Jeremy Dutton, the Dryden Native Friendship Centre’s (DNFC) Apatisiwin Employment Counsellor spoke on the kinds of services he provides to the urban Indigenous population of Dryden.
Dutton has worked at DNFC since October 2018. He assists unemployed/underemployed urban Indigenous residents with job search and career planning. This includes coordinating several funded interventions including placements with wage subsidies, purchasing training, and various employment supports.
He also works with multi-barriered clients (literacy, addictions, unstable housing arrangements) and connects them to support services to help them find success in employment.
Jeremy provided statistics on Indigenous employment and literacy rates compared to the rest of the population in the 2016 census. Today 19.7 % of Dryden’s population identifies as indigenous, an increase of 16.3% since 1996 when it was 3.5%.
Apatisiwin the largest network of employment and training services for urban Indigenous people in Ontario is funded through Service Canada and the Aboriginal Skills and Employment Strategy. To be eligible for the programs, persons must identify as indigenous, urban, living in the Dryden area, and unemployed or underemployed.
Wage subsidies to employers as well as assisting with helping with mandatory employment-related costs such as CPP and EI can also be provided.
Dutton can assist with training support for the last year of any college or university program or any other program that is one year or less. He also coordinates his efforts with other community partners such as Northwest Employment Works, Safety Matters Driver Training, KDSB, and the Boards of Education