Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, over the past four years, one of the areas of emphasis for the Department of Education, Culture and Employment has been the important connection between education and employment. We have made this connection in a number of ways.
Career development and planning have become an important part of high school students' course work. As well, the Income Support Program changes in 1995 have supported many Northerners in making productive choices which have improved their ability to find work. Through increased access to Aurora College programs, more Northerners are able to take the training they need for the available jobs.
It is always helpful, Mr. Speaker, to have concrete evidence of whether efforts are making a positive difference. The 1999 Labour Force Survey, which the Minister of Finance will be releasing, seems to suggest that the work of the department, in cooperation with Resources, Wildlife and Economic Development and employers, has started to make a difference.
One of the most positive findings from the survey is that the growth in the number of jobs in the NWT has kept pace in the last few years with the growth in population. As well, there has also been a significant improvement in the level of employment among aboriginal people. The employment rate has increased by more then 6 percent to almost 49 percent which is very promising.
The Labour Force Survey also highlights the areas where we need to find better solutions. In particular, youth unemployment continues to be very high at 25.7 percent. We must continue to focus our activities on improving access to northern employment opportunities for our youth.
Mr. Speaker, Education, Culture and Employment will continue to support the efforts of northern residents to obtain the education and training they need to participate in the labour force. We will use the information in the Labour Force Survey to help us provide programs which address the needs of all Northerners. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.