Empowering Indigenous WG2STGD+ People

Posted: New Initiatives:
Oct 11, 2023
  • Issue 17
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Community Workforce Development Program

Funded by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC), the Community Workforce Development Program (CWDP) is a one-year project, ending in March 2024. Its mission is to empower Indigenous WG2STGD+ people living in communities with populations of fewer than 10,000.

The CWDP consists of two vital components:

  • skills training, which can be conducted either online or in person
  • facilitating work placements within local small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), with the provision of wage subsidies for individuals who have completed their training
  • the aim is to encourage local employers to hire the individual once the subsidized work placement ends

The training sessions may encompass a wide range of skills, including digital literacy, job-specific proficiencies, and hands-on trade-like training in areas such as barista or culinary positions. By offering a diverse range of training opportunities, we aim to give participants the tools needed to thrive in the workforce.

We are implementing the project in collaboration with our provincial and territorial member associations (PTMAs). The PTMAs are identifying the communities that would be targeted and determining local distinct labour market needs. This involves engaging with SMEs to determine available job opportunities and skills gaps.

This partnership with ESDC enables us to contribute to the development of a national workforce strategy. The strategic framework will outline key priorities, policies, and initiatives that shape an approach to workforce development and employment for Indigenous WG2STGD+ people. As part of our commitment, we are conducting extensive background research and engaging in roundtable discussions with various stakeholders. Our aim is to foster a more inclusive and resilient workforce, addressing the unique challenges faced by Indigenous communities and contributing to overall economic resilience.

We are eager to see this transformative project unfold, paving the way for a brighter, more inclusive future for all.


#BeTheDrum is an entrepreneurial outreach and navigation program that NWAC developed. It is designed to build the skills of Indigenous women and gender-diverse people entering business, management, or entrepreneurship fields.

#BeTheDrum works to engage and prepare existing and budding Indigenous entrepreneurs for continued success. The only program of its kind to support Indigenous entrepreneurs, new members who join our program will be greeted by our full team of dedicated entrepreneur navigator mentors, who provide access to relevant opportunities such as workshops, networking events, peer-to-peer groups, and targeted one-on-one supports to ensure everyone’s unique interests are supported.

This fall, #BeTheDrum continues to amplify entrepreneurial leaders through workshops that target and serve the needs of our national membership. Our networking circles have been hosted by Matriarch and Olympian Waneek Horn-Miller and continues to attract gender-diverse Indigenous entrepreneurs who are interested in collaborating and learning from each other. #BeTheDrum hosts one event each week and is proud to continue the important work of creating space and opportunity for our membership.

Indigenous Women’s Entrepreneur Accelerator

Through the WES Accelerator component of #BeTheDrum, we have held two workshops this September and will continue to cover several business-related topics for future workshops. This month featured a presentation by Chrystal Toop, temporary manager for #BeTheDrum and founder of Blackbird Medicines. Chrystal’s workshop, titled “Stepping into the Entrepreneur Ecosystems,” introduced various entrepreneurial support networks offering opportunities to entrepreneurs that would benefit our more than 330 Indigenous members. Presenter Tasheena Sarazin hosted a workshop titled “Letting Your Culture Feed You,” which invited the many Indigenous entrepreneurs who are simultaneously Culture Carriers to consider how their practices can inform their self-employment goals. Mentorship and navigational support continue to be a key aspect of our program.