Feds announce $5.3M for skills training in Mackenzie Delta region

The new funding will go toward two projects to provide professional skills training for Indigenous youth, including a licensed practical nurse program.

New funding for 2 projects geared toward Indigenous youth

Inuvialuit Regional Corporation Chair Duane Smith, N.W.T. MP Michael McLeod, and Gwich'in Tribal Council Vice President Jordan Peterson, were in Inuvik on Tuesday to announce the new funding. (Mackenzie Scott/CBC)

The federal government is giving money to a couple of projects aimed at building professional skills among Indigenous youth in the Mackenzie Delta region.

A total of $5.38 million will be invested from the Skills and Partnership Fund, MP Michael McLeod said Tuesday in Inuvik, N.W.T. He was joined at the funding announcement by leaders from the Gwich'in Tribal Council (GTC) and the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation (IRC). 

The bulk of the money — just over $4.5 million — will go toward a new program delivered by the Gwich'in Tribal Council. The Taii Trigwatssii (Breaking Trails) project involves an eight-month skills training program for about 80 young people from the communities of Aklavik, Fort McPherson, Inuvik and Tsiigehtchic.

"It's going to incorporate Gwich'in' traditional knowledge, essential life skills, adult basic education and workplace essential skills, as well as entrepreneurship," said GTC vice-president Jordan Peterson.  

The remaining money will go toward a licensed practical nurse program, delivered by Aurora College in partnership with the IRC. The $826,984 will help train 18 Indigenous women through a two-year program delivered at the college's Inuvik campus.

IRC chair Duane Smith says he hopes the new funding will help build and keep a professional workforce in the region.

"It provides stability, it reduces cost to the system — but they're also homegrown," Smith said. 

There are already 27 applicants to the practical nurse program.

With files from Mackenzie Scott