FREDERICTON (GNB) – The provincial government and the Joint Economic Development Initiative (JEDI) have partnered to support community adult learning programs for Aboriginals in New Brunswick. The announcement was made today at St. Mary's First Nation.

The provincial government is investing $98,950 in JEDI to help develop partnerships and delivery of community adult learning services in the 15 First Nations communities in New Brunswick.

“The funding will help co-ordinate adult learning opportunities to maximize employment of Aboriginal people in New Brunswick,” said Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour Minister Martine Coloumbe, “This partnership is an excellent way to support opportunities for Aboriginal people.”

JEDI will use the funding to co-ordinate marketing of the available programs and learning opportunities offered by government. In addition, it provides resources for a provincial Aboriginal co-ordinator who will work directly with First Nation Communities to address any learning barriers and encourage participation.

“Adult education is essential for economic development in our communities,” said JEDI president Alex Dedam. “This funding will help provide the link to adult learning opportunities, while ensuring a more inclusive model that respects cultural differences. We are also pleased that this funding provides the framework and resources to better liaise with government on this and other potential initiatives going forward.”

This initiative follows a successful two-year pilot project called New Brunswick Aboriginal Workplace Essential Skills Development Project. The project assisted 30 adult learners, with 20 now employed or pursuing post-secondary education. The new funding and partnership is expected to help an additional 200 Aboriginal learners.

“Our government is working to create a stronger economy,” said Coulombe. “We will help achieve this by creating more and better opportunities for Aboriginal Canadians with increased investments in delivery of Aboriginal adult learning programs. Our government understands the benefits of working on a case-by-case basis to encourage participation in such programs as essential skills training.”