Funding announced to help Indigenous people job seekers
Tim Brody - Editor
A federal investment of $5,730,241 will allow the Sioux Lookout Area Aboriginal Employment & Training Board (SLAAMB) to provide training for Indigenous people looking to join the workforce.
SLAAMB coordinator Mary Tait commented, “This funding will support new programs and also current ones. It will support and continue to assist the current training programs, especially at a time of new developments within our region.”
Kenora MP Bob Nault announced the funding on behalf of Employment Workforce Development and Labour Minister Patty Hajdu on July 12, in Sioux Lookout, while addressing SLAAMB’s 2018 Annual General Assembly.
Nault commented, “This is really a continuation of our view that SLAAMB is one of the most important players in the northwest when it comes to training and the training structure.”
“Despite being the fastest-growing segment of Canada’s workforce, Indigenous people are underrepresented, and our economy has not been operating at its best by leaving their talent on the table,” stated Nault. “Our government wants to ensure that Indigenous people living in the North have the necessary training and education to find good paying and meaningful jobs in a number of areas, including the trades, hospitality, health care, and information technology sectors.”
“In total, 334 participants will be trained in: skilled trades, hospitality, water treatment, information technology, security, health care, and heavy equipment operation.
“Of those participants, 170 will be youth recruited from 25 First Nations in the region, who will gain work experience under the At Risk Youth Program Initiative.
“The project is supported by the Skills Partnership Fund (SPF), which encourages Indigenous organizations to form partnerships with governments, businesses and community organizations to provide skills training that contributes to long-term, meaningful employment for Indigenous people,” a news release issued by Nault explained.
“The training areas were identified as per the community needs and as discussed by chiefs in the past,” Tait noted.
Nault also spoke with chiefs about future opportunities for their communities in areas such as broadband internet, improved infrastructure in their communities and all weather roads.
“Generally the conversation was about the future, the youth, and how they’ll fit into our economy here in the northwest,” he said.
“There are very real barriers to employment for many Indigenous people in our country,” Nault stated. “Breaking down these obstacles will ensure that everyone living in the North has a fair chance at success. I’m extremely pleased to see that we are moving in the right direction.”
Nishnawbe Aski Nation Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler was also in attendance for the announcement commenting, “We welcome the announcement that was made here by MP Nault on behalf of Minister Hajdu. It’s so important that we focus on skills development and training, especially for youth. I mentioned this when I ran for Grand Chief three years ago that in my visits to our communities I am sickened when I see our youth and community members standing around while their new school is being built or new health centre is being built. A big construction company flies in from Winnipeg or Thunder Bay, they set up their camp and they do all the work… That’s wrong. That is something that we need to address.”
He concluded, “Now, over the last year or so with these bigger infrastructure projects that will be coming in the NAN territory, Wataynikaneyap Power is a prime example… It’s so important that we focus on our community members, our youth, to ensure that they have the skills, the capacity to gain meaningful employment with these projects.”