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Preparing for a diverse digital workforce, Pinnguaq celebrates one year of SuccessWorks

March 14, 2024

Thanks to the generous funding provided by the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), more than 30 Indigenous job seekers and nine Indigenous-owned businesses have grown through Pinnguaq’s SuccessWorks program so far, contributing to a more diverse, inclusive and impactful digitally-skilled workforce.

Indigenous communities have been underrepresented in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) fields because of historical disparities in access to education, systemic barriers and various cultural factors. Pinnguaq is working with FedDev Ontario to address this underrepresentation through our SuccessWorks program, which launched in 2022.

SuccessWorks creates opportunities for Indigenous businesses and job-seekers to find new levels of success with free online training and support. It offers support to businesses of up to $3,000 to create internship opportunities for Indigenous employees alongside free digital skills training for interns and job seekers in southern Ontario. The program aligns with Pinnguaq’s mission to partner with rural, remote and Indigenous communities to support the development of STEAM skills.

In the first year of the program, Pinnguaq connected with 33 job seekers and nine businesses, all of whom have shown incredible dedication to learning, growing and pursuing digital skill development in a professional capacity.

“Digital and STEAM-based skills are expected to be an integral part of the workforce across Canada in the coming years so to be able to work alongside participating Indigenous job seekers and businesses, with the support of FedDev Ontario, has been an honour,” says Ryan Oliver, CEO of Pinnguaq. “Working with equity-deserving communities to build skills that will impact the local and broader economy, while providing funding for businesses and skills training for job seekers, represents a major part of what Pinnguaq is all about.”

The SuccessWorks program incorporates both the mentorship and employment aspects of the Pinnguaq Lifecycle, the organization’s unique approach to supporting learners and communities through all stages of their growth.

“This program has been an amazing opportunity to build relationships that will exceed the lifetime of this contribution,” says Ruth Noble, Manager of Mentorship and Job Creation at Pinnguaq. “I look forward to seeing where we are able to go in the future.”

Michael Jacobs, Chief Executive Officer of Cambium Indigenous Professional Services (CIPS), says SuccessWorks is helping him grow his business in a competitive market while generating opportunities for local employment.

CIPS is an Indigenous consulting firm located on Curve Lake First Nation, working to make a positive difference in the communities it serves through the application of western science and traditional knowledge systems.

Jacobs says the internship support of up to $3,000 per hire allows him to bring capable talent on to his team, and the training Pinnguaq offers helps folks further develop their skills portfolio.

Jacobs first connected with Pinnguaq through the GreenWorks program and the combination of support through GreenWorks and SuccessWorks has contributed to CIPS’ leadership in a competitive market.

Pinnguaq has also had the privilege of hosting workshops with communities and organizations as part of the SuccessWorks program. These workshops have focused on entrepreneurial skills, graphic design, project management and skills for managing others. They were offered in partnership with Scugog First Nation, Hiawatha First Nation, the Ogemawahj Tribal Council and Beausoleil First Nation.

Pinnguaq is grateful to these businesses, job seekers and FedDev Ontario for investing in STEAM in Indigenous communities. This sort of collaboration and partnership allows for increased representation, leveraging diverse perspectives to drive innovation and create more equitable opportunities in STEAM-based industries.

More information about SuccessWorks, as well as applications for businesses and job seekers interested in participating, can be found on the Pinnguaq website.