There is a great opportunity for First Nations people to fill employee needs in Yorkton and area moving forward.
That was the message those attending the Yorkton Chamber of Commerce luncheon last Wednesday heard from speaker Wilfred Whitehawk Jr., Employment and Training Counsellor with the Yorkton Tribal Council.
Whitehawk said one of the key objectives of his office is “building bridges from industry to students” with an eye to helping First Nations people finding lasting careers.
The programs “offers status First Nations people who are unemployed, or under-employed,” a range of support services to help them find lasting employment, said Whitehawk. Non-funded services are also offered to non-status First Nations people.
Whitehawk said programming can vary, but it is all focused on creating “valuable work experience” to go along with training, which can help those involved fill employer needs.
To achieve the goal Whitehawk said they also want to create “partnerships with employers” to facilitate training employees to meet specific needs.
To that end Whitehawk said they work with organizations such as Parkland College, the Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies, and Van-X to provide needed education.
But training alone is not enough.
“Employment after training, that is pretty much our main goal,” said Whitehawk.
In that regard Whitehawk said there are certainly jobs in the city which need people to fill them.
“The city of Yorkton economy is getting better and better each year,” he said.
Whitehawk reasoned First Nations should be an important part of meeting those needs.
“First Nations are one of the fastest growing demographics in Saskatchewan, and Canada in general,” he noted.
While Whitehawk said they actively seek employment opportunities for clients, it is a two way street. He encouraged employers to come to them when they need employees, adding their motto “our doors are always open, all you have to do is walk through” applies to not just First Nations people seeking support, but employers needing staff.
“We encourage all employers in Yorkton and area to walk through our doors for employment services,” he said.