Stephanie Miller has been Manager of the YouthBuild program at Manitoba Institute of Trades and Technology (MITT) for the past year. She says the program intake for the fall of 2016 went on for the previous few months. Classes began September 8 and run until mid June. YouthBuild enrolled 40 students, 20 in Level 1 Carpentry, and 20 in the Exploration to Trades that provides hands on exposure to various building trades.
Youth Build runs in two streams of education at the Social Enterprise Centre in the Point Douglas area of Winnipeg. "Students range in age from 19 to 35 (generally), and are primarily indigenous," says Miller, "while non-indigenous students can be enrolled. The program offers an indigenous cultural perspective and an on-site Elder to help guide us."
Teaching is done by three instructors, two teaching the Exploration of Trades courses, one teaching the Level 1 Carpentry courses. "Our staff are well educated on indigenous perspectives and bring a wealth of personal and professional experience," says Miller. YouthBuild also has a full time Student Support and Retention Worker who provides wrap around supports such as assisting with applying for daycare subsidy, locating a daycare, food security, shelter, resumes, Rent Assist applications and job search. The YouthBuild staff also provide advocacy for students when needed. MITT’s Aboriginal Student Advisor is onsite at YouthBuild two half days per week to provide academic advise.
Students come from within the city and around the province of Manitoba, including from First Nations communities such as Berens River, Pukatawagan, Island Lake, et al. "We strive to have a balance of men and women in the program."
MITT enrolls over 4,000 students per year, and last year had between 6,000 to 8,000 students attending all semesters, including summer courses. MITT runs all year round with Indigenous people involved in all courses.
YouthBuild is tailored to under-served Indigenous youth, a program inspired by others found in the USA geared toward inner city youth. YouthBuild in Manitoba was inspired by trades training programs found in the inner city of Philadelphia, Pa.. Miller says, "The YouthBuild program for Manitobans is designed to provide marginalized youth with education to secure sustainable employment in the building trades,” she adds.
"We've made connections with business communities around the province (including Manitoba Hydro) and First Nations with long-term projects on schools, daycares and other facilities." YouthBuild follows closely after its name, is construction-oriented as communities like Island Lake and Berens River endeavor to build social capital in their midst to go with construction projects that are in planning or underway.
While last year YouthBuild was 100 percent indigenous, other students joining in will get the benefit of participating with Indigenous Elders, hearing from guest speakers, and learning about arts and crafts endemic to Canadian Indigenous culture.
Miller says, "Our onsite staff are directly involved in the recruitment of students. We have a mix of students coming from their home community as well as from the city. During the summer months we work with the incoming students to ensure they have secured housing in Winnipeg and work with them to identify their support system that they will come to rely on during the school year. All students participate in community projects or a work practicum. Last year we had a very good graduation rate and 70 percent of the graduates secured employment by the end of the program.” (http://mitt.ca/programs/youthbuild-mitt)
For further information contact:
Stephanie Miller, Manager, YOUTHBUILD
Phone: 204-615-4930 Fax: 204-615-4933 Cell: 204-899-4153
Director of Marketing
Phone: 204.989.8322 I Cell 204.228.0436
GROWING THE BUILDING TRADES IN MANITOBA'S INDIGENOUS YOUTH