It’s the first project of its kind in BC with the goal of getting First Nations young people into the labour market.
The provincial government is giving the Okanagan Nation Alliance $1.97 million to help aboriginal youth with multiple employment barriers find a job.
In partnership with UBC-Okanagan, BRIDGES (Building Resources for Innovative Development, Growth and Economic Stability) will provide individualized employment services to 140 people aged 15 to 30 years.
First Nation elders will help candidates learn about their heritage.
“We are certain that by utilizing and incorporating Syilx Indigenous knowledge and practices as a basis to this project it will lead to greater success for our youth,” states Grand Chief Stewart Phillip in a news release.
Employment mentors will help program participants overcome barriers to finding work.
Those barriers include educational prerequisites, employment readiness, access to transportation and employer willingness to sponsor apprentices.
“I firmly believe every native person needs to be in a good-paying job. Jobs are a big part of a healthy lifestyle,” said Osoyoos Indian Band chief Clarence Louie. “First Nations societies come from a working culture where every person worked and contributed to their community. I want my people to have opportunity which BRIDGES is providing. This is another step for my people to be self-sufficient.”
The outcomes of the three year project will be compared to clients of similar ages and backgrounds to gauge its success.