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Troy Zahara is shown with some of the heavy equipment at a worksite in Burnside, Dartmouth.

N.S. construction company hires
Mi’kmaq workers in new program

Dexter Construction, the largest heavy civil construction company in Atlantic Canada, has partnered with the Mi’kmaw Economic Benefits Office (MEBO) to start a training program for young Mi’kmaq workers, with the goal of adding more local Indigenous people in their workforce.

“We were thrilled to have local Mi’kmaq as part of this program; they really impressed us during the interview process.”

“This September we offered fulltime employment to two local Mi’kmaq who graduated from our Heavy Equipment Operator program,” said Brad Johnson, Director of Training for Dexter. They are Troy Zahara from Membertou and Shawn Mason from Sipekne’katik (Indian Brook).

Troy and Shawn were two of 20 students in a 15-week training program at the Dexter Institute Private Career College in Bedford. Training is followed by a three-month paid work term that leads to an offer of full-time employment upon graduation. Dexter’s Brad Johnson said they had more than 100 applications for the training program and could only accept 20.

Tyler Gould, Program Manager with MEBO, said the province of Nova Scotia spends more than $250 million a year on highway construction. He said this yearly highway construction work is a great opportunity and presents many job opportunities.

“We want to make sure our people have the training needed to get jobs with large companies like Dexter. In recent years, we had success in helping local Mi’kmaq get hired on different highway construction projects, as labourers, and in traffic control. Getting our people into the Dexter Institute, their registered Private Career College, presents greater long-term opportunities. It also opens the door to other jobs, including as heavy equipment operators. With experience and further in-house training, they can also move into management positions.”

Source: Mi'kmaw Economic Benefits Office


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