High-powered Indigenous Training Funds

Province announces funding for East-West tie, trades, and community development.

Jan 29, 2018 5:40 PM by: Northern Ontario Business Staff – Queen’s Park delivered more than $847,000 in training funds to Indigenous organizations in northwestern Ontario.

The most highly visible project is $240,000 earmarked to train 244 individuals, through SuperCom Industries LP, for the coming construction of the critical East-West power project along the north shore of Lake Superior.

Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation David Zimmer made the funding announcement at Fort William First Nation on Jan. 29.

Anishinabek Employment & Training Services in Thunder Bay received $500,000 to deliver its personal support worker and construction craft worker training programs.

Bingwi Neyaashi Anishinaabek (formerly Sand Point First Nation ), on the shores of Lake Nipigon, received more than $107,000 for a manager’s position to run a sawmill operation and for a feasibility study to build a combination government office and multi-use centre.

SuperCom is a contracting and training joint venture run by six area First Nation communities across whose traditional land the power line upgrading project will cross.

Its mandate is to maximize First Nations involvement in the $700-million corridor project by supplying skilled labour, negotiating service and supply contracts, and cultivating business partnerships.

Valard Construction was selected the developer NextBridge Infrastructure to be the lead contractor to build the 450-kilometre-long line between Thunder Bay and Wawa. Construction begins later this year with completion expected during 2020.

The investment was made through the Indigenous Economic Development Fund.

The participating communities are: Michipicoten, Pic Mobert, Biigtigong Nishnaabeg, Pays Plat, Red Rock and Fort William.

“Through the government’s economic development fund, SuperCom was able to hire six training advisors and one training coordinator to recruit and retain individuals from across the region,” said SuperCom board member Matthew Dupuis in an Ontario government news release.

“The advisors and coordinator will recruit over 200 people to train for work on the construction of the East-West Tie transmission line. Through the work of the training advisors, training coordinator, and the government, SuperCom will be able to create a highly-skilled workforce that will have transferrable skills for the rest of their career.”

“These grants are part of Ontario’s commitment to work closely with First Nations partners so they can fully nurture the talent and economic opportunities in their communities,” said Zimmer in a statement.

More announcements are coming this week with Oshki-Pimache-O-Win Education & Training Institute unveiling a new “brand identity” to the Thunder Bay media as a tribute to Chanie “Charlie” Wenjack, and to show off a new $3-million mobile trades trailer

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