Gateway Gazette

Job Training for Indigenous Women

With support from the government, more young, Indigenous women are receiving valuable training to get good jobs.

Back, L-R: Christina Gray, Minister of Labour, Keisha Coleman, student; Front L-R: Richard Feehan, Minister of indigenous Relations, Shania Brereton, student and Trevor Horne, MLA, Spruce Grove-St. Albert

Through funding from the Alberta Employment Partnerships Program, 11 Indigenous women are training to be heavy equipment operators so they can get well-paying jobs and begin new careers.

“Alberta is proud to support employment and training initiatives for Indigenous people. Training like this provides strong employment opportunities for these women, and the sense of pride that comes with moving towards financial security and independence.”

~Richard Feehan, Minister of Indigenous Relations

The 12-week training program gives participants direct hands-on experience operating a variety of machinery, including motor grader excavators, bulldozers, front-end loaders and articulated rock trucks. The average wage of a heavy equipment operator is $72,000 a year.

“Oteenow appreciates the long-standing relationship with the Government of Alberta. The supports Oteenow receives from GOA has allowed us to invest in youth, Indigenous women and all First Nation, Inuit people residing in the Edmonton metropolitan area.”

~Roberta Bearhead, executive director, Oteenow Employment and Training Society

The Alberta government provided $160,888 to the Oteenow Employment and Training Society and the Tribal Chiefs Employment and Training Services Association to run the program. The training is taking place at High Velocity Heavy Equipment Training College, just west of Edmonton. High Velocity boasts a 92 per cent job-placement rate for graduates and participants often secure employment before they finish their training.

“Without the continued partnership, financial support of the Government of Alberta and leveraging funding through Tribal Chiefs Employment and Training Services Association and Oteenow Employment and Training Society, programs such as this training may not happen. Our goal is to ensure that First Nation individuals from northeast Alberta are not left behind in the Alberta economy. We know the female trainees in the heavy equipment training program will be successful with the new acquired skills. We believe, together, we can achieve more.”

~Eva John-Gladue, operations manager, Tribal Chiefs Employment and Training Services Association

The funding comes from the Canada-Alberta Job Fund, a federal-provincial agreement designed to help deliver skills training to current and future workers. It is administered through the Alberta Employment Partnerships Program, which has provided $8.7 million to support skills development and training opportunities for Indigenous people in Alberta since 2015.

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