Aboriginal career women get boost
Career Place will have a national database

by Nancy Gardiner
Northern News Services

NNSL (Mar 10/97) - Aboriginal women can now take advantage of a mentor program to help them find careers in the corporate sector.

Nearly $325,000 in funding has been received from Human Resources Development Canada for the first year.

That funding likely will be renewed for another year, but then the program would have to sustain itself, says Luigia Cistera, manager for Career Place of project of the Native Women's Association of Canada.

"The program can assist corporations in filling their targets for workforce diversity," says Cistera.

"And we hope this gives aboriginal women in the NWT an opportunity to acquire skills that are required in their home communities," she says.

The emphasis will be on skills the women already have and helping them prepare resumes through services already provided in the business community.

"A lot of corporations are setting up databases based on skills rather than degrees -- in the last five years especially," she says.

A new national database matching aboriginal women with corporate careers is in the works to match that trend.

Career Place officials will contact companies to identify career opportunities and negotiate arrangements for a mentor. The program then provides a list of candidates who fit the qualifications of the sponsoring organization.

Application forms will be available through most friendship centres or band administration offices.

"We want to encourage all aboriginal women to participate in Career Place, whether already employed or not. It's exciting and I know it's going to be of tremendous value to corporate Canada," says Cistera.