Maata Jaw has made an uncommon transition from childcare to economic development officer. Eager and ambitious, Jaw dropped off her resume at the Cape Dorset hamlet office, among many other places, last year.
She received a call a short while later asking if she’d be interested in the economic development officer position, which had been vacant for several months.
Her past employment was primarily at the community’s former daycare and babysitting. She then had a baby of her own. She was hired by the hamlet in September shortly after she began job hunting following her maternity period.
This is Jaw’s first time working in an office environment and it has involved quite a few adjustments, she acknowledged.
“I’m learning every day, pretty much,” she said. “The first month when I started I felt a lot of pressure because I had no idea what to do. I was close to quitting I don’t know how many times but I feel a lot better now.”
She spends much of her days posting job opportunities on local bulletin boards, sending and reviewing emails and seeking funding for various projects. She was able to send four youths to a skills development training and work placement program in Iqaluit, for example. She also assists people with applications for numerous grants, such as for carving tools.
When she needs guidance, she gets it from senior administrative officer John Hussey or from Department of Economic Development and Transportation staff, she said.
There have already been a few training opportunities for her that involved travel: she went to Iqaluit in January to participate in an Inuktut note-taking course and squeezed in a single day of the Community Economic Development Conference in December – missing the other day because her flight was grounded due to inclement weather.
A career in economic development isn’t set in stone.
“In the back of my mind I’ve been thinking if I should go for college or stick with the job. I don’t know right now,” Jaw said.