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Local training and guaranteed job part of efforts to get more Cree into health sector jobs

The Cree School Board is offering “direct-to-employment” training in partnership with the Cree health board to prepare local people for jobs in elders’ homes. 

There are three 32-bed elders’ homes homes planned for Chisasibi, Waskaganish and Mistissini that are supposed to open in 2022, according to the Cree Board of Health and Social Services of James Bay. 

The Sabtuan Adult Education Services is currently accepting applications for a 35-week beneficiary attendant training program being offered in the New Year in both Chisasibi and Waswanipi.

“[The job] is providing care to the elders and those who need support. So that’s what a beneficiary attendant does,” said Roberta Neacappo, who works with Sabtuan Adult Education Services at the Cree School Board. 

They can speak Cree. That’s the most important thing​​​​​.– Roberta Neacappo,  Sabuan Adult Education Service

Those who take the program will receive a vocational diploma and a guaranteed local job offer immediately upon graduation, according to information on the Cree health board website. 

Neacappo said having Cree people and Cree speakers in those jobs will offer a very important service for elders. 

“They can speak Cree. That’s the most important thing, they would understand the elders and elders would be able to speak Cree,” said Neacappo. 

The hope is that locally offered training and a guaranteed job will remove some of the traditional barriers for people wanting to go back to school, according to Nian Matoush, director of adult education for the Cree School Board.

“Our data shows us that many Cree want to go back to school, but certain things stand in  the way, like concerns about moving south for school or finding a job after graduation,” said Matoush.

“By offering the programs locally with a direct-to-employment guarantee, we are able to address many of these concerns.” 

The Cree School Board has also launched a new student allowance program to help students care for their families while in school. Allowance amounts are calculated based on a student’s family situation, so they can provide for their children and spouse for the duration of the program, according to Matoush.

An artist rendition of what elders homes planned for three Cree communities could look like. The design of the home is based on provincial specifications but adapted to Cree culture. (CBHSSJB)

The jobs at the elders’ homes are among 600 that will be created by several large-scale health board projects that are in the works, including a 52-bed regional hospital planned for Chisasibi. 

The deadline to apply for the training is Friday.

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