(THUNDER BAY) – Constance Lake First Nation community members will soon have access to a wide range of online and distance programs and courses from Ontario’s public colleges, universities, school boards, literacy and other training providers without leaving their community.
The Constance Lake First Nation Ontario Works office and Contact North ǀ Contact Nord, Ontario’s Distance Education & Training Network, have entered into a partnership whereby Contact North ǀ Contact Nord’s local online learning centre will provide local on-site staff, free local access to educational technology, high-speed Internet, and computer workstations to access a wide range of online programs that meet their needs and are currently available from Ontario’s publicly funded education and training providers.
“The need to provide an opportunity for adult learners to further their education within our community has been a priority for our local Ontario Works office for years and the opening of the local Contact North site will address this need.” said Rhonda Martin, Ontario Works Administrator for Constance Lake. “Our community is and will continue to need educated skilled employees, not just for mining or forestry jobs, but for local businesses and administration. This is a great opportunity for those community members that want and need to further their education.”
“Providing local access to education and training opportunities in Ontario’s Aboriginal communities is a priority for Contact North | Contact Nord and has been since we began more than 25 years ago,” said Maxim Jean-Louis, President – Chief Executive Officer, Contact North | Contact Nord. “This new partnership with the Constance Lake First Nation Ontario Works office will support community members to improve their literacy and basic skills, complete their high school diploma or pursue their first college diploma or university degree without having to leave the community.”
This initiative is part of a broader Ontario Works model developed in partnership with Contact North ǀ Contact Nord and Sioux Hudson Literacy Council to work directly with First Nations Ontario Works offices to help them identify available courses and programs and to tailor programming to meet their specific community and client needs.
The same model was used to establish a new local online learning centre in December, 2012 in the First Nations community of Attawapiskat in Northeastern Ontario. Since opening the local centre, Contact North | Contact Nord has generated and supported 62 registrations in courses by community members.
Twenty-seven of the 112 online learning centres operated by Contact North ǀ Contact Nord are located in First Nations communities. Constance Lake First Nation is located on the shores of Constance Lake near Hearst, Ontario and is home to close to 1,500 members of Ojibway and Cree ancestry.