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From left to right: Chief librarian, John Pateman, AETS executive director, John DeGiacomo, Minister Patty Hajdu, Sharon Ostberg, president of the AETS Board, and Matthew Dupuis, chief of the Red Rock Indian Band, cut the ribbon to open the AETS centre at the Waverley Resource Library.

Anishinabek Employment Service continuing to fill training gap

AETS is looking to help even more Indigenous people pursue education and employment opportunities

THUNDER BAY - Bele Wigwas said as an Indigenous person, she has faced numerous barriers when it comes to pursuing her education and career goals. After utilizing the Anishinabek Employment and Training Services she has been working as a personal support worker for the past three years.

“It gave me the confidence to take this step and now I plan to pursue nursing in 2020,” she said. "There was always someone with us 24/7 and it was really good. I feel like I wouldn’t be able to do it just at Confederation College because of the barriers First Nation people face.”

Anishinabek Employment and Training Services is looking to help even more Indigenous people pursue education and employment opportunities with the help of more than $16 million in federal funding, a new training space in partnership with the Thunder Bay Public Library, and status under the Indigenous Skills and Employment Training Program. 

“As an (ISET) agreement holder now, we are among 20 now in Ontario and we can work with different organizations, colleges, universities, training institutions, to help individuals move from being out of school and out of work to employment,” said AETS executive director, John DeGiacomo.

AETS was established 20 years ago to assist Indigenous people in overcoming barriers when pursuing education and career opportunities through holistic programming and traditional supports.
According to DeGiacomo, the service works with an average of 400 people a year and services nine communities in Northwestern Ontario.

“We’ve realized that certainly the Indigenous population is a growing population and that there are barriers, like any individual looking for employment, so we are here to reduce and minimize those barriers,” DeGiacomo said.
On Tuesday, Minister of Employment, Workforce, Development, and Labour, Patty Hajdu, announced more than $16.9 million in funding over a 10-year period through the First Nation Labour Market Strategy.

DeGiacomo said the funding will help with wage subsidies for employers and allow AETS plan for training in different sectors throughout the north.

“We know in the nine communities, there is forestry going on, mining going on, health sector area opportunities, the environment,” he said. “We know there are a number of different occupations available, so we are there to help with the training gap to ensure that population in the region can help get employed and stay in the region.”

Source: The News Watch


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