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The Courage to Join the Public Service (IRA1-V34)


Touching story of Noodloo Pishuktie and Dianne Landry, respectively Inuk and Algonquin, who recount their career paths. In particular, they testify to the benefits of the employment assistance program, "Courage to Soar" managed in partnership between Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC), Miinwashin Lodge and Willis College both located in Ottawa. This program provides Indigenous women with office training and opportunities to work for the federal government.

Duration: 00:06:30
Published: May 17, 2021
Type: Video

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The Courage to Join the Public Service



Transcript: The Courage to Join the Public Service

Noodloo Pishuktie

Hi, my name is Noodloo Pishuktie, and I am Inuk. I was born and raised in Iqaluit, Nunavut. And move to the Ottawa Gatineau area 10 years ago. I worked for a nonprofit Inuit community center here in Ottawa for six years prior to joining IITB EDSC 3 years ago. I met the Indigenous recruitment team through some of the work I had been doing with the Inuit community. I decided I wanted to pursue a new opportunity, and by doing so, I have the great privilege of being able to provide employment opportunities to Indigenous communities. I have been fortunate to be working with a great organization called Minwaashin Lodge. Minwaashin is an Indigenous women's support center that provides a range of programs and services to First Nations, Inuit and Métis women and children. One of the many programs Minwaashin offers is a training and career development program. The program we have partnered with is called the Courage to Soar. Under this program, Minwaashin Lodge and Willis College offers a six months Office Administration training course to highly motivated and committed Indigenous women. The students learn how to use Microsoft office suite products that as you know we use here in government. After the students have completed the program, the students are required to take an 8 weeks placement in order to graduate. We have partnered with various other departments and agencies to be able to provide all the students a 4 month placement opportunity. The students are able to take what they have learned and put into practice. This will be the third year that we've been able to provide opportunities to these inspirational women. I get to meet the students at the beginning of the program and support them throughout the process, which includes when they have started work for us and beyond. We have helped to hire over 30 students, many of which have been offered term and indeterminate roles. I would like to now introduce you to one of the students that we in ESDC have hired to tell her story.

Dianne Landry

Kwe Kwe, my name is Dianne Landry. I'm an Indigenous woman from the Algonquin of Pikwakanagan First Nation located in Golden Lake, Ontario. Ottawa has been my home for most of my life. I am a 56 year old, mother of two adult children, and grandmother to eight. I first became aware of Minwaashin Lodge's "Courage to Soar" program offering an Administrative Assistant course through a post on Facebook in August 2019.

I have found it is when I have felt broken, lost and feeling in despair that there lies the most opportunity to experience miracles. That year 2019 held a tremendous amount of heartache for me, both personally and professionally. In a span of four months, I had a sister and two brothers joined the Spirit World. And in the midst of that, the eighty nine year old woman I had been caring for also passed away. I fell into a very deep depression. My job ending so suddenly and my emotional state contributed to me spending almost the full year fighting an eviction notice every month. Everything, every day was just too much.

And voila, the beginning of my miracle. The day I saw the promotion for the Courage to Soar program. Before I could think twice, I sent a message requesting information and age restrictions. I had a call back within a day and I was invited to come in for a registration. The whole experience was made to be as easy as possible, even for someone as lost as I was at that time. There was a solution found for any obstacle. Any supplies required or other needs, food, clothing, transportation, counseling were anticipated and offered before it could become an issue to interfere with my ability to be in the class. There were class gatherings and cultural activities and medicine teachings incorporated that offered us so much more than administrative skills. During the six month Courage to Soar course, I developed some strong friendships and connections that have extended to the present.

The last day of the course is the same day that the WHO declared the coronavirus a pandemic. Everything was in a state of flux. There was no confirmation that our placements with the government as a part of the Courage to Soar would even happen. Then I received the email with the placement details. The feeling that came over me is indescribable. A sense of everything is really going to be ok. Although walking in the doors to a position in the federal government did not look quite as I thought it would. Everyone was now working remotely, but somehow I grasped onto that as an advantage, given the circumstances I was working in at a time that everyone already employed was also adjusting to a new work environment.

From day one, everyone I interacted with has offered me so much support, patience and solid direction. My recruiters, Noodloo and Chev, invited me to join the Indigenous Employee Circle.

This offered a place to connect and feel welcome. I am currently fulfilling my second casual term as an AS-01 Administrative Assistant, and I have an indeterminate requisition submitted. Every day, I am exposed to something new, whether it's in Human Resources, or Procurement or Information Management. The learning opportunities continue daily. Some things this whole experience has given to me, aside from employment. I have regained a confidence in my own abilities and I feel so much more prepared to continue to improve my life. I hope to be an example to show my grandchildren that regardless of your age, an education is absolutely to your benefit perseverance. It's never too late to make changes. The sense of financial security is a little foreign, but most welcome too. Chi meegwetch, for opening the door on possibility.

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