A group of Saskatchewan First Nations is receiving $3.2 million from the federal government to assist with on-reserve youth job training.
The Battlefords, Meadow Lake, Saskatoon and Yorkton tribal councils and the Lac La Ronge Indian Band are all taking part in the first phase of the program.
Saskatoon Tribal Council Chief Felix Thomas says the program will enable young people living on reserve to get the training they need to participate in Saskatchewan’s booming economy.
“A lot of the reserves the economy is limited, it’s starting to pick up but it’s not picking up fast enough for the demographics,” he says. “So they need to partner up and reach out to the surrounding communities and the urban areas and the industry.”
Lac La Ronge Indian Band Chief Tammy Cook-Searson adds the money will go toward caseworkers who will help young people attain the basic skills they need to get into the workforce.
“It’s more like getting into the local economy and also getting your driver’s licence, GED, live skills training,” she says.
Cook-Searson also says staff for the program will be hired to work in each of the LLRIB’s six communities.
In total and across the country, the Harper government is investing $241 million over four years in the on-reserve youth jobs training program.
The program is targeted toward young people aged 18-24.
In order to qualify for social assistance, they must now take part in the jobs training program.
Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt was in Saskatoon Friday morning to announce the first phase of the program.