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Women say new ESWK program a winner

HAZELTON Northwest Community College (NWCC) might just be on to something. A new Essential Skills for Work (ESWK) for Women program launched this spring is getting rave reviews from the students who have filled it to capacity. ESWK is a unique community-based program that integrates employment exploration and preparation skills with personal self-investigation and development. It is and has been a popular program at NWCC because it teaches the practical skills necessary for job seekers. Offering the ESWK for Women appears to have struck a chord with women in the Hazeltons and surrounding communities. Theres been an overwhelming response for the ESWK for Women, which indicates to me that women want to connect with each other and that students who are coming back to education feel that this program would be a safe place to start, says program coordinator Pat Stone, who hired two First Nations women instructors for the program. This program is all about offering a welcoming return to school and education and weve seen first-hand how this welcoming atmosphere builds confidence as students learn the basic and essential skills for work: writing, spelling, grammar, numeracy, communication, and the use of technology, said Stone. These women are relishing the chance to interact and support each other and they are eager for the opportunity to set career goals. Learning is a life-long process and this program is helping us figure out what career path we want to go for, said student Crystal Mowatt. If we never stop dreaming and we don't let anything stand in our way, we all can achieve our goals. By bringing relevant content into the program, Stone says students achieve a sense of self. The curriculum weaves in Aboriginal culture and content, along with applicable and meaningful reading material, career exploration content, guest speakers, special projects, and morning class opening sessions. All students who finish the program will complete a career and education plan. The hope is students become acquainted and familiar with the College setting so that they are comfortable to seek further education, such as the Career & College Prep (CCP) program or other work training, such as programs offered by the School of Exploration & Mining (SEM). Others may use the skills they develop to look for work. NWCC is proud to offer this program in a partnership with the Native Women's Association of Canada (NWAC), which is founded on the collective goal to enhance, promote, and foster the social, economic, cultural and political well-being of First Nations and M‚tis women within First Nation, M‚tis and Canadian societies. As a national organization representing Aboriginal women since 1974, NWACs mandate is to achieve equality for all Aboriginal women in Canada. Additionally, NWCC has received a lot of referrals, applications and support from the bands surrounding the Hazelton Campus: Gitanmaax, Glen Vowel, Kispiox, Gitsegukla, Hagwilget and Gitanyow.

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