to the Akwesasne Area Management Board (AAMB)
In 1990 the Canadian Employment and Immigration Commission, CEIC, as it was known at the time, implemented the Pathways to Success Strategy. The intent of this initiative was to provide more decision-making authority for Employment and Training Initiatives at the grassroots level to facilitate access to CEIC Programs by Aboriginals. This 5-year strategy was endorsed by many of the First Nations across Canada.
In the fall of 1990, the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne (MCA) under the Grand Chief Mike Mitchell, submitted a formal request to the Director General for Ontario Region of CEIC for the community of Akwesasne to participate in this Strategy by becoming an independent Management Board for Akwesasne. And so it began that Akwesasne was recognized as one of the 15 Area Management Boards established in Ontario. The process for approving Employment and Training Initiatives changed and no longer was it the responsibility of the Cornwall CEIC to decide on projects- Akwesasne would now make their own decisions on programs and projects in our community.
At the same time presentations by Akwesasne were made to the Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador (AFNQL) to secure funding from the Quebec Region of CEIC that had historically been spent on Akwesasne projects. This ensured that the entire community of Akwesasne, the Ontario and Quebec portions that fall under the jurisdiction of MCA, would benefit from the Pathways to Success Strategy.
Akwesasne always had the full support of the staff and management of the Cornwall CEIC. During this time Rosemary Bonaparte, Employment Counselor for CEIC, continued to work with the committee on client-focused initiatives, while Millie David, Project Officer for CEIC focused on project-based activities and budgetary requirements.
Throughout the early years of the Pathways Strategy, it became evident that Akwesasne needed more authority and could do more than just recommend proposals for CEIC to approve and manage. The CEIC Programs were good but not fully effective in meeting the Labour Market needs of the community of Akwesasne.
In 1993-94, CEIC introduced a One Agreement Model approach under the Pathways Strategy that would be tested in 10 test sites Nationally. This One Agreement Model provided the opportunity for the local management boards to gain more control over the administration and delivery of Employment and Training Initiatives, including the control of funds.
The Akwesasne Area Management Board took up the challenge and was determined to be one of the test sites. Through the efforts of the AAMB Board and staff at the time, a proposal was submitted in the spring of 1994 for Akwesasne to secure a One Agreement Model. In order to achieve approval to become a One Agreement Model site, the Board was required to formalize the infrastructure of the AAMB by incorporating as a not-for-profit entity. The AAMB became incorporated on May 4, 1994.
With the AAMB now incorporated the AAMB developed an Operational Manual for the implementation of Programs and Services. The AAMB was still required to implement CEIC-like programs, but this provided an opportunity to remove or adjust the ineffective aspects of the CEIC Programs. The AAMB also set up its own Financial Systems that would allow the AAMB to manage its own contracts. In short, in 1994 Akwesasne took over all control and management of the labour market projects occurring in Akwesasne from Cornwall CEIC.
Our Partner organization the Akwesasne Employment Resource Center (AERC), was created as a joint venture project in 2009. The AAMB and Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe are two major contributors who continue to support the ongoing operations of the AERC. We also received support from the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne and Mohawk Nation Council of Chiefs to create a central resource center that would service the entire community and help our clients “Connect to the World of Work”.