehensive Research Study:
- Literature Review;
- Discussion on the Socio-Economic Benefits of Young Talent in Places;
- Discussion on the Competition and Strategies Deployed for Young Talent Attraction;
- Assessment of Cape Breton’s Competitiveness as a Young Talent Magnet; and
- Assessment of Cape Breton’s Options moving forward.
- Consultation with the next generation; and
- Development of the Young Talent Attraction Strategy and Roadmap.
The consultation process is proposed to incorporate facilitated community engagement meetings. NextGen will establish a youth advisory committee from various communities, and engage them to attract participants aged 16-40 years. The consultation will also engage Cape Bretoners within the target demographic that have migrated and are now living in Halifax, Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton, and Fort McMurray, as well as expats living outside of Canada.
The anticipated outcomes of the Creating an Island of Choice: Young Talent Attraction Strategy project include:
- Establishment of a young talent attraction framework for the Cape Breton region;
- Engagement of young people;
- Giving a voice to young people to express their perspective;
- Generate clear recommendations and guidelines for making Cape Breton an Island of Choice for young people; and
- Identify clear strategies for local economic development agencies and businesses to attract employees.
We want to hear from young people all across Cape Breton and those who have moved away.
Be on the look out for a town hall meeting near you.