Communitech Mentorship Pilot Pairs Indigenous Youth With Tech Volunteers

By: Kw Now Local News - Communitech News
| Published 10/26/2020

Iain Klugman: Tech for good is a core value at Com
Iain Klugman: Tech for good is a core value at Communitech
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Communitech Mentorship Pilot Pairs Indigenous Youth With Tech Volunteers

'Anishnabeg Outreach supports urban Indigenous people in finding avenues to self-sufficiency and success'

KITCHENER, ONTARIO — Indigenous youth with an interest in developing software will be paired with mentors from the Waterloo Region tech community in a new pilot project.

Anishnabeg Outreach Employment and Training is working with Communitech to launch the pilot, which will match 10 Indigenous students with 10 volunteer mentors for 10 hours of hands-on learning in popular coding languages, including Python, JavaScript and HTML.

The aim of the partnership is to help build career opportunities for Indigenous youth in Waterloo Region and expand the talent pipeline for the region’s fast-growing technology sector. Once the pilot is complete, the partners hope to have a mentorship program they can share with Indigenous communities far beyond the region.

“Mentorship is beneficial for students who embark on a tech-based career and even more crucial for Indigenous students who are entering this field,” said Stephen Jackson, CEO of Anishnabeg Outreach Employment and Training, a Kitchener-based non-profit organization that supports urban Indigenous people in finding avenues to self-sufficiency and success. “This is an excellent example of partnership and reconciliation between organizations and the Indigenous community which foster long-term, sustainable possibilities for Canada’s fastest-growing demographic.”

Iain Klugman, CEO of Communitech, said the pilot gives members of the tech community a way to help expand the local talent pool while enhancing their leadership skills and helping to open new doors for Indigenous neighbours.

“‘Tech for good’ is a core value at Communitech, and community is built into our name,” Klugman said. “Mentorship is a practical and powerful way to demonstrate our commitment to making sure more people in our community benefit from the work we do, and to creating a stronger community of tech.

Indigenous students and prospective mentors who want to take part in the pilot are encouraged to contact Caitlyn McComb, Mentorship Program Co-ordinator at Anishnabeg Outreach Employment and Training, at caitlyn@aocan.org. Once the participants are selected, mentoring sessions will be arranged and conducted virtually due to COVID-19.

Participating students who need access to a computer will be able to access one through the centre, following a donation of seven laptops arranged by Dave Caputo, Chair of Communitech’s board of directors.

Companies wishing to donate capable laptops (Macs or PCs) with modern operating systems are encouraged to contact Caitlyn or drop them off at Anishnabeg Outreach Centre at 236 Woodhaven Rd. in Kitchener.