HALIFAX, NS - A new educational initiative is launching across the province this month, as the result of a joint partnership between Junior Achievement Nova Scotia and Torusoft. The Nova Scotia Digital Bridge Scholarship will enable secondary school students to learn computer programming and related skills, through free access to online learning materials and dedicated mentorship.

The Digital Bridge Scholarship is based on the premise that learning should be free of charge, sustained and scalable. As such, it is funded entirely through donations from the private sector; seats are available for a six-month term, and require nomination by teachers or Junior Achievement; and finally, the scholarship is available to students across the province, limited only by funding.

The idea came from an open proposal penned by Torusoft in the spring, which quickly gained support among industry stakeholders, community partners and public officials. In August, the scholarship found a home with Junior Achievement Nova Scotia, where it is now offered alongside other core programming.

"The mentorship and learning tools available through the Digital Bridge Scholarship program will not only encourage our students to learn new things, but it will broaden their understanding of the digital world and the possibilities within it. We are particularly excited that students will be able to explore courses in ICT in conjunction with their experience in Company Program, along with the support and guidance of business and ICT mentors." - Kristin Williams, President & CEO, Junior Achievement Nova Scotia

The Digital Bridge Scholarship addresses a number of issues facing our youth and our economy today. As students aren't exposed to computer programming and related skills at a young age, few decide to pursue ICT as a potential career upon graduation. The ICT sector, in turn, is crying out for new graduates as it struggles to sustain its growth. The Digital Bridge Scholarship helps "bridge" the skills gap while deeper structural changes to education are pending.

"Junior Achievement's programming is based on financial literacy, workplace readiness and entrepreneurship. The Digital Bridge Scholarship combines these pillars with digital literacy, which is a crucial in identifying, creating and capitalizing on opportunity, starting a business or joining the workforce. It's exactly what this region needs, and will make J.A. even more relevant in Nova Scotia." - Ari Najarian, President, Torusoft

The Nova Scotia Digital Bridge Scholarship is soliciting donations, and seeking nominations for its fall cohort online at https://bridgescholarship.ca . A tax-deductible donation of $150 will fund one student for a six month term.

Launch sponsors include Dynamic Hosting, Sheepdog, Equals6, CodeKids.ca, Kula Partners, Proposify and Interview Rocket. Community partners, who will assist with marketing and promotion, include Digital Nova Scotia, StudentsNS, and Collide Halifax.