The YWCA NWT has received $500,000 from Scotiabank for a program that helps people enter the workforce and removes barriers to employment.
The YWCA’s Employment Readiness Support Program offers basic career development support and guidance and helps with skills like résumé writing, money management, and searching for jobs.
Hawa Dumbuya-Sesay, YWCA NWT’s executive director said the funding will last until the end of 2024. Already, 29 of 93 participants in the program have successfully secured jobs or upgraded their position.
The new funding has helped people gain qualifications like driving licences, first aid certifications, hospitality and food safety training, and training for the transportation of dangerous goods.
“It really depends on what kind of support the clients are needing,” Dumbuya-Sesay said. “This program is all about meeting clients where they are at.
“We help them get that support so they are able to participate in the workforce and also do something they love to do, and be able to take care of their family, ultimately, with the income that they make.”
Currently the program helps people in or around Yellowknife. YWCA NWT hopes to find more funding to expand the program across the NWT.
Dumbuya-Sesay said some clients had taken a firearm safety course because they expressed a desire to return to the land and hunt, to reconnect to their culture and traditions.
“We’re trying to make sure with this program … there are on-the-land options, and that people are connecting to the land and learning the skills they need to be able to do that,” she said.
“It really fosters good mental health and good self-esteem for them to go out and get jobs, and succeed at those jobs.”
The donation is part of a Scotiabank initiative designed to provide $500 million to help disadvantaged groups by 2030.