Saskatchewan Employers Look for Help to Recruit and Retain an Aboriginal Workforce



    SASKATOON, March 26 /CNW/ - Workforce Connex, a two-day 'sold out' forum
designed to address the province's skilled worker shortage through the
advancement of Saskatchewan's Aboriginal workforce, kicks off today at the
Delta Bessborough in downtown Saskatoon with over 250 delegates. For the first
time, many employers will learn effective Aboriginal recruitment, retention
and advancement strategies and their ability to develop and access Aboriginal
talent through First Nation and Métis employment centres across Saskatchewan.
The forum will put a specific focus on the advancement of Aboriginal people in
trades and apprenticeship.
    Saskatchewan's economy is leading the nation in construction growth. Many
other sectors of the workforce are enjoying economic prosperity and many are
missing opportunities due to the skilled worker shortage. Saskatchewan
employers are searching for innovative solutions to the worker shortage. Many
are taking aggressive action to recruit workers from beyond the province's
borders. Others, like the 90 plus employers attending the forum, are awakening
to the competitive advantage of workplace diversity inclusive of Aboriginal
people.
    "According to Statistics Canada's 2006 numbers, Saskatchewan, with a
14.9 per cent Aboriginal population, is experiencing one of the highest
Aboriginal baby booms across Canada," said Kelly Lendsay, President and CEO of
the Aboriginal Human Resource Council (AHRC). "Between 1996 and 2006,
Saskatchewan's Aboriginal population grew by 28 per cent, compared to a
decrease of six per cent in its non-Aboriginal population within the same time
period."
    Aboriginal people are Saskatchewan's youngest and fastest growing human
resource. The average median age in Canada for Aboriginal Canadians is 27,
considerably lower than the average median age of the non-Aboriginal Canadian
population at 40. This young upwardly mobile labour force wants and needs
workplace opportunities for training, skills development and employment.
    "Employers need help to create workplaces that are inclusive of
Aboriginal people in order to financially benefit from the successful
recruitment, retention and advancement of this workforce. AHRC, through the
Workforce Connex forum series and its other products and services, is helping
employers build inclusive workplaces that attract Aboriginal talent", said
Lendsay.

    Workforce Connex is a national forum series hosted by the Aboriginal
Human Resource Council in cooperation with the Saskatchewan advisory committee
(Government of Saskatchewan, Government of Canada, Saskatoon Indian and Métis
Friendship Centre, Gabriel Dumont Institute, Métis Nation Saskatchewan,
Saskatoon Youth Arts Programming, Saskatchewan Associate Rehabilitation
Centres, First Nations University of Canada, Areva Resources of Canada,
Saskatchewan Indian Training Assessment Group, Saskatchewan Mining
Association, Meadow Lake Tribal Council, Saskatchewan Economic Development
Association, Industry Education Council, Mosaic Potash, University of
Saskatchewan, First Nations Inuit Health).

    Saskatchewan Workforce Connex is the 10th forum held in the series
administered by AHRC and funded through the Sector Council Program, Human
Resources and Social Development Canada. The Saskatchewan forum is also
supported by Service Canada, Ministry of First Nations and Métis Relations,
Office of the Treaty Commissioner and Health Canada.





For further information:

For further information: Peggy Berndt, Director of Communications and
Marketing, Aboriginal Human Resource Council, tf: (866) 711-5091, c: (780)
720-1118, e: pberndt@aboriginalhr.ca, w: www.aboriginalhr.ca

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Aboriginal Human Resource Council

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