NPAAMB has a new program for Indigenous youth that are interested in developing their employability and life skills through culture-based training. The Oyà:na Pre-Employment Training Program runs for a duration of 11-weeks and is offered in all 5 of the NPAAMB catchment areas (Hamilton, Brantford, Kitchener-Waterloo, St. Catharines, and Fort Erie). During the program Urban Indigenous youth are given the opportunity to enhance their employability, life-skills, and ignite their passions through culturally grounded programming. Oyà:na provides an opportunity for youth to obtain a myriad of essential skills that are necessary whether the individual is going into further education, training or employment. Oyà:na participants work to receive several certificates (i.e. first-aid/CPR, smart serve, safe food handlers, AODA) throughout the program to add to their portfolios; this can remove barriers and assist in securing future employment. Cultural relevancy is very important to the program as well; it is an objective to have the individuals explore what it means to be an Indigenous person and to feel pride in their identity.
High School Credits
During the program, participants have the opportunity to obtain up to 2 elective high school credits in Native Studies and Navigating the Workplace. Participants will complete workbooks that are graded by an Ontario Certified Teacher, with credits being granted upon program completion.
Oyà:na participants have the opportunity to attend a 2-night Warrior Camp near the end of the program and aims to empower youth to continue to achieve their goals. This camp allows the youth to participate in workshops focusing on team building, outdoor survival skills, and cultural activities, as well as time to reflect on all of their accomplishments during the Oyà:na program.
While in the Oyà:na program, youth will actively work with their Youth Service officer (and Oyà:na Coordinator) and prepare a series of attainable goals. The youth will be provided with the resources to help them achieve those goals. Goals will include education, training, and employment.
Building Blocks Incentive
The purpose of the Building Blocks incentive is to have youth continue to work towards their action plan goals. When the youth complete the Oyà:na program they will receive a monetary incentive. One month after the program, and when the youth have their action plan in motion, they will receive another monetary incentive. Three months after the program and if the youth is still working towards their action plan, they will receive a third monetary incentive.
If you know of any Urban Indigenous Youth between the ages of 18 and 30; please encourage them to get in touch with their local NPAAMB Youth Service Officer and get involved with our programs.
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