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Saskatoon launches new water training program for First Nations

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Kanātan nipīy, meaning the water is clean, is the name of a new water training program in Saskatoon that aims to foster First Nations access to employment in local water facilities.

The program offers two streams, one beginning in March for Indigenous youth ages 18 to 29, and another for Indigenous people of any age. The training is coordinated by the City of Saskatoon, the Gabriel Dumont Institute, the Radius Community Centre, Saskatchewan Polytechnic, and the Saskatoon Tribal Council.

Essential skills training will be taught first by the Radius Community Centre, followed by training in water treatment and distribution at Saskatchewan Polytechnic for both streams, starting in early April.

Saskatoon Tribal Council Chief Mark Arcand said the program will “enhance and improve the quality of life for all people that require clean potable water,” all while providing excellent employment opportunities.

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“As First Nations people, we are all protectors of water,” Chief Arcand announced in a statement.

Saskatoon’s wastewater treatment plant was built in 1971 with two major expansions added in the 1990s. In 1906, the year Saskatoon became a city, a combined power plant and water treatment plant was built at Avenue H and 11th Street, the site of the present water treatment plant.

Applicants to the water worker training must have their Grade 12 or GED and a Class 5 driver’s license. The program costs $1,642 per student, although training costs and living allowances may be available to some applicants through the Gabriel Dumont Institute and Saskatoon Tribal Council.

“This kanātan nipīy program is an important pathway to knowledge and employment and I am very pleased that the City of Saskatoon is part of it,” announced Saskatoon Mayor Charlie Clark in a statement. “Our futures are bound together, in our city and in Indigenous communities across Saskatchewan. I would like to thank all of the partners who are part of this program and are strengthening our future together,” he added.

Interested applicants can send their transcript, driver abstract, resume, and three references to kanatannipiy.project[at]gmail[dot]com by February 12, 2021.

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