FREDERICTON (GNB) – The provincial and federal governments are making a combined investment of $365,000 to support Science East and the delivery of ILLUMINATE, a program that highlights career opportunities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

"Our investment in this most-important, youth-oriented program will help foster the growth of new scientists and engineers and other professionals to assist with our sector-based strategies and rebuild New Brunswick's economy," said Government Services Minister Craig Leonard.

Leonard was speaking on behalf of Economic Development Minister Paul Robichaud.

"Our government's top priorities are jobs, growth and long-term prosperity," said Fisheries and Oceans Minister Keith Ashfield, who is also minister for the Atlantic Gateway. "We are especially proud to invest in projects such as Science East's ILLUMINATE as they work to raise awareness among youth of the variety of career possibilities that exist in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. These fields are crucial drivers of an innovative and globally competitive Atlantic Canadian economy."

The provincial government is investing $200,000, while the federal government, through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency’s (ACOA) Innovative Communities Fund is contributing $165,000.

"Through ILLUMINATE, Science East engages students in hands-on science activities with people who are applying science and technology in their career,” said David Desjardins, chief executive officer, Science East. “These activities will encourage the development of the next generation of scientists, technologists, engineers, and mathematicians necessary for New Brunswick's economy.

"Our inquiry-based learning programs develop critical skills sets required for success in life and work in the knowledge economy of today, including creativity and problem solving, communication, collaboration and critical thinking. We are pleased to work collaboratively with the province and the federal government to build tomorrow's workforce and foster economic growth."

A key outreach program, ILLUMINATE (formally called TEKFEST NB), which started May 10, will be carried out until March 2014. Co-ordinators of ILLUMINATE develop linkages between private-sector companies and youth to highlight career options in science, technology, engineering and mathematics in their community.