Hundreds of Indigenous people to be trained for high tech jobs under new program launched by NWAC, OAS and Trust for the Americas

Published on June 21, 2023

Press release eng

WASHINGTON, D. C. - The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC), the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Trust for the Americas, are launching a new program to provide hundreds of Indigenous people with the digital skills required for high-demand jobs in the tech industry.

The Empowering Indigenous Peoples through Digital Skills Project, which was unveiled Wednesday during the week of the OAS General Assembly in Washington, D.C., aims to enhance the livelihoods and opportunities of Indigenous People in communities across Québec, British Columbia, and Alberta.

“With a mere 2.2 percent of Indigenous workers in the tech workforce, it is well beyond time to step up and fill in this unacceptable gap,” said Lynne Groulx, NWAC’s Executive Director. “Ending economic marginalization stands a fighting chance with concrete actions such as this digital skills project.”

The project will be supported with combined financial and in-kind contributions from Microsoft Philanthropies, NWAC, and the Trust for the Americas. It will begin in October 2023, with the first participants expected to graduate in December of this year.

Through a combination of on-site and online training in digital and life skills, the project will create digital equity for Indigenous people, and will open the doors to the high-paid jobs that will support both families and communities. The project's activities will be grounded in cultural awareness and respect.

Three hundred and fifty Indigenous people, aged 16 and over, will be trained in digital and life skills. They will learn project management, data content management, digital and financial literacy, entrepreneurship, environmental sustainability, and workforce readiness.

In addition, 50 facilitators, community leaders, and Elders will be taught how to replicate the training within their communities. By empowering these local leaders, the project aims to create a sustainable ripple effect of skill development and knowledge transfer.

The program will assist the participants as they search for employment opportunities, and will support the development of entrepreneurship and businesses within the Indigenous communities.

“We are honored to be partnering with NWAC for the first time and continue our work with Microsoft with whom we have worked in over 20 countries over the past two decades,” said Linda Eddleman, CEO, The Trust for the Americas. “This will be our first project in Canada and we could not have wished for better partners in NWAC and Microsoft. Along with the OAS we look forward to bringing digital, entrepreneur and life skills to the Indigenous peoples in Canada and throughout the Americas.”


About The Native Women’s Association of Canada

The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) is a national Indigenous organization representing political voices of Indigenous women, girls, Two-Spirit, transgender, and gender-diverse people in Canada. NWAC is inclusive of First Nations—on- and off-reserve, status, non-status, and disenfranchised—Inuit, and Métis. An aggregate of Indigenous women’s organizations from across the country, NWAC was founded on a collective goal to enhance, promote, and foster social, economic, cultural, and political well-being of Indigenous women, girls, Two-Spirit, transgender, and gender-diverse people within their respective communities and Canadian societies.

À propos de l'Association des femmes autochtones du Canada

L'Association des femmes autochtones du Canada (AFAC) est une organisation autochtone nationale qui représente la voix politique des femmes, des filles, des transgenres, des bispirituels et des personnes de sexe différent au Canada, y compris les membres des Premières nations vivant dans les réserves et hors réserve, les Indiens inscrits et non inscrits, les personnes privées de leurs droits, les Métis et les Inuits. Regroupant des organisations de femmes autochtones de tout le pays, l'AFAC a été fondée dans le but collectif d'améliorer, de promouvoir et de favoriser le bien-être social, économique, culturel et politique des femmes autochtones au sein de leurs communautés respectives et des sociétés canadiennes.