Six local Mi’kmaq that are training as electricians, have volunteered to work on the new building for the Whitney Pier Youth Club. These students are enrolled in a 12 week introduction training program as commercial and residential electricians. The program is put on by the Mi’kmaw Economic Benefits Office (MEBO) in partnership with the local IBEW union, local 1852 in Whitney Pier. Their instructor, Peter Gillis, with IBEW 1852, is supervising their work.
Recently Chester Borden, Executive Director of the Whitney Pier Youth Club, met with the students to express his appreciation for their work. Alex Paul, Executive Director with MEBO, said, “Work experience is a critical component of their training. We are thrilled that this work experience helps an important community organization like the Whitney Pier Youth Club.”
Borden said the club has greatly outgrown their old building and it needed to be fixed up and expanded. They serve 100 kids a day and provided 18,000 meals last year. They have a Tots Program for babies and young children and also a program for kids from grade 5 to 18 years old. Their programs include Homework and Tutoring, Computers, Arts and Crafts, a lunch and after school nutrition program and a teens program.
The Mi’kmaw Economic Benefits Office (MEBO) is focused on building partnerships with large industry in Nova Scotia. In doing so, it seeks to identify both employment and business opportunities for local Aboriginals. The Benefits Office helps industry find the workers they need through promotion and recruitment efforts. MEBO also works closely with local unions both in training and as a gateway to employment with industry. MEBO serves all five First Nation communities in Cape Breton(Unama’ki) and delivers a province wide training program under the federal governments Skills Partnership Fund.