A new program for adult pre-employment training at a Mi'kmaq reserve in Hants County is making waves for those who step through its doors.
The Indian Brook program, aimed to provide Indian Brook residents with jobs, is simultaneously addressing the labour shortage caused by job-seekers headed west and a hold on temporary foreign workers.
And at the same time, some say the program is changing lives in the community.
The school currently has 100 students enrolled in their programs. They also carry an adult learning (GED) program.
Pre-employment classes are held right on the reserve at the Indian Brook multicultural centre where students learn career skills, then practise those skills in a job placement.
Funding comes from the province and various other organizations.
Bernadette Syliboy completed the program in January, and now works in the school office.
“It’s been really difficult if you don’t have any education to back you up or any kind of certificates,” she said. “You have to start at the bottom of the barrel and work your way up.”
Sue Ellen Syliboy recently completed the eight-week pre-employment program and is in the second week of job training at a thrift shop off the reserve.
After a decade of IV drug use, Sue Ellen Syliboy hit rock bottom earlier this year.
"I went through 21 days of detox and yeah, found out I was pregnant with twins while I was there, and then in March something went wrong."
She got an infection and lost both babies.
It propelled her to make a big change and sign up for the pre-employment program through NSCC.
She said Bernadette Syliboy was an inspiration to her. Bernadette Syliboy is a recovering addict who was in a similar place not long ago.
Bernadette said she understands the struggles faced by many others in the community to not only become sober, but strive forward to find employment.
"I don't even want to go back in that dark world ever. I want to stay right where I'm at and keep going forward,” she said.