A new program at Norquest College will provide technical training to Indigenous students

The CommAlert Group has partnered with Norquest College to develop IndTech, a technical employment training program for Indigenous students

The IndTech project, funded by Employment and Social Development Canada, will develop and implement an innovative approach to supporting Indigenous students (age 18-30) interested in gaining and retaining meaningful employment in the technology sector.

With Norquest College, The CommAlert Group has joined with other partners to develop this program. The program will provide 60 Indigenous students with employment training, paid work experience, support, and ongoing career coaching to succeed in the digital economy.

“There is a huge under-representation of Indigenous peoples in our industry. We know that with the right support, we can help remove barriers to employment for Indigenous peoples and help employers fill those worker shortages,” said Tim Carwell, President of The CommAlert Group.

Reports show that the technology industry’s growth is limited by the lack of general diversity in the industry and the vast underrepresentation of Indigenous peoples, who are well-positioned to be incredible drivers of economic prosperity in Canada in the coming decades.

The pilot program starts in August 2022

This summer, the IndTech program will be offered to a cohort of 30 students and begin in August 2022. Classroom (or virtual)  programming will provide employability and job search skills, career coaching, and technical skills. The CommAlert Group’s team will be involved in the technical skills training as it’s specific to their industry. 

Then, the students will receive two months of paid work experience, funded by Employment and Social Development Canada. 

After receiving feedback and assessing the first program, the group will fine-tune the program before offering it to an entire class of 60 participants. Then, the program will be evaluated and expanded to support other Indigenous students.

Support and training for hiring businesses

The CommAlert Group is actively seeking businesses to offer work placements to students in this program. To qualify, businesses must complete a community building program developed by CommAlert and Beaver First Nation. The program will provide businesses with the knowledge necessary to offer a culturally safe work environment where these students and other Indigenous peoples can thrive.

CommAlert will also work with local Knowledge Keepers to deliver relevant geographical Indigenous knowledge to businesses operating in their local communities.

The community building program and sharing of geographical Indigenous knowledge align with the Truth and Reconciliation Recommendation (#92).

In addition, CommAlert has rallied the support of Amtelco, their call centre software and equipment provider. Amtelco was quick to support the program and will provide software licenses to the graduates as they enter the workforce.

“As a partner in this project, we know we will benefit from the inclusion and diversity of hiring Indigenous graduates. We look forward to contributing feedback to the program and being part of the journey for these students,” said Carwell. 

To learn more about the program or to register, follow https://www.norquest.ca/programs-and-courses/programs/indtech/#.