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UNB to analyze student retention and labour market outcomes in New Brunswick

Author: UNB Newsroom

Posted on Oct 19, 2020

Category: UNB Saint John , UNB Fredericton

The University of New Brunswick is conducting an analysis of post-secondary student retention and labour market outcomes in the province through a collaborative project funded by the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA).

The New Brunswick Institute for Research, Data and Training (NB-IRDT) at UNB will work with the provincial departments of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour, and Education and Early Childhood Development to complete an analysis of New Brunswick students, their educational experiences and transition into the workforce. The analysis will use administrative data sources both at NB-IRDT and, in future phases, the Statistics Canada NB Research Data Centre at UNB.

Using multiple sources of linked individual data on school experience, post-secondary education and subsequent labour market outcomes, the project will evaluate the return on investment of public education for individuals and New Brunswick.

A key component will be the examination of student retention, as well as how the province is able to keep its post-secondary graduates in New Brunswick and engaged in productive employment.

The Government of Canada, through ACOA’s Regional Economic Growth through Innovation program, has provided a non-repayable contribution of $137,775 to support this comprehensive research project.

“Provincial governments make large investments in public education, which are expected to result in increased earning power for individuals and communities, as well as the positive externalities and non-financial benefits associated with education, such as improved health behaviour and lower crime rates,” says Dr. Ted McDonald, director of NB-IRDT.

“This project at UNB will help increase our understanding of current labour market pressures, while offering insight into future labour availability,” says René Arseneault, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages (Official Languages and ACOA). “Overall, the information collected for this report could have a valuable impact on future educational programming that will benefit this region’s economy for years to come.”

Because returns can accrue many years after an investment is made, many jurisdictions find it difficult to properly evaluate new educational programs, policies and projects.

“This can be additionally complicated in a small province like New Brunswick, where a substantial percentage of students who go through the New Brunswick education system end up working in other provinces,” says Dr. McDonald.

About the New Brunswick Institute for Research, Data and Training at UNB

NB-IRDT was established as a provincial data research centre in early 2015 through the collaboration of many New Brunswick government departments including the Department of Health; the Executive Council Office; Post-secondary Education, Training and Labour; Education and Early Childhood Development; and Social Development.

About ACOA

ACOA creates opportunities for economic growth in Atlantic Canada by helping businesses become more competitive, innovative and productive; by working with communities to develop and diversify their economies; and by championing the strengths of Atlantic Canada.

Media contacts

  • Kelsey Pye, Communications Officer, UNB, 506-261-7788
  • Ann Kenney, Senior Communications Officer, ACOA NB, 506-260-2193

Photo credit: Joy Cummings