Friendship centre gets $1.3 million from feds

Paul Bickford/NNSL photo
Northwest Territories MP Michael McLeod, left, was in Hay River on March 3 to announce $1.3 million in funding for a new program at the Soaring Eagle Friendship Centre. McLeod was joined for the announcement by Shari Caudron, the friendship centre’s executive director.

The federal government is providing $1.3 million to Soaring Eagle Friendship Centre to train young people for the workforce.

The announcement was made at the friendship centre on March 3 by Northwest Territories MP Michael McLeod.

“It’s a significant investment but it’s a very good one,” he said.

McLeod said the three-year project will help young people get the job skills and hands-on experience they need to succeed in the job market.

“Many young people looking for work now are struggling just to get their foot in the door, and more often than not they’re caught in a Catch-22 situation – no experience means no job, no job means no experience,” he said. “Young people need a chance to show what they can do.”

The funding is coming from the Skills Link program, which helps young Canadians overcome barriers to employment.

Over the three years of the program, up to 60 youth in the South Slave, Dehcho and North Slave regions will receive training.

“The participants will have five weeks of in-class employability and essential skills training, followed by 15-week work placements in the trades and construction industry,” said McLeod.

Shari Caudron, the executive director of Soaring Eagle Friendship Centre, expressed appreciation for the funding.

“We are very excited to start this program right off the bat in April,” she said, noting Soaring Eagle is already working with a local company which has job openings for carpenters.

“That will be the first program out of the gate,” she said. “We’ll train 10 to 15 people in introduction to carpentry and then we will provide a wage subsidy to the employer to keep them on. The deal is that they have to keep them on after the wage subsidy is done.”

Caudron explained that Soaring Eagle, which has done previous job training programs, first meets with employers to find out where the jobs are.

“We don’t just train to train, but we make sure that they’re going to have jobs when they’re done,” she said.

That will often involve the trades, but Caudron said Soaring Eagle would be open to provide training in other areas where there might be a need for workers, such as marketing.

McLeod made the announcement of the funding – $1,276,000 – on behalf of Patty Hajdu, the minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour.

In a news release, Hajdu noted the Skills Link program supports projects that provide hands-on work experience, job search assistance and skills upgrading resources for youth facing barriers to employment, including single parents, persons with disabilities and those who live in rural and remote areas.

“Giving youth a strong start through this type of project will ensure that the next generation of capable workers, entrepreneurs, business leaders, innovators and tradespeople achieve success and grow our economy,” said Hajdu.

–Paul Bickford