The Gitxsan Ready for Work Initiative was created out of a need to build a strategic workforce readiness plan for the Gitxsan region of northwestern British Columbia; and to prepare its people for current and emerging labour market opportunities.
This initiative was commissioned by BC’s Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation, with a mandate to develop a Gitxsan Aggregate Labour Profile, Training Assessment and 5 Year Human Resource Strategy to maximize the development of a Gitxsan workforce. The long term outcomes of a successful HR Strategy are significant, as they can improve quality of life throughout Gitxsan communities and leverage opportunities for dynamic participation in the global economy.
Through the efforts of the Gitxsan Ready for Work Research Team – facilitating hundreds of conversations, interviews, meeting job candidates, listening to people seeking to upgrade their skills or simply wanting to have a voice in the future direction of their community, it has become clear that Gitxsan people want what everyone wants – to be connected, and to be able to develop their human potential. In his book Drive, Daniel Pink describes the primary drivers of human motivation. “Most people believe that the best way to motivate is with rewards like money—the carrot-and-stick approach. That’s a mistake. The secret to high performance and satisfaction-at work, at school, and at home—is the deeply human need to direct our own lives, to learn and create new things, and to do better by ourselves and our world.”
In the Gitxsan region, people have faced devastating unemployment and a myriad of related challenges for decades, to truly direct one’s life seems an unreachable goal for many. Too many have been unable to make a living in the community they love. Barely getting by or living with unmet needs and goals is all that has been possible. People are skeptical about promised change. Communities in the region struggle with high unemployment, yet employers experience difficulty in finding workers with skills that align with their needs. Unemployment rates for the Gitxsan working population are over 70% according to Stats Canada. 50% of people residing in Gitxsan Communities are under age 26.
Change is needed.
Establish a dedicated Recruitment and Workforce Hub
Ensure Gitxsan People are workforce-ready and prepared to compete for local jobs
Invest in and develop young people to succeed in life and careers
Create better conditions for vibrant Gitxsan economy and community