It all starts with a solid foundation

At the AICCC, Indigenous job seekers build confidence in themselves.

Young couple Deanna Ironeagle and Joshua Apetagon were like a lot of the people who first come in to the Alberta Indigenous Construction Career Centre (AICCC). “When a lot of the participants come in, they don’t have that positive attitude, thinking, I'm going to get that job,” says Norma Jeremicka’ca Gresl, a career coach at the centre. But by taking training in construction safety, flagging, and first aid, they laid out career paths for themselves in the construction industry. 
The AICCC, located in Bow Valley College’s West Campus, connects Indigenous job seekers with employment in the Alberta construction industry. When clients first come in, they can face barriers as obstructive as addictions or homelessness. The AICCC strives to give people a place to start.

As for Norma, she leads two-week workshops at the centre, where in addition to training in industry certification for subjects like flagging and Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS), she teaches job and life skills as well as résumé and cover letter writing. She says every two-week workshop ends with a potluck of Indian tacos, and once an individual secures employment, they celebrate with a coffee or tea party. “It's just a celebration to say, you've done it. You've gone through the process of coming in with nowhere to go, or no idea what to do, and then going through the steps of finding out what it is you want, and then securing that employment.”

Deanna and Joshua say the program was so informative, they “wished it was even longer.” Not only did they gain the knowledge to work on a construction site, they learned how to manage their finances once they started earning money. 

Both of them were so inspired throughout the course that they plan to push themselves even further. Deanna wants to pursue her Red Seal certification as a professional painter and decorator, which means first upgrading her credentials at Bow Valley College. Joshua would like to become a police officer, and is proud to go back to school. 

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Posted on April 26, 2018

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