Feds to provide Matawa with over $6 million
The federal government will provide almost $6 million to the people Matawa First Nations to prepare them for jobs in the Ring of Fire.
The Government of Canada’s Skills and Partnership Fund announced last week that they will contribute over $5.9 million to the Ring of Fire Aboriginal Training Alliance (RoFATA) to provide training for employment in the mining sector for the people of Matawa First Nations.
Nine specialized training and six pre-trade courses will be made available to Matawa First Nations members as soon as October 2013. Length of training will vary from five to 20 weeks.
About 260 members will be trained either in their First Nation communities or at the Confederation College campus in Thunder Bay. RoFATA will later employee 196 newly trained individuals.
Greg Rickford, minister of State and minister responsible for the Ring of Fire, made his first announcement in his newly appointed position at a press conference at Confederation College in Thunder Bay on August 8.
“Our government’s top priorities are creating jobs, economic growth and long-term prosperity across the country, and right here in northern Ontario,” Rickford said. “It’s important that all Canadians have the necessary skills and training they need to succeed. We are ensuring that the members of our local Aboriginal communities can take full advantage of the opportunities being generated by the rapidly growing mining industry the Ring of Fire has to offer.”
Rickford said that with training, workers in the region will gain practical, transferable skills which will increase the number of Matawa First Nations members who are employable in the mining sector.
Building strong relationships with communities will also be key to the RoFATA initiative, Rickford said.
“We want this to be done in full co-operation and communication with our own communities and leaders,” Rickford said. “It must, and it will, include First Nations people and communities.”
Rickford ended by adding that with the newly announced funding, the federal government is sending “a strong message that we’ll be there to support you.”
Chief Celia Echum, Ginoogaming First Nation, added that the funding would create many opportunities for Matawa communities.
“In my community there are many people without jobs or training to get jobs,” Echum said. “With this new training initiative, we have opportunity.”
Echum noted that education would allow First Nations people to be more involved in the mining projects than in the past.
“This time, it will be different,” said Echum. “This time, our people will be part of the development. This time, it will be different because we will be trained.”
Following the announcement of $5.9 million in funding, RoFATA revealed a new logo designed by John Ferris of Constance Lake First Nation which will represent the alliance.
RoFATA is an alliance between Matawa First Nations, Kiikenomaga Kikenjigewen Employment and Training Services (KKETS), Noront Ressources Ltd. and Confederation College.
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