After four years of working in the Social Assistance Program for the Mohawk Council of Kanesatake (MCK), Kanehsata’kehró:non Joshua Nolet was ready for a new challenge, but one that would allow him to continue to help his community.
In March, Nolet started working as the new Workforce Development Liaison officer at the First Nations Human Resources Development Commission of Quebec for the territory of Kanesatake.
“When I was offered the position, I felt very grateful but mostly validated in my skills. I have been putting a lot of effort over the last couple of years into developing skills in administration and working within Native organizations,” said Nolet.
“My position is to support our local Kanesatake Employment and Training Service Centre as well as various partners in the territory.”
As the Workforce Development Liaison officer, Nolet’s objective is to create collaborative opportunities and support the development of skills, training and employability for Indigenous people in the workforce.
“It is a pilot project with Service Quebec and the Ministerial Strategy for Labour Market Integration of First Nations and Inuit People,” he said.
Prior to his time with the MCK, Nolet worked at the Welcome Hall Mission and the To Live An Heritage Foundation. He said that all of his previous experiences prepared him for his current role.
“Many First Nations people continue to suffer from trauma, whether it be a personal trauma or intergenerational, so maintaining a job or even thinking that they are capable of joining the workforce might seem like something that they are incapable of doing,” said Nolet.
“So, it is important that they are supported and that also employers are aware of the challenges that First Nations people face entering the workforce. I am also trying to sensitize employers about the realities of First Nations and Inuit people.”
In 2002, Nolet graduated high school from Centennial Academy in Montreal. Later in 2007, he completed his college diploma in the communications program at Dawson College.
“It’s important for me to serve my community because it is something that I am passionate about. I grew up living on reserve and off of it, and I see great people here with so much potential. It’s also very important to me that my children see that their father gets up every day and works towards making a positive difference for them and their community,” he said.
Nolet credits his partner Pamela Gabriel-Ferland and their two children, Alexander and Emily, for always being his number one support system. In fact, it was Gabriel-Ferland who first saw the position online and encouraged him to apply.
“My parents, Sheila Bonspiel and Geatan Nolet, also really pushed me to go for it. Everyone has been super positive, especially my family. Everyone is very proud and keeps congratulating me.”
Marisela Amador, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eastern Door