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Kirkland Lake group building on job training for Indigenous women

Keepers of the Circle among new organizations offering Investing in Women's Futures program

New pre-employment training and support is available in Kirkland Lake for Indigenous women and those who have experienced gender-based violence.

On Jan. 16, the province announced that Keepers of the Circle is one of 10 new sites to share in $6.9 million over three years under the Investing in Women’s Futures program, bringing the number of sites offering the programming to 33.

Keepers of the Circle is an urban Indigenous Hub whose initiatives are dedicated to improving the social and economic equality of Indigenous women in northeastern Ontario. Of the funding, it will receive $325,000 over the three-year period.

“This funding will allow Temiskaming Native Women’s Support Group (Keepers of the Circle) to support our Indigenous women in many ways,” said Bertha Cormier, executive director of Keepers of the Circle, in a government news release.

“We are building on our Culture, Confidence and Competence program, a culturally rooted pre-employment training program; providing wraparound supports to reduce barriers; supporting Indigenous women entrepreneurs through skills development; as well as enhancing our existing gender-based violence support services to better respond to and prevent GBV (gender-based violence) among our Indigenous women and girls, and gender-diverse members.”

SEE: Building a foundation for change among women in mining

Formerly known as Aboriginal Women in Mining, the Culture, Confidence and Competence program is a seven- to 10-week culturally based skills and pre-employment program designed to help women increase access to meaningful and sustainable economic opportunities.

Support provided includes training, planning, job coaching, employment support, and cultural support.

In Northern Ontario, additional Investing in Women’s Futures programming is available through sites in Elliot Lake, Kenora, South River, Sudbury, and Thunder Bay.

According to the province, in 2022-2023 the program helped nearly 1,300 women across Ontario secure employment, start their own business, or pursue further training or education.