Tomorrow’s Leaders

September 27, 2023


Insights on Reconciliation and Action from the TRC92 Indigenous Youth Employment Social Innovation Lab

Starting a new job can be tough, even at the best of times.

But it’s even harder when you feel unsafe. Or your new coworkers don’t understand your culture. Or you don’t have reliable transportation or childcare.

Indigenous youth bring tremendous skills, rich experiences, and unique perspectives to the workforce—yet far too many face multiple barriers in finding and maintaining jobs.

Out of all provinces and territories, Manitoba has the widest gap in employment between non-Indigenous and First Nations populations—a symptom of a much deeper problem.

That’s why the TRC92 Indigenous Youth Employment Initiative was born.

We are putting words into action.

In response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action, this youth-centred initiative seeks to transform the employment landscape for young Indigenous job seekers, build more supportive and inclusive workplaces, and strengthen our community.

Tackling such complex issues is only possible by working together—an approach United Way Winnipeg uniquely understands, given its long-standing practice of convening diverse leaders across all sectors.

Inspired by this collective impact approach, the Winnipeg Poverty Reduction Council (WPRC)—initiated by United Way Winnipeg—convened youth and leaders from the public, private, and nonprofit sectors to comprehensively understand the challenges young Indigenous job seekers face and, together, imagine a better future.

“It was a really supportive environment to create and have safe and meaningful discussions on things that are working and things that aren’t,” shared one participant.

The TRC92 Indigenous Youth Employment Initiative fostered a space for meaningful dialogue and collaboration by forming a Social Innovation Lab—an action-oriented, hands-on approach to creating change.

“We are putting words into action,” another participant explained.

“Instead of being part of a group that meets and has discussions, the Social Innovation Lab is a chance to walk the walk and put out tangible outcomes.”

I'm just really grateful to be a part of this.

The voices of Indigenous youth were foundational to the two-year process, sharing the knowledge, experiences, and solutions needed to co-design a better way forward.

From re-imagining job fairs to creating meaningful and inclusive human resource policies, Indigenous youth identified brilliant ways to create more culturally safe spaces across all stages of the employment journey—which are captured in the below report, “Insights on Reconciliation and Action: TRC92 Indigenous Youth Employment Initiative.”

“I’m just really grateful to be a part of this,” said one youth participant. “I was always the type of person that wanted to leave a mark on the world—and this is my mark.”


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