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THUNDER BAY, ON: Kiikenomaga Kikenjigewen Employment and Training Services (KKETS) announced today that they hosted a graduation ceremony for students successfully completing the 2015-2016 Aboriginal Skills Advancement Program (ASAP). Graduates obtained their Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) with many also completing their post-secondary entrance requirements.

ASAP is part of Phase 2 of the KKETS Employment Training Model wherein Matawa First Nation members are being prepared to move forward with further employment and training opportunities to meet potential future labour demands in the area known as the Ring of Fire. It also lends support to the improvements in socio-economic outcomes amongst the Matawa First Nations.

Including the OSSD, ASAP provides Matawa members aged 22 and above with transitioning to urban living, life/cultural/social supports, employment readiness and basic certifications. In many cases, it is the stepping stone from education to training to employment. Many graduates will move on to seek higher learning opportunities to secure their place in the labour market.

According to the labour market analysis in Service Canada’s June 2014 Client Segment Profile of Aboriginal Peoples in Ontario, there are fewer Aboriginal peoples engaged in the labour market and that lower levels of academic achievement are corresponding to higher unemployment rates. The study also found that, although the Aboriginal population had lower levels of educational attainment compared to the general population, their academic achievement is rising.

The graduation ceremony took place at 1:00 p.m at the Davinci Centre. Officials from the KKETS Board of Directors, Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, and the Lakehead Adult Education Centre attended in addition to Honourable Patty Hajdu, MP Thunder Bay-Superior North.

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