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Tech & Creative Sectors Look at Reconciliation Differently

by ahnationtalk on April 16, 2018126 Views

Edmonton’s top professionals will gather to set a new course for relations

EDMONTON, April 16, 2018 – What role can two inherently innovative sectors play in reconciliation? That is the question that Edmonton-based Oteenow Employment & Training Society, Professional Aboriginal Testing Organization Inc. (PLATO Testing), and Naheyawin, a local creative studio, will ask on April 19th at an event called “Spiral Up: Reconciliation in Createch.”

The gathering will be held from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 pm at Enterprise Square (10320 Jasper Ave). Panelists include Chris Henderson, Strategist, Calder Bateman Communications; Denis Carignan, President, PLATO Testing; and Dr. Kim Tallbear, Associate Professor, Faculty of Native Studies, University of Alberta, and Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Peoples, Technoscience & Environment. The panel will be moderated by Hunter Cardinal, Director of Story, Naheyawin.

Spiral Up is inspired by the Cree tradition, the spiralling path upwards from the self through family, community, nation, natural, and spiritual world. It is understood as the path to mend relationships or Wahkotowin. Spiral Up invites technology and creative companies to explore reconciliation on all of these levels. The aim, organizers say, it is to “renew relations with innovation.”

Spiral Up Co-founder and Naheyawin Partner Jacquelyn Cardinal explained: “A lot of my colleagues in the tech and creative sectors want to be a part of reconciliation, but don’t know how. They are surprised when they meet Indigenous talent like me. Then, we work together and sparks fly. The 19th is an opportunity to bring all of Edmonton’s ‘Createch’ geniuses together to for an energizing event to channel our city building energy into practical solutions.”

PLATO Testing is an example of a tech company that is focused on reconciliation. The company trains and employs Indigenous software testers across Canada, including Edmonton. Keith Mcintosh, CEO, said: “I established PLATO after I learned about Call to Action 92 in the Truth and Reconciliation Report, which calls on corporate Canada to do its part. I wanted to do something and I needed workers to compete for contracts going overseas. It just made sense. Of the 90 indigenous software testers we’ve trained, 65 graduates now work for us. Corporate Canada contracts us to do the work, which now stays in Canada. It’s a win-win-win scenario.”

Roberta Bearhead, Executive Director of Oteenow Employment & Training, reached out to Ms. Cardinal after partnering with PLATO to train Indigenous software testers in Edmonton. She saw the need for greater awareness and engagement from the technology and creative sectors. Ms. Bearhead said: “Our partnership with PLATO has been successful and is just the start. We want to help create new opportunities – jobs of the future – for First Nations and Inuit living in Alberta. It’s not just about traditional sectors anymore. The world is changing. Work is changing. And we [Indigenous professionals] have a lot to offer.”

Oteenow was recently awarded $474,375 from Western Economic Diversification for its tech and creative training and employment plans in Edmonton. The project has already created 7 new technology jobs in partnership with PLATO Testing. The aim is to create at least 30 more over the next three years. The project inspired the Spiral Up event.

Event Details: https://spiralup-yeg.eventbrite.ca
Contact: Lisa Baroldi at lbaroldi@progressunltd.com or (778) 928-3706
Social Media: @sprialupCanada #sprialupcreatech #yeg

Oteenow Employment & Training Society connects First Nations and Inuit people who live in Edmonton and area, and who are ready for meaningful careers, with a wide range of employment and training programs, services, and opportunities so that they can become self-reliant and lead productive lives. Established in 1992, Oteenow is the only employment service agency exclusively dedicated to finding First Nations and Inuit people living in Edmonton and area, careers that work.

Professional Aboriginal Testing Organization Inc. (PLATO Testing) provides outsourced testing solutions to clients throughout North America, with a focus on projects that would have previously been sent offshore. Established by industry veteran, and PQA Testing founder, Keith McIntosh, PLATO Testing addresses the technology talent shortage in Canada and brings meaningful training and employment to Aboriginal people.

Naheyawin is a strategic communications agency that uses research, systems thinking, and storytelling to help our clients achieve their goals by finding connection to the people and things that matter most. Inspired by the night sky, Naheyawin identifies guiding stars, draws connections to nearby points of context, and creates stories that give these connections life.

For further information: Lisa Baroldi at lbaroldi@progressunltd.com or (778) 928-3706

NT4

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