MLTC gets funding for improved job training

Desenthe-Missinippi-Churchill MP Rob Clarke (left) and MLTC Chief Eric Sylvestre (right) sign a funding agreement that will see MLTC get almost $538,000 to improve aboriginal job training.

Part of previous federal agreement

By Mac Christie

The Canadian government announced funding for a program through the Meadow Lake Tribal Council last week that will see aboriginal people in the area develop job skills.

Rob Clarke, MP for Desenthe-Missinippi-Churchill, announced the $537,928 in funding at MLTC Nov. 9, which will be used to assess the skills of 1,200 First Nations people on social assistance within the nine First Nations.

Following the assessments, about 950 clients will create action plans to enhance their skills.

“It’s a win-win scenario with long-term benefits for everyone involved,” said Clarke. “Participants get the training and experience they need to develop job skills, employers get access to a new pool of workers and communities become stronger.”

MLTC tribal chief Eric Sylvestre said the tribal council has found there is a group of people in their population who aren’t able to access training. He said there are barriers that may include anything from not having a driver’s license, or completing their Grade 12 to getting a pardon.

“They may have a record and some of them don’t even realize that they could eliminate those records in five years and get a pardon,” he said.

Sylvestre listed a MLTC partnership with Shell Oil in Alberta as somewhere the tribal council saw these problems.

“We get a lot of people applying for programs that we run,” he said. “We’ve had experiences where we couldn’t hire people as part of the training program because they wouldn’t be able to get to the job-site.

“They may have these barriers and they are on social assistance so they can’t (afford to) overcome them.”

Sylvestre said the program is particularly important for the recently-announced biomass power project.

“The intent is to employ our people, train them to prepare for when that power project becomes operational two years from now,” he explained.

While the funding is planned to help about 950 people, Sylvestre said those are the early numbers, and it could help more.

The funding is part of an agreement signed in March 2011, which is meant to increase the number of First Nations people in the Saskatchewan labour force.

“We’re always looking for opportunities,” said Sylvestre of the agreement. “This funding will help a great deal. It’s preparing our employable people for the workforce.”

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