What does it take to build a strong community?
Think about all the things that need to be built and maintained in order to create a safe community: roadways and bridges, houses and clinics and schools, drinking water systems, energy transportation. Where does your water come from? How does your home get electricity to power your lights and appliances? Who builds your community hall? It takes a lot of people with specialized skills and knowledge to build a strong community. These profiles showcase a few of these many exciting and meaningful careers that use Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). These careers are important parts of Indigenous communities (as well as other communities) across Canada.
These profiles showcase Indigenous people from three First Nations communities in Ontario - Six Nations of the Grand River, Nipissing First Nation and Tyendinaga First Nation. These are three of 617 First Nations communities across Canada. The Indigenous Peoples (First Nations, Métis and Inuit) who live within what is now Canada lived here long before settlers arrived, successfully living within their environment, with diverse and rich communities, laws, languages and traditions. Now, Indigenous Peoples have much, much smaller areas to live within, often far away from their traditional land. Nonetheless, Indigenous ways of living and ways of knowing are still strong and vibrant communities exist, both in these assigned communities and in other urban centres. As communities continue to adapt to a rapidly changing world, there are many opportunities within STEM fields.
Here are some of the types of jobs that use STEM to help build and maintain strong communities:
- Engineering (using science and technology to design and build in the real world - for example, electrical engineers can build circuits, generators and motors, and civil engineers can build airports, water supply and bridges)
- Infrastructure (housing, buildings, roads, power)
- Environment (environmental monitoring, lab technician, environmental scientist)
- Trades (manual jobs that require specific skills - for example, tile setter, carpenter, electrician)
Technical Youth Career Project Coordinator, Ontario First Nations Technical Services Corporation
Community - Nipissing First Nation
Education - Mass Communications, Bachelor of Arts Carleton University
Journalism Print & Broadcast, Advanced Diploma - Canadore College
High School Course Requirement - English
Potential Earnings - $35,000 - $75,000 +
"One of the best parts of my job is promoting science and technology careers to First Nation youth across Ontario. Through outreach, I help youth match interests and skills with careers that help them move forward personally, professionally, and on a community level, making lasting positive changes everywhere!"
Deputy Fire Chief, Rama Fire and Rescue Services
Community - Tyendinaga First Nation
Education - Public Administration and Governance, Ryerson University, Advanced Certificate
Certificates/Training: Career Fighter, Company Officer, Training Officer, Instructor
High School Course Requirement - Math, Science, Physical Education, Technical Courses
Potential Earnings - $35,000 - $90,000 +
"Helping people in need was always what I wanted to do. Today Fire Sciences is a growing trend as composite and synthetic materials begin to fill our homes, businesses and communities. Emergency management is essential to public safety, especially First Nations communities, where help and resources may not be as readily available."
Infrastructure Specialist Intern, Ontario First Nations Technical Services Corporation
Community - Six Nations of the Grand River
Education - Construction Engineering Diploma, Mohawk College
High School Course Requirement - Math, English, Construction & Design Technology
Potential Earnings - $40,000 - $90,000 +
"As an Infrastructure Specialist Intern, I visit First Nations to conduct building inspections, and ensure reporting requirements are met. I've always been interested in construction and housing, and there is a demand for skilled young technicians. Working in housing, I feel like I get to give back to communities, and help families and people stay safe."
If you are interested in community health and safety, construction, working with your hands, planning and design, water, energy or making a difference in the lives of others, you might be interested in one of these types of careers. Studying science and technology and learning technical and scientific skills can help bring economic opportunities to your community, and to make your community self-sufficient. Knowing about STEM and having skills in STEM areas can be a tool to help you solve problems in your community.
For more information on these types of careers, including Indigenous role models and career quizzes, visit the Ontario First Nations Technical Service’s Corporation’s Technical Youth Careers Outreach Project pages at http://firstnationcareers.com/.