Carpentry and Community: CRC’s Initiative to Train Indigenous Youth in Trades
The Carpenters’ Regional Council (CRC) Local 1669, based in Thunder Bay, Ontario, is making significant strides in addressing the skilled trades industry’s challenges. Recognizing the importance of diversifying the workforce, CRC Local 1669 has developed an innovative carpentry training program targeting Indigenous youth, in partnership with Anishinabek Employment and Training Services (AETS).
The program consists of ongoing 10-week carpentry pre-apprenticeship courses, aligning with the level-one carpentry Red Seal curriculum. Beyond the core carpentry skills, the program includes specialty equipment training, welding instruction, and interior systems training. Comprehensive training in occupational health and safety areas is also provided, ensuring a well-rounded education for the participants.
Upon completing the program, the participants have the option to continue their journey in the carpentry field as apprentices, working for CRC signatory contractors. Evan Reid, coordinator for the local union and president of the training center, emphasizes the successful partnership between AETS and the carpenter’s union in helping Indigenous people gain employment in the carpentry trade.
The program, funded through the Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development, typically hosts 12 participants per session. It is an essential part of CRC Local 1669’s recruitment efforts, offering an opportunity for individuals to gain valuable skills and explore carpentry as a potential career path.
Jordan Rousselle, Program Coordinator with AETS, highlights the program’s success, noting that many students from the first 2023 program secured full-time employment or started carpentry apprenticeships shortly after completing the training. AETS, representing 9 First Nation communities, values the union’s commitment to enhancing members’ skills while respecting the cultural sensitivities and unique challenges faced by Indigenous students.
This program is more than just a skill-building initiative; it represents a pathway to employment and empowerment for Indigenous youth in Northern Ontario. By providing access to trade skills and career opportunities, CRC Local 1669 and AETS are contributing significantly to strengthening the community and Indigenous workforce. Their continued partnership is a testament to their commitment to fostering inclusive growth and development within the skilled trades sector.