(Mistissini, Eeyou Istchee – June 11, 2018) – Students finishing post-secondary studies will have a helping hand in finding a job in the Cree Nation, thanks to a first-of its-kind partnership between Cree Nation Government and Cree School Board (CSB).
The Cree Nation Government has hired an Employment Integration Counsellor whose function it is to help graduates find meaningful employment within Eeyou Istchee and the CSB will provide office space and facilities in order for him to be directly accessible to the students and interact with the CSB professionals in the fulfillment of his mandate.
This approach comes following a series of roundtable discussions on capacity building – a Cree Nation initiative motivated by a mission to inspire Eeyou-Eenou to contribute in nrealizing the important opportunities before the Cree Nation and a vision for becoming “Masters of our Homeland”.
The leadership of the Cree Nation has been reminding us for a number of years that as a result of the successful negotiation and conclusion of more than 80 agreements between our Cree Nation and the governments of Quebec and Canada, we are now positioned to genuinely fulfill a very long-held vision—a vision articulated by successive Cree leaders for over forty years.
“We looked carefully at the growth of the Cree Nation – where resource development was happening, and how readily Cree beneficiaries were accessing jobs within the communities,” said Grand Chief Dr. Abel Bosum, who helped spearhead the initiative prior to assuming his current role. “We listened to Cree youth and employers in the nine communities. We discovered a gap: new graduates were not necessarily accessing jobs in the communities. When we asked why, we learned it was not for a lack of desire, but for lack of knowledge and linkages. The Employment Integration Counsellor will help graduates learn about the opportunities in their Cree Nation communities, and prepare them to be successful candidates in job competitions.”
The process began in 2013, with a round-table involving post-secondary students in Ottawa on the topic of capacity building in the Cree Nation. “It was so successful that we repeated the process in the communities in 2014,” Grand Chief Bosum said. The discussions generated two reports and a set of recommendations.
The establishment of the Employment Integration Counsellor position is one of the recommendations. Cree School Board Director General Abraham Jolly emphasized it is this kind of partnership that is key to creating and sustaining a healthy Cree Nation.
“In order to thrive, we are finding ways – like these – to support students who go the distance, who graduate, and are ready, willing, and able to give back to our nation,” he said.
The position – occupied by Joseph J. Georgekish, BA (Hons), M.Ed. — is based in Gatineau at the Cree School Board Post-Secondary Student Services office:
200 Montcalm, suite R9
Gatineau, Quebec J8Y 3B5
Office hours: 9am to 5pm