by Heidi Riley
Paul Langdon, Strategic Initiatives Officer, with Ulnooweg, spoke at the recent 2022 Atlantic Canada Aerospace & Defence Association (ACADA) Sea to Sky Conference in Brudenell about solutions to the current labour shortages.
Ulnooweg is an agency that delivers federal government business development programs such as business services, tools, and loans to meet the diverse needs of Indigenous clients across Atlantic Canada. “Labour challenges will be around for a long time,” says Paul, who points to a solution: build partnerships with the Indigenous community.
Ulnooweg focuses on entrepreneurship, business funding, community fisheries, and strategic initiatives. In addition, they have created the Ulnooweg Education Centre, which is developing pathways forward to get Indigenous youth into STEAM and innovation careers.
“The best way to get involved in the Indigenous community is to reach out and start talking,” says Paul. “Our message to the business community is to ask – reach out.
“If you don’t know who to reach out to, contact me and I will give you an introduction. Collaboration is very important to the Indigenous community, and their economic development officers are very open to speaking to the broader business community, but you have to make the effort to visit in person.
“Build relationships, learn to understand the community, and develop partnerships. Clearly lay out the opportunities, and think about offering long-term, well-paying careers. Each community is unique.
“It is worth the effort. If you build a good relationship with the Indigenous community, they will be loyal, they will participate, and they make a good effort.”
Business leaders looking to be introduced to Indigenous economic development leaders in their community may email Paul Langdon at [email protected].