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Shkoday finding positives as programs grow

Shkoday to host a micro job fair at its Red River Road location on Thursday
Shkoday Abinojiwak Obimiwedoon
The kindergarten class at Sjkoday Abinojiwak Obimiwedoon celebrated graduation on Thursday, June 20, 2019. (Leith Dunick,

THUNDER BAY — It has been a slow and steady rise for Shkoday over the last few years.

Originally starting in 1997 with an Aboriginal Head Start program for ages 18 months to six years, the community-based organization has implemented more programs to help Indigenous children.

That includes the Biwaase’aa program for ages seven through 18 that started with three schools and has now increased to eight.

In 2022, the Pathways program, which is designed to help increase high school graduation rates among Indigenous people, was launched.

“Since we started 26 years ago, we wanted to continue to grow the programs we have to offer,” Shkoday executive director Marilyn Junnila said. “Now we have continual programming that goes all the way through high school.”  

With that growth, however, come new challenges.

“Automatically, you need to have more staff on hand for the growing needs,” Junnila said.

“During COVID, we had to modify a lot of programming to online only, but now that we are back in the schools and have our after-school programs going again, there’s that extra need for part-time staff to help out, as that was something we couldn’t do as much when the pandemic was going on.”

As a result of those needs, Shkoday is set to host a micro job fair to go along with an open house at its location on 214 Red River Road on Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“I think it’s an excellent thing to be in a spot where we are growing and need to hire new people that can help us provide educational opportunities for children and youth,” Junnila said.

“For all of us here, it’s a pretty rewarding place to work, especially as you help to make positive changes in young people's lives.”

Among the positions that Shkoday islooking to fill are youth outreach workers, student parent support workers, family support cultural coordinator and after school assistants.

“There’s a lot of different needs for the age groups that we serve,” Junnila said. “That’s especially true with our Pathways program, as a lot of those positions are brand new due to the addition of that program.”

While the main purpose of the day is to try and find new employees, Junnila also said that Thursday’s open house is also designed to let people learn more about what Shkoday has to offer.

“We want to showcase the different programs we have here and give everyone a chance to answer any questions that they might have,” she added.

More information on Thursday’s open house and micro job fair can be found on Shkoday’s website.

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