Indigenous literacy focus of new jobs program

CALGARY — Vinnie Van Overdyk understands what it’s like to start life without proper education.

Born on the Fairford First Nation in Manitoba, Van Overdyk said it was a long road to reach where she is now — helping develop a program to help Indigenous people learn essential literacy skills and benefit from job training.

“Over the years, I had to teach myself how to read and write because my parents hid me for a long time. I was 12 years old before I had my birth certificate. That’s when they (the government) caught up with me,” she said Thursday.

“They didn’t want me to go to the residential school. I had to learn my own way. I’ve done that I think, very successfully.”

Ottawa has put aside $2.7 million for the Further Education Society of Alberta, a non-profit organization that helps build literacy and essential skills.

It will partner with 15 employment service providers in British Columbia and Alberta to help 330 Indigenous job seekers improve their skills for jobs in the tourism and hospitality industry.

“That would be very exciting if we could teach our young people so that they don’t just sit in the classroom and pretend to learn something when they really don’t,” Van Overdyk said. “We can help our youngsters and adults so that some of the people don’t fall through the cracks, so they can live a successful life.”

Elaine Cairns, executive director of the education society, said the group will develop a template expected to be rolled out to other regions in B.C., northern Alberta and Ontario.

“It can be things as simple as working with others, problem solving, recognizing that you have to change some of your practices in the workplace,” Cairns said.

“You may need some upgrading of your reading and writing skills and that’s what we’ll do. We’ll go in and analyze what will make those individual learners be successful.”

Cairns said the contract is for 42 months but it may take a little longer to get things up and running. She said tourism seemed to be a good choice for the Calgary region.

“We had originally thought oil and gas but the timing for oil and gas is not really the best.”

Cairns said the training will be done in individual First Nations communities. It may also be tailored to other sectors in the different regions. The recommendations for the training will come from Indigenous educators across the across the country.

Just Posted

Tsunami warning for B.C.’s coast is cancelled after Alaska quake

VANCOUVER — A tsunami warning issued for coastal British Columbia was cancelled… Continue reading

Sewage spill shuts beaches along California’s Central Coast

MONTEREY, Calif. — Nearly 5 million gallons of sewage spilled into the… Continue reading

‘Shape of Water’ producer, Christopher Plummer among Canadian Oscar nominees

TORONTO — A Toronto producer who worked on “The Shape of Water”… Continue reading

US, others launch new tool to punish chemical weapons users

PARIS — The United States and 28 other countries are launching a… Continue reading

WATCH news on the go: Replay Red Deer Jan. 21

Watch news highlights from Red Deer and Central Alberta

RDC chosen to host 2019 men’s volleyball national championship

Sports enthusiasts in Red Deer will have more to look forward to… Continue reading

Police is still looking for Second World War army passport owner

No one has claimed a rare Second World War German army passport… Continue reading

DJ Sabatoge and TR3 Band kick off Sylvan Lake’s Winterfest 2018

Central Alberta’s youngest DJ will open for TR3 Band kicking off Town… Continue reading

Two Canadians, two Americans abducted in Nigeria are freed

Kidnapping for ransom is common in Nigeria, especially on the Kaduna to Abuja highway

WATCH news on the go: Replay Red Deer Jan. 21

Watch news highlights from Red Deer and Central Alberta

Liberals quietly tap experts to write new paternity leave rules

Ideas include creating an entirely new leave benefit similar to one that exists in Quebec

Insurers say Canadian weather getting hotter, wetter and weirder

Average number of days with heavy rain or snow across Canada has been outside norm since spring 2013

Are you ready for some wrestling? WWE’s ‘Raw’ marks 25 years

WWE flagship show is set to mark its 25th anniversary on Monday

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month