Government support of Aboriginal youth employment program announced

  • Feb. 24, 2009 7:00 p.m.

On Feb. 17, Blaine Calkins, Member of Parliament for the Wetaskiwin constituency, announced a new project on behalf of the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, that will benefit twelve youth from Hobbema’s Louis Bull – one of four First Nations communities in the area.

“In today’s environment, it is more important than ever that youth develop the skills needed to help them participate and succeed in the job market,” said Calkins. “This project will provide young Aboriginal people facing barriers to employment gain the skills, knowledge and work experience to get jobs or return to school.”

Under the federal Youth Employment Strategy program, the “Skills Link” project, promoting the development of skills needed to succeed in the job market, will receive $174, 177 in funding. The human resources department at the reserve who applied for funding and selected the candidates based on pre-selected criteria and eligibility such as age, the need of assistance to overcome employment barriers, currently out of school, legal entitlement to work, and one who is not an Employment Insurance recipient, were pleased to hear the announcement. Louis Bull received funding for the same program in the past and saw a 70 per cent rate of success. Calkins, who has seen the success this program has had in Rimbey and Bashaw, had the opportunity to meet the 12 young people he described as interesting and keen in bettering themselves, further instilling confidence in its success in Hobbema once again.

“We are pleased to partner with the federal government to help more Louis Bull youth discover their career aspirations,” said the Honourable Hector Goudreau, Alberta Minister of Employment in Immigration in a press release. “Despite the recent economic slowdown, Alberta continues to experience a shortage of skilled workers, and we welcome the opportunity to help these young people plan their career paths and take advantage of the many opportunities Alberta has to offer.”

For more information about this program, call 1-800-O-Canada, visit www.servicecanada.gc.ca or visit your local Service Canada Centre.