Two new projects from the Skills Partnership Fund (SPF) will help nearly 100 Indigenous peoples develop their skills and gain work experience.

Samantha McKay/NNSL photo
Inuvik Mayor Jim McDonald (left), poses with Duane Ningaqsiq Smith, Chair and CEO of the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation, Northwest Territories MP Michael McLeod, and Jordan Peterson, Gwich’in Tribal Council Vice President at the Skills and Partnership Fund announcement Tuesday, Jan. 16.

Michael McLeod, MP for the Northwest Territories, announced the projects on behalf of the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, in Inuvik on Jan. 16.

“By providing more opportunities and training for Indigenous people, the Government of Canada is demonstrating the importance of helping all people get the skills and experience they need to help build strong communities like ours across the country and to contribute to growing the middle class,” McLeod said.

One of the initiatives, the Taii Trigwatsii (Breaking Trails) project, will be delivered by the Gwich’in Tribal Council. With $4,553,065 from the SPF, it will support up to 80 Indigenous peoples in the Gwich’in communities of Inuvik, Fort McPherson, Aklavik, and Tsiigehtchic to take part in skills development and gain work experience.

The other initiative will receive $826,984 from the SPF and will allow up to 18 Indigenous women to take part in a Licensed Practical Nurse Program at Aurora College’s Aurora Campus in Inuvik.

Men are also eligible to apply for this program, however, the program is targeting women, according to Amélie Maisonneuve, senior media relations spokesperson for Employment and Social Development Canada.

“The initial Call for Proposals (CFP) for the Government of Canada’s Skills and Partnership Fund sought applications from Indigenous organizations for projects focused on improving opportunities for Indigenous people, particularly youth and women,” Maisonneuve said in an email. “While the SPF project, the Licensed Practical Nurse Program, delivered by Inuvialuit Regional Corporation (IRC) targets women, as per criteria of the CFP, men may also apply.”

Maisonneuve added that the government is committed to encouraging under-represented groups such as Indigenous women get the skills and training they need to find and keep jobs.

Delivered in conjunction by Aurora College and the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation, the LPN project will “test innovative training approaches, address barriers to employment and build capacity throughout the Inuvialuit Settlement Region,” according to a press release on Michael McLeod’s website.

Robert Charlie, director of beneficiary services at the Gwich’in Tribal Council, said this funding will allow them to work with people in the community that they haven’t been able to reach before.

“The SPF funding will enable us to work with people and help them gain the qualifications they need to enter post-secondary programs,” Charlie said. “Hopefully our economy will pick up and there will be opportunities available for them. There are other regions that have better economies than us, so hopefully they’re going to be able to go to post-secondary and gain employment somewhere in the region.”

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