2010 Aboriginal Rewarding Partnership:
Grande Prairie Aboriginal Student Job Shadowing Program
Had the ceremony been held at an earlier time and in a smaller place, the many award recipients – representatives of a large partnership – might well have spilled out the venue doors. As it was, the roll call read like a two-stanza ballad with chorus was entirely fitting: there are no rules on how big a partnership has to be. Indeed, that bigger is better – plenty of people sharing the benefits together – seems, well, a big part of the point.
Fully 12 Aboriginal, business, government, community, and educational organizations had come together over the previous two years in the name of creating opportunity for Aboriginal high-school kids who might otherwise never have had the chance to get a foretaste – the fun and the scary bits – of post-secondary school and work life.
The “Key Catalysts” of the partnership are:
· Grande Prairie Regional College
· Western Cree Tribal Council
· Métis Nation of Alberta
The supporting partners are:
· Ainsworth Engineered Canada LP
· Alberta Employment and Immigration
· Alberta Health Services
· Aquaterra Utilities
· The City of Grande Prairie
· Devon Energy Corporation
· Northern Alberta Development Council
· Petrowest Energy Services
· Weyerhaeuser Company Ltd.
The Grande Prairie Aboriginal Student Job Shadowing Program immerses students in a seven-week summer program offering a variety of job-shadowing choices: certified journeyman, forester, journeyman electrician, and pulp mill technician among them. Over the summer, by living in residence at Grande Prairie Regional College, students also have the chance to find out about college life – the fun, skills, and responsibilities associated with advanced education and, within limits, independent living.
The award was “a testament to the value of the partnerships” said Aaron Barner on behalf of the Métis Nation of Alberta, “as well as an opportunity for us all to create value at the community level.”
Since its launch, more than two dozen students have come through the program earning insight, experience, and a fair, maybe even lucrative, stipend in return for their reliability and hard work.
“When we create opportunities for youth,” said Maria David-Evans, Deputy Minister of Alberta Aboriginal Relations, in introducing the award, “it helps fulfill our vision for strong, vibrant Aboriginal communities and people, fully participating in this prosperous and diverse Alberta.”