Natives to be trained for hospitality, construction employment opportunities

Jason Malloy
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MILLBROOK - Aboriginals from three Nova Scotia First Nation communities will be trained during the next two-and-a-half years for work in the hospitality and construction industries.
The Mi'kmaq Seven Generations Society is a $3.5-million training-to-employment program that has been operating since the
fall, but was only publicly announced on Wednesday.
"Today, not only marks a great opportunity, but it allows us to work together to move forward so Aboriginal people can sustain meaningful long-term employment," said chairwoman Melanie Raymond.
Band members from Millbrook, Indian Brook and Pictou Landing will be trained at Nova Scotia Community College campuses.
"We're trying to recruit about 240 people into the hospitality and construction trades with hopefully 65 jobs for them to compete for in the end," said client management officer Karen Pictou.
Those 65 jobs will be available at a yet-to-be announced hotel and water park to be built at the Truro Power Centre in Millbrook.
About 15 of the 240 people are already working at the power centre site where land is being cleared and preparations are being made for the hotel and park.
The applicants will be referred to the program by native employment officers and case managers.
Millbrook Chief Lawrence Paul said the First Nation population is expanding while the general population is decreasing. He said the program would enable trained Aboriginals to be prepared for the workforce as baby boomers retire.
The band currently employs about 285 of its 700 band members through a variety of its enterprises and has cut the number of members on welfare in half during the past number of years.
The federal government has contributed $1 million towards the project through the Aboriginal skills and employment partnership.
"Our government is committed to creating the best educated, the most skilled, and the most flexible workforce in the world," said National Defence Minister Peter MacKay. "That's why we invested $1 million in this project to help up to 65 Aboriginal people gain the skills they need to prepare for employment in the Nova Scotia hospitality and construction industries."
The remaining $2.5 million is being funded by Nova Scotia Department of Labour and Workforce Development, Native Council of Nova Scotia, Mi'kmaq Friendship Center and the three bands.
Other partners include the Confederacy of Mainland Mi'kmaq, Mi'kmaq Employment and Training Secretariat, Nova Scotia Community College, Pacrim Hospitality, Ocean Contracting and Brycon Construction.

Organizations: Nova Scotia Community College, Truro Power Centre, National Defence Nova Scotia Department of Native Council of Nova Scotia Friendship Center Brycon Construction

Geographic location: MILLBROOK, Indian Brook, Nova Scotia

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