First digital skills program in Canada launched by NWAC,


OTTAWA, Sept. 28, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) has joined the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Trust for the Americas to announce the Canadian launch of an exceptional digital skills training initiative for Indigenous peoples.

The launch event took place today, two days before the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

The announcement of the new POETA (Partnerships for Economic Opportunity through Technology in the Americas) project Digispark Canada will respond to the economic marginalization of Indigenous peoples in this country. It responds to calls for justice identified by the final report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG). It is a concrete action. The program will contribute to economic reconciliation and resilience and is designed to equip Indigenous peoples with skills in high-demand digital technology and service industries. The federal government of Canada estimates that there will soon be 8,000 vacancies in this sector.

NWAC Executive Director Lynne Groulx has joined virtually with the Trust for the Americas and Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS). Referring to this economic prosperity gap, Groulx said that “[O]Only 2.2% of workers in the technology workforce are Indigenous. This is unacceptable. There is an urgent need to fill this gap. We must take concrete steps like this project to end economic marginalization.

In a powerful statement from Washington, D.C, Secretary General Louis Almagro spoke about the impact of residential schools and truth and reconciliation. He mentioned how this program will empower indigenous peoples and contribute to the formation of indigenous skills. “I see how this project targets critical issues that affect Indigenous peoples in the hemisphere. The success of the project should become an example of how to achieve inclusive, sustainable social and economic development with indigenous communities and the region as a whole.

“This is a program that promotes lifelong learning and economic opportunities for Indigenous peoples by providing access to quality, targeted mentorship, skills training and collaborative spaces. and culturally appropriate,” said Linda Eddleman, Executive Director of the Trust.

To bring the plan to fruition, The Trust for the Americas and NWAC signed a memorandum of understanding that would see the Trust and NWAC partner to pilot the program, including training in digital literacy and computer skills, those who participate will learn life skills needed for the workplace.

The program will be offered from the new AFAC program Center for Social, Cultural and Economic Innovation in Gatineau, Quebec, which the Trust has called a healing space. The program will also be offered remotely to allow people living outside the National Capital Region to participate.

“This is a historic day in advancing digital and economic equity for reconciliation.” Groulx said.

For more information or to arrange an interview, contact Gloria Galloway at [email protected] or 613-447-6648


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