EDMONTON – The Province of Alberta is giving 11 Indigenous women the opportunity to become heavy equipment operators.
The program provides 12 weeks of training and direct hands-on experience operating a variety of machinery, including motor grader excavators, bulldozers, front-end loaders and articulated rock trucks. The average wage of a heavy equipment operator is $72,000 a year.
“Alberta is proud to support employment and training initiatives for Indigenous people,” said Richard Feehan, minister of Indigenous relations, in a press release. “Training like this provides strong employment opportunities for these women, and the sense of pride that comes with moving towards financial security and independence.”
The Alberta government provided $160,888 to the Oteenow Employment and Training Society and the Tribal Chiefs Employment and Training Services Association to run the program. The training is taking place at the High Velocity Heavy Equipment Training College, just west of Edmonton. High Velocity boasts a 92 per cent job-placement rate for graduates and participants often secure employment before they finish their training, states the release.
“Oteenow appreciates the long-standing relationship with the Government of Alberta (GOA),” said Roberta Bearhead, executive director of the Oteenow Employment and Training Society. “The supports Oteenow receives from GOA has allowed us to invest in youth, Indigenous women and all First Nation, Inuit people residing in the Edmonton metropolitan area.”
The funding comes from the Canada-Alberta Job Fund, a federal-provincial agreement designed to help deliver skills training to current and future workers. It is administered through the Alberta Employment Partnerships Program, which has provided $8.7 million to support skills development and training opportunities for Indigenous people in Alberta since 2015.