Assembly of First Nations and Railway Association of Canada Launch Railway
Training and Employment Project

WINNIPEG, July 25 /CNW Telbec/ - The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) and the Railway Association of Canada (RAC) today announced a railway training (http://www.careerontrack.ca/default.aspx) and employment (http://www.careerontrack.ca/site/why/careers/index.htm) project to promote skills development and employment to Aboriginal Canadians for career opportunities in Canada's rail industry.

The project was funded as part of the federal government's two-year, $75 million Aboriginal Skills and Training Strategic Investment Fund (ASTSIF) under of Canada's Economic Action Plan. The fund supports short-term, focused initiatives designed to help Aboriginal people get the specific skills they require to benefit from economic opportunities, including those generated by the federal stimulus package.

"Aboriginal people are an important part of the Government of Canada's strategy to create the best educated, the most skilled and the most flexible workforce in the world," said the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development. "This initiative is one example of how partnerships between Aboriginal organizations and employers help Aboriginal people gain the skills they need for the labour market today and prepare for the jobs of the future."

The AFN/RAC Railway Training and Employment Project will provide 30 participants with tuition and living expenses to attend RAC Railway Conductor Programs (http://www.careerontrack.ca/site/onboard/training_prog.htm) in Winnipeg, Thunder Bay, and Vancouver. Of these, seven project participants will be pre-screened by Aboriginal Human Resource Development Agreement holders and recruited as Signals and Communications Maintainers (http://www.careerontrack.ca/site/why/careers/signals_and_comm_maintainer.htm), and up to 30 participants will be pre-screened by Aboriginal Human Resource Development Agreement holders and recruited for Track Workforce Positions (http://www.careerontrack.ca/site/why/careers/trackmaintainer.htm).

"First Nations are the fastest growing segment of Canada's population. We have over 400,000 young people under the age of 24," said National Chief Shawn Atleo. "The AFN is pleased to be able to partner with a green and growing transportation industry. This project is one step towards employing perhaps thousands of our Peoples in the dozens of east-west and north-south railroad companies that cross our traditional lands."

Managed by the RAC's Workforce Development director with support from the AFN and with the oversight of an Advisory Committee representing the Railways, Aboriginal Human Resource Development Agreement holders, and Community Colleges, the project will run through March 31, 2011.

"As with many industries, Canada's railways are facing a large number of retirements in many key areas in the coming years," said Cliff Mackay, President and CEO, Railway Association of Canada. "Working with the Assembly of First Nations and our community colleges partners across the country we have developed high-quality courses to address the problem in critical skills areas, and through this program we create online and print career awareness campaigns that will attract First Nations to the many rewarding and well paying career opportunities offered by Canada's rail industry."

Aboriginal Skills and Training Strategic Investment Fund

http://www.hrsdc.gc.ca/eng/employment/aboriginal_employment/astsif/index.shtml

Careers in Canada's rail industry:

www.yourlifeontrack.ca

www.careerontrack.ca

About the RAC

The Railway Association of Canada (http://www.railcan.ca/) represents some 50 freight, tourist, commuter and intercity Canadian railways and their more than 35,000 employees. Rail moves 75 per cent of our nation's surface freight and 72 million passengers annually in an environmentally sustainable manner, generating only three per cent of transport's greenhouse gas emissions.

About AFN

The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada.

SOURCE Assembly of First Nations

For further information: For further information: Media Contacts: Bryan Hendry, Assembly of First Nations, 613-293-6106; Media Relations Office, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, 819-994-5559; Paul Goyette, Railway Association of Canada, 613-564-8097


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