Membertou, NS, Mar.2, 2018… Local Mi’kmaq youth are learning about many career opportunities in the Canadian Forces this week. Canadian Forces recruiters are visiting Cape Breton First Nation communities this week and today met with staff of the Mi’kmaw Economic Benefits Office (MEBO). “We see great employment opportunities in working with the Canadian Forces recruiters,” said Tyler Gould, Program Manager with MEBO. “Our office works for all five First Nation communities in Cape Breton, Unama’ki. We are focused on working with Industry and government departments to help our people secure valuable training, work experience and employment.”

Captain Matt Graham is coordinator with “Black Bear”, a unique summer employment program designed for Indigenous youth interested in joining the Canadian Forces. The six-week employment program is held each summer at CFB Gagetown, NB and participants are paid more than $4,000. For the summer employment.

Captain Graham was joined be Master Corporal Matt Johnson, a Mi’kmaq from the community of Eskasoni. Corporal Johnson has been a member of the Canadian Forces Reserve in Gagetown for the past eight years and spoke passionately about his experience working in the Canadian Armed Forces Reserve.
The Black Bear summer course at CFB Gagetown teaches team building, respect, discipline, as well as basic foot drill, navigation with map and compass and weapons handling. Participants also get exposed to the many career opportunities in the Canadian Armed Forces, including the Reserve. “Every trade on the civilian world also exists in the military,” said Captain Graham.

Deadline for applying for the summer program is the end of May and the program starts on July 3. “This is a great summer job, and a great experience,” said Corporal Johnson. Captain Graham said they hoping to have 60 participants from Atlantic Canada this summer and hope that following the summer program, some will decide to sign up to join the Reserve or regular forces. The program holds a graduation on Aug.8 at CFB Gagetown. Last year 32 graduated from Black Bear and about a dozen joined the Canadian Forces Reserve and a few joined the regular forces.

“It is a great part-time job and can even be a full-time job in the Reserve,” said Corporal Johnson. “It’s a great job, full-time for me, with many career opportunities.” For students, the Reserve can offer part-time employment each week, guaranteed summer employment and the Canadian Forces will pay $2,000 a year towards a post-secondary education.

Tyler Gould, Program Manager with MEBO, said anyone interested can contact the Mi’kmaw Economic Benefits Office in Membertou for details or read about the program on the Canadian Forces website for Black Bear or e-mail-