FREDERICTON (CNB) - The provincial government, the federal government, Aboriginal communities and industry will be contributing more than $4.87 million to support training and skills development for natives in New Brunswick. The announcement was made this afternoon.

The provincial government, along with 15 First Nations communities, the New Brunswick Aboriginal Peoples Council and industry will be investing at least $2.4 million to the project, known as Enhancing Skills and Self-Sufficiency.

The federal government is providing about $2.47 million through the Aboriginal Skills and Employment Partnership (ASEP) funding provided in the 2007 budget. The project will help Aboriginal people take advantage of job opportunities in industries such as mining, oil and gas, forestry, and fishing.

"Achieving self-sufficiency means harnessing the skills and resources of all the people in New Brunswick," said Human Resources Minister Rick Brewer, who is also responsible for the Aboriginal Affairs Secretariat. "This project is an excellent opportunity to help Aboriginal people gain access to new skills and employment opportunities while helping industry meet its demands for skilled workers."

The announcement was made Kchikhusis Commercial Centre, located on the St. Mary's First Nation.

"The Enhancing Skills and Self-Sufficiency project will provide training and skills development opportunities to maximize employment of Aboriginal people in New Brunswick," said Keith Ashfield, minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency. "Canada's Economic Action Plan aims to create more and better opportunities for Aboriginal Canadians with increased investments in Aboriginal skills and employment programs."

Ashfield was speaking on behalf of Diane Finley, federal minister of human resources and skills development.

The project also involves the newly formed New Brunswick First Nations and Business Liaison Group; the Joint Economic Development Initiative; and business partners.

"The Construction Association of New Brunswick welcomes the opportunity to become involved in this exciting program," said John McDonald, president of the Fredericton Northwest Construction Association. "The construction industry sees great potential to build a new bond of co-operation with Aboriginal communities, which will benefit both groups and the province."

Alex Dedam, co-chair of the Joint Economic Development Initiative, said: "I am proud that we will have a role to play in making the Enhancing Skills and Self-Sufficiency project a success so that we may address the range of barriers that Aboriginal people face in the workplace."

Canada's Economic Action Plan, Budget 2009, is committed to improving the availability of training by investing an additional $100 million over three years in the nationwide ASEP program. This investment will support up to 25 new ASEP projects, which could result in the creation of up to 6,000 jobs for Aboriginal people across the country.

Background information may be found at the Human Resources and Skills Development Canada website,