— The Strait Highlands Regional Development Agency will receive almost $40,000 to work on linking local businesses with skilled workers and on creating supportive work environments. The Development Isle Madame Association is a major partner in this project, as part of its repopulation project. — The Colchester Regional Development Agency will involve immigrants and international students in developing projects that support welcoming communities. The agency will also help skilled immigrants gain work experience, connect employers with skilled workers, work on new resources for immigrants who want to start or expand a business, and meet with local employers to encourage hiring and provide access to workplace support. — The Cumberland Regional Economic Development Association will receive funding to complete a regional repopulation strategy. The results will be available to the Council of Atlantic Premiers and the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) as they develop population strategies for the Atlantic provinces. — The Halifax Regional Development Association will create networks to build public awareness about immigration, plan community events, provide personal and business contacts for mentorship, and support settlement of immigrants. These activities will occur in four communities outside of Halifax-Bedford-Dartmouth. Funding decisions were recommended to the minister by a federal-provincial assessment committee. The committee included representatives from the Office of Immigration, Office ofEconomic Development, Department of Education, Citizenship and Immigration Canada, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, Heritage Canada, and ACOA. Immigrants in rural and suburban communities will get more help finding work and settling into their new communities, thanks to provincial funding being provided for the first time to regional development authorities. Immigration Minister Rodney MacDonald announced today, Sept. 9, that funding is being provided to all rural authorities that applied for the provincial grants. “We want all parts of our province to benefit from immigration, and we know immigrant families are interested in living in communities of all sizes,” Mr. MacDonald said. “Working with our regional development authorities is an important way to provide the services these newcomers need to help them settle, succeed and stay.” Almost $135,000 will be provided to regional development authorities. This is part of the $340,000, or 30 per cent of total funding, being invested this year in outreach and other programs to support immigration in rural and suburban communities. The projects approved for funding: The Pictou Regional Development Commission has been selected to develop a tool kit to guide communities in attracting immigrants, and helping them settle. This will build on a national tool kit, soon to be released by Citizenship and Immigration Canada. The Nova Scotia Association of Regional Development Authorities is being invited to partner in this project so the kit can be available and relevant to all regional development authorities.