Graduates Get Help to Launch Their Careers in Nova Scotia

Graduates Get Help to Launch Their Careers in Nova Scotia

Mara Renewables turns waste into energy – with the help of algae – in its Dartmouth lab. The growing research and development company must attract highly skilled researchers from around the world to do this sophisticated work.

Sometimes, the best hire is a new graduate.

“We go for talent,” says Mara Chief Scientist Roberto Armenta. “We hire people who will do a great job, and we’ve ended up with a very diverse team.”

Dr. Armenta hired two of his scientists – Gei (Jessie) Gao and Haila Kottwitz – right out of university with help from the province’s Graduate to Opportunity program.

The program was launched in 2015, and provides salary contributions to eligible businesses that hire recent graduates. The offset is 25% in the first year – or 35% for diverse or international hires – and 12.5% in the second year.

Jessie came to Canada from China to go to graduate school, and wanted to build her career and life in Nova Scotia. She says it would have been harder to land a position in her field without Graduate to Opportunity. Haila is happy to put her scientific research skills to work without leaving Nova Scotia.

“Haila’s quality of lab work is amazing, and Jessie’s experience is very relevant to what we do,” adds Dr. Armenta.

Dr. Armenta knows what a diverse workforce brings to the table. “We are working on research and development, and it requires thinking from different angles and tackling very complicated problems. Every single scientist has a different approach and style and everyone can learn from that. The more diverse our team is, the better.”

Diverse populations include a female graduate in a non-traditional occupation, a graduate who self-identifies as a person with a disability, a racially visible person, or an Aboriginal person, or an international graduate.

The Graduate to Opportunity program has helped create opportunities for more than 260 new graduates. Find out how it can help your business: