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SLC brings youth employment programming to First Nations communities

2013-11-22, 1:32 PM

Since 2008, Corporate Learning and Performance Improvement (CLPI) at St. Lawrence College has delivered innovative programming for First Nations youth and young adults who face barriers to entering the labour market. The goal of the programs is to help meet First Nations’ training needs through the delivery of specific training that allows them to remain in their communities while learning new skills and acquiring certifications that make them more employable.

To date, the impact and benefits for these First Nations communities has been enormous. On average 85 per cent of those who start the programs go on to find jobs in their local community or return to school. St. Lawrence College recently received a letter from the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, praising the Youth in Pre-Construction program in the northern community of Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI), which provided “much needed and rare opportunities for their youth, the benefit of which reaches beyond the actual courses,” the letter states.

“Our programs are very carefully designed, with input from the local First Nations Bands, to ensure that a holistic approach is taken in working with these youth with barriers to help them make the transition from unemployment to employment or to return to school,” said Mike Laking, Manager, Community Outreach & Corporate Learning, Corporate Learning and Performance Improvement at St. Lawrence College.  “Whenever possible, all instructors, trainers and program supervisors for these programs are First Nations peoples chosen in partnership with local Band Offices and St. Lawrence College.”

“Regarding KI, I first became aware of this community when the Kingston campus hosted a visit and luncheon for several of the KI youth during last fall’s Third World Canada film tour, where I met film maker Andrée Cazabon. I made a commitment to KI at that time that I would do whatever possible to bring a youth program to their community,” Laking said. The KI program started last August 19 with 12 students, and on October 11, 10 students graduated. Corporate Learning and Performance Improvement will be starting another program in KI early next year.

Dakota Bardy graduated from a program in Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory where he obtained the two high school credits he was missing, and now he is attending flight school to become a pilot. “The program has given me the chance to better myself as a student and person. [It] would have been difficult without the help of this program. It was enjoyable, as well, and gave me additional experience in a job environment,” he said.

“The programming delivered to First Nations communities through Corporate Learning and Performance Improvement is just one of the ways we’re providing innovative and successful learning opportunities,” said Glenn Vollebregt, President and CEO of St. Lawrence College. “The students’ success in these programs will have long lasting and far reaching benefits both for them personally and for their communities.”

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For information:

Laura Tulchinsky
St. Lawrence College, Communications
613-544-5400, ext. 1291
Cell: 613-329-2451
ltulchinsky@sl.on.ca