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One of the people vying to lead the provincial NDP wants to provide free post-secondary education to students who have aged out of the child-welfare system.

Wab Kinew announced yesterday that he is committing to a tuition fee waiver program, which will be accompanied by a wage subsidy program, should he end up Premier. The plan would see tuition and books covered by the province, and the wage subsidy program would cover salary costs for new graduates from the program for the first three months of their first job after graduating.

Based on average tuition levels in Manitoba, the program would invest approximately $4,500 per student, per year in tuition costs, and $6,300 in wage subsidy costs.

Kinew believes the costs of this will save the province money down the line in family services, health, and justice systems.

The initial plan would be to establish a $2-million pilot program for a partial wage subsidy for 1,000 recent grads, initially set at one-third of salary for the first three months.

A task force would also be created to help grads transition into the workforce.