AETS is settling in nicely to the Thunder Bay Public Library (TBPL), through a partnership which is transforming Waverley Library into a Community Hub. As an incorporated, not-for-profit organization, AETS is part of a national network delivering an Indigenous Skills and Employment Training (ISET) federally funded program with a focus in the North Superior Region.
Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) has been working with partners since 1999 to improve Indigenous participation in the economy, to assist clients in skills upgrading and training and to help Indigenous communities build capacity. The ISET program in its current form began in 2010 and has been extended until March 31, 2019 when a new version will begin. There are 85 Indigenous service organizations, commonly referred to as Agreement Holders, who deliver employment and training support services through over 600 points of service (like AETS) across Canada. The ISET program aims to provide support to Indigenous people to join the labour market by providing employment related assistance and training in addition to childcare supports and other services.
The Indigenous population of Canada according to the 2016 census is estimated to be 1,673,785 Citizens, and the clients served in the ISET Program is close to 23% (or 377,330) of the Indigenous population of Canada. It is interesting to note that the average age of an Indigenous Citizen in Canada is 32.1 years, which is almost a decade younger than the non-Indigenous population. In Thunder Bay, it is estimated that we have approximately 15,075 Indigenous people of which AETS serves anywhere up to 600 clients per year.
AETS had another successful year of delivering continuing education programs and training to employment services, at the same time as delivering externally funded Construction Craft Worker and Carpentry Training (Pre-Apprenticeship Training Programs) as well as Personal Support Worker Training (Skills Partnership Fund) and an Indigenous Workplace Inclusion Event. The collaborations engaged the trainees in a holistic approach to service co-ordination. The continued dedication and commitment of the AETS Board of Directors and Staff, was instrumental in creating a successful environment and service solutions during the past year.
AETS continues to also work co-operatively in a partnership for high school credits and a credit-granting process, whereby mature students may obtain credit for prior learning. Another program deliverable is the Dinowigehmin – Aboriginal Youth Leadership Program (AYLP), which is taking place this fall and is designed to contribute to the participant’s cultural, spiritual, mental, physical and emotional wellbeing. Please contact AETS to discover how we can assist with continuing education needs, be it via independent course study and/or scheduled class time (English or Math) and/or community leadership skills.
The new AETS key partnership between the TBPL and AETS, continues to accommodate the continued growth to empower the Anishinabek, and support the TBPL’s strategic plan in Community Hub development. Both the staff of the TBPL and AETS successfully completed a joint staff development day this past September, which serves as a good example when it comes to inclusion and reconciliation as well as the impact to and for the community.
On behalf of the AETS Board of Directors and Staff, AETS continues to be excited about the move and look forward to continuing to refine our delivery and services through our new location in partnership with the TBPL to even better meet the needs of Indigenous people.
Most of the major renovation is now complete at Waverley, with the exception of some signage which is expected to be done later this fall. Please visit our website at www.aets.org for details and/or feel free to drop by in person to Waverley on weekdays from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm.
John DeGiacomo – http://www.tbpl.ca. If you have a comment about today’s column, we would love to hear from you. Please comment below!