Career Starter Program

The Career Starter Program is no longer accepting applicants.


The Career Starter Program facilitates the transition of barriered youth into the labour market. It bridges the gap between talent and industry, introduces participants to the bio-economy as a viable career path, and enables employers to strengthen their workforce.

Program Description

Career Starter provides bio-economy employers with 50% of a youth’s salary to a maximum of $20,000 in wage subsidies for a three to nine-month job placement. This will help the employer adopt a diverse and inclusive work culture while satisfying their need for skilled labour.

The program encourages employers to open the bio-economy’s doors to barriered youth. As Canada faces a shortage of 65,000 workers in the bio-economy by 2029, Career Starter introduces employers to skilled labour in places they may not have otherwise considered looking.

In addition to the wage subsidy, the program can provide additional supports including:

  • internal job coaching;
  • access to BioTalent Canada’s suite of Essential Skills and Technical Skills training courses; and
  • Onboarding tools for employers, including a diversity and inclusion HR policy template; and on-going monitoring to ensure program success.


Participants must be:

  • no younger than 15 and no older than 30 years of age;
  • a barriered youth, including but not limited to:
    • Involuntary NEET (not in education, employment, training) for at least six months
    • with disability
    • Indigenous
    • A recent immigrant and/or refugee
    • A visible minority
    • LGBTQ2 +
    • Homeless or at risk of becoming homeless
    • Living in a low-income household
    • Residing in a rural or remote location
    • Living with family care responsibilities
    • Affected by substance use
    • Currently in, coming out of, or who have been involved in the justice system
    • In or aging out of care
    • Living with low levels of literacy and numeracy
  • A Canadian citizen, permanent resident, or person who has been granted refugee status in Canada; and
  • Legally entitled to work in Canada, according to the relevant provincial and Canadian legislation and regulation.
  • New hires and cannot have started employment at the organization
  • Not being in school full-time (part-time students can apply), the participant needs to be able to work full-time.

Employer must:

  • maintain an internal process for supervising and mentoring for the participant;
  • offer a full-time position for three months to nine months;
  • provide a job coach for a minimum of 2.5 hours per month;
  • submit a progress report upon request and,
  • contribute at least 50% of the total salary of each participant.

This position must not be funded by another Federally funded program like IRAP, Mitacs, etc.
For specific application and eligibility details, please download the full application package.


Uncertain if you qualify? Don’t count yourself out.

Contact Colleen at 1-866-243-2472, ext. 218 or [email protected].


Funded in part by Government of Canada’s Youth Employment Skills Strategy Program