Considering the tendency of a good number of Island youth to complete their postsecondary studies off-Island and then pursue their careers outside the province, the PERCÃ PEI program was initiated in 2004 by La Société de développement de la Baie acadienne (SDBA), in partnership with RDÉE Prince Edward Island, as a pilot project. Its global objective was to help repatriate some of our youth.
During the first few years, the program was aimed at Acadian and francophone students from PEI. Eight youth participated in the first year, 10 in the second year and eight in the third year. This program, considered a best practice at the national level practically from the get-go, caught the attention of the Island Anglophone community. Resources West Inc. from West Prince accepted to form a partnership with the SDBA. An Anglophone section of the program was therefore begun in 2007.
Throughout the years, from 2010 to 2012, the other Atlantic Canadian provinces also had the opportunity to participate in PERCÉ.
In 2020, at our 17th edition of the program, the RDÉE is offering the program to 30 young Islanders.
In 2022, we brought the total number of participants to 35.
So have we actually helped reverse the so-called "brain-drain"? Well, according to surveys we've conducted with our hundreds of former participants, 81 per cent of them are presently settled on PEI or will soon be returning here.
We are therefore very proud of this impressive and enviable number! We have every intention of continuing to offer this great program and to keep it evolving!