SASKATOON, SASKATCHEWAN--(Marketwire - Jan. 17, 2013) - Aboriginal people in Saskatchewan will be better equipped to find fulfilling long-term employment, thanks to funding from the Governments of Canada and Saskatchewan. The announcement was made today by Rob Clarke, Member of Parliament for Desnethé-Missinippi-Churchill River, and Rob Norris, MLA for Saskatoon Greystone and Legislative Secretary to the Premier for First Nations Engagement, on behalf of the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and the Honourable Bill Boyd, Saskatchewan Minister of the Economy.
Through the Skills and Partnership Fund, the Harper Government will help 800 Aboriginal people to find jobs by investing over $7.9 million in Northern Career Quest for its training to employment project in the mining industry.
"Our government is focused on creating jobs, economic growth and long-term prosperity," said Mr. Clarke. "That is why we work with organizations like Northern Career Quest to ensure that Aboriginal people are able to take full advantage of economic opportunities."
The Government of Saskatchewan will also invest $1.5 million in the project through the Ministry of the Economy.
"Engaging our province's Aboriginal people in the economy is of great importance and is one of the highlights of our government's recently released growth plan," said Mr. Norris. "Strategic investments in initiatives like Northern Career Quest facilitate employment and will prove to be highly beneficial in helping to build Saskatchewan's Aboriginal workforce and in addressing our provincial labour force needs."
Northern Career Quest will provide Aboriginal people in Saskatchewan with classroom and on-site training and work experience in the mining industry. Over two years, 800 participants will be trained in high-demand positions, such as mine technicians, heavy equipment operators, welders and office administrators.
"Funding provided for the original Northern Career Quest program produced extremely positive benefits for industry, communities and most importantly individual Northern families," said Steve Innes, Chief Executive Officer, Northern Career Quest. "We are very confident that with similar strong federal, provincial and industry support, we will achieve the same, and even enhanced, levels of success from this initiative."
The project will also be partly funded by industry partners, including Cameco and Areva, as well as by Northlands College.
"The initial success of the Northern Career Quest program has created approximately 1,450 jobs in northern Saskatchewan," said Gary Merasty, Northern Career Quest Inc. chair and vice-president of Corporate Social Responsibility for Cameco. "By going ahead with a second expanded program, communities, industry and government are ensuring that progress continues for First Nations and Métis people in northern Saskatchewan."
The Skills and Partnership Fund is part of the Harper Government's approach to help First Nations, Métis and Inuit get training and work experience to secure sustainable, meaningful employment.
This news release is available in alternative formats on request.
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Launched in July 2010, the Skills and Partnership Fund encourages Aboriginal organizations to create partnerships with government, business and community organizations that drive change, improve skills training and create opportunities for Aboriginal people.
The Harper Government is investing $210 million over five years in this partnership-based, opportunity-driven fund. The Fund supports projects that encourage innovation, test new approaches and address systemic gaps in the delivery of employment services for Aboriginal Canadians to ensure this growing population can fully share in economic opportunities.
The Skills and Partnership Fund responds to the changing needs and priorities of the labour market while providing opportunities for Aboriginal people to fully participate in Canada's economy.
The Harper Government also supports the Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training Strategy, which is an integrated approach to Aboriginal labour market programming that links training to labour market demand. The Strategy supports more than 80 Aboriginal organizations in the delivery of programs and services to increase Aboriginal participation in the Canadian labour market. It focuses on three strategic priorities: supporting skills development; fostering partnerships with the private sector and the provinces and territories; and accountability and results. The program was launched in April 2010 with funding of $1.6 billion over five years.