Kenjgewin Teg sees $4M for new student support initiatives

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M’CHIGEENG—On Wednesday, the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour announced a new project that will provide essential skills and job training to approximately 270 First Nation youth and adults in apprenticeship sectors during a special visit to M’Chigeeng First Nation.

The Kenjgewin Teg Education Institute (KTEI) has received federal funding under the Skills Partnership Fund (SPF), which encourages Indigenous organizations to form partnerships with governments, businesses and community organizations to provide skills training that contributes to long-term, meaningful employment for First Nation people.

KTEI’s innovative new project, Mshiigaade Miikan – The Path is Clearing, will partner with the Union of Ontario Indians and Sault College of Applied Arts and Technology to strengthen First Nation peoples’ employability opportunities in key apprenticeship sectors such as skilled trades, hospitality, tourism, and teacher education.

Thursday’s announcement is one way in which the Government of Canada is delivering on its commitment to break down barriers for Indigenous people in Canada’s workforce. The Government is investing $2 billion over five years and over $400 million per year ongoing to create a new Indigenous Skills and Employment Training Program that will help address employment gaps between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people. Through additional programs like Student Work Placements and Canada Summer Jobs, the government is also prioritizing high-quality paid work experience for young Indigenous students.

“Breaking down job barriers for First Nation people helps ensure that everyone has a real and fair chance at success,” The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, said in a press release. “It’s not just the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do for our economy here in Northern Ontario.”

“Kenjgewin Teg is embarking and preparing for a chartered path in Anishinaabek education and training that will help to increase the employability and labour market readiness for 270 Anishinaabek youth and adults,” said Stephanie Roy, Executive Director of Kenjgewin Teg Education Institute. “The Mshiigaade Miikan project will test an innovative and collaborative approach that reconceptualises a new way of honouring, creating, sharing and teaching from a worldview that is truly Indigenous education or more specifically, Anishinaabek education.”

Over the course of 37 months, KTEI will receive a total of $4,915,189 of federal funding through the SPF program. With this funding KTEI will continue to enhance the employability and labour market readiness for youth and adult members interested in key apprenticeship sectors such as skilled trades, hospitality, tourism, and various aspects of teacher education.