Connecting Aboriginals to Manufacturing
Connecting Aboriginals to Manufacturing (CAM) is an innovative employment readiness initiative based on a holistic approach and evidence-based best practices.
The 3 main goals of the Connecting Aboriginals to Manufacturing (CAM) initiative are:
• Increase Indigenous presentation in the manufacturing Industry over the long term
• Build relationships between the Industry and First Nations communities
• Create a model that can be used by any community and any industry.
The CAM Model
CAM’s goal is to help connect the needs of these new entrants to the needs of manufacturers by supporting Indigenous learners in acquiring the skills needed to better support their employment goals in manufacturing.
CAM has a strong grounding in the nine workplace Essential Skills, with a learner-focused strategy that begins at intake and continues on through to retention strategies designed for long-term success for both companies and Indigenous communities.
Company benefits from the program include learning how to effectively prepare a workplace for diversity, for retention and for long-term success. Individuals enhance their Essential Skills levels while also receiving training and experience in the many other skills needed for success in gaining and maintaining successful employment.
CAM’s program includes on-site and off-site training and mentorships, and facilitates strong partnerships between company and community from the outset to ensure all stakeholders get the most out of the program.
The program takes a holistic approach, supporting the needs of all participants outside of training (e.g., the individual, their family, their community, and the companies they work with). This allows Workforce Education Manitoba to more effectively ensure that an individual is trained and supported from intake, to employment, and beyond.
CAM is a hybrid delivery model training program – it was run in the partnering community for 5 months, and transitioned into the city for 2-2.5 months.
Kara Finney, Workplace Education Manitoba
1000 Waverley Street Winnipeg, MB R3T OP3
CAM’s full program retention rate is 86%, and has a job placement rate of 67%
– Addictions (e.g., substance abuse, gambling)
– Where to access cultural supports
Throughout the program, we learned more about what supports and preparations for participants should be. This allowed us to be more effective.
Eagle Urban Transition Centre, a project partner, went to FN communities with a collection of resources, information, and supports around the challenges participants might face when moving into Winnipeg. (e.g., ensuring every participant had their own ID, which would then not be a barrier for participants when seeking housing or employment) This allowed participants to tackle these challenges proactively.
Having counselling supports in place (specifically, personal and transitional) offered proactive and reactive supports when challenges arose from the program (e.g., moving to the city).
– Given the geographic location of most reserves commuter model is not feasible. A relocation model providing accommodations and strong contacts with the community and culture works better. It keeps families together which is a support to the students.
– With accommodations, it is better to set expectations and equip students to meet those expectations. It is about building a dependency on the individual themselves, rather than on outside supports
– When the students believe that their community is behind them (e.g., family, home community), and that they have that support, you see a greater level of success in the workplace
– A workforce development program needs to be customized to the needs of the participants (e.g., individuals and companies participating). You achieve effective customization by building meaningful relationships with all stakeholders
– You need to be adaptable – be responsive to the unexpected, prepare for obstacles, and make program alterations where necessary.
Incorporation of Essential Skills
Depending on need, CAM’s model runs Essential Skills upgrading for 4-6 weeks, then goes into full program delivery with all students. The Training Program Model incorporates both essential skills and industry-specific training.
During the 5 month training in the community students learn essential skills, cross cultural awareness and employment readiness and preparation, introduction to the manufacturing industry as well as health & safety, blue print reading, basic electricity and workplace math
Upon transitioning to the city they completed training within the shop learning hand, air and power tools; and welding. They then completed a workplace practicum.
CAM hosts a Culture Camp at the beginning of the program – through it, students become more connected to each other and develop a sense of community. This group dynamic also creates a support system where the students can reach out to each other.
University of Winnipeg
Winnipeg Technical College
Eagle Urban Transition Centre
Committee of Aboriginal Representatives
Committee of Employers