Reports and Publications
About the A.I.M.S. Essential Skills and Job Readiness Pilot Program
[M’Chigeeng, ON] – “Just be patient - if it is to be, it will be.” These were the kind and soft-spoken words of encouragement said many times to Kenjgewin Teg staff by Elder in Residence Gloria Oshkabewisens-McGregor during, what seemed to be, a never ending and lengthy project approval waiting period.
Gloria was right of course. Patience and good intention does not often go unrewarded. In March 2012, Kenjgewin Teg's hopes and dreams were finally answered when Human Resources and Skills Development Canada officially announced that they were in fact approving an exciting new pilot program called the "Anishinabek Identity Mind and Spirit (A.I.M.S.) Essential Skills and Job Readiness Program”. So what exactly is the A.I.M.S. program?
Beverley Roy-Carter, KTEI’s Director of Business and Training, describes it this way: “This program’s theory of change is simply this: if skills development programs for Aboriginal adults who have been unsuccessful in the current educational system (those without a Grade 12 diploma) can be designed using a multidisciplinary approach and a multidimensional learning approach, this will in fact create new and successful access points to the labour markets and to post-secondary education – thereby contributing to the reduction of unemployment and its related social challenges”.
This includes, as it foundational platform, holistic and blended disciplines approach to learning, enabling students to be more readily equipped to successfully pursue their goals. Kenjgewin TegI's Executive Director, Stephanie Roy, agrees as well. “In my experience, too often, and perhaps unintentionally, academic and essential skills development programs tend to forget about the personal development, self-esteem and personal resiliency skills that students so often need to succeed in the world.”
In August 2012, the newly recruited A.I.M.S. project team members have been busily brainstorming on various program delivery models, curriculum development, course outlines, lesson plans, class schedules, and the many, many logistics that must be planned in order to deliver a new program. The program has taken six intakes of students, with the last cohort of students now completing their program.
The first and critical part of the A.I.M.S. program focused upon nurturing the inner spirit, sense of identity and belonging of each and every one of the students. By creating a solid foundation within a supportive learning environment, and with newfound personal direction and confidence, students will then be better prepared for the mechanics of academic learning. For the A.I.M.S. program, as part of skills development, a key outcome for students is the completion of a Grade 12 equivalency such as the GED (or the Academic Career and Entrance Program when simultaneously offered by KTEI) for those who seek to achieve this goal.
And last but not least, the greatest symbolic opportunity that the new pilot project A.I.M.S. program represents is the opportunity for KTEI to develop and create its own standards in student learning certification. Certainly, awarding 100 Certificates to graduates in Anishinabek Essential Skills and Job Readiness from Kenjgewin Teg Educational Institute will indeed become a new symbol of accomplishment and pride.
As at 2016-17, due to program funding end dates, the A.I.M.S. program is no longer active at Kenjgewin Teg.