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Connecting Indigenous women to jobs—and each other 

Photo of three women sitting around a conference table working on a project together.

A United Way-supported employment program gave Amber the skills to land her dream job

“I went to school to be a medical office assistant, but I had trouble actually getting a job. Every time I saw one I was interested in, I’d be one of 500 applicants. I have good credentials and good skills, but there was just so much competition. I’m also Indigenous and that makes it harder too—I just felt like nobody wanted to give me a chance. I didn’t know what to do. 

But a United Way-supported employment program for Indigenous women not only helped me get my dream job, but it also helped me build a community of other women who share my culture.  

I absolutely loved every minute of my time there. For the first time, I was in a school that appreciated, respected and honoured me for being a woman and being Indigenous. I felt like I was exactly where I was supposed to be. 

It was so amazing to do mock interviews, resume critiques and even prep for our placements while being around Indigenous women every day, to share our stories and be ourselves. We could talk about where we came from and our history, eat bannock bread on Fridays, and walk through hallways that smelled like smudge. I felt like the school was specifically meant to help Indigenous women get from where they are to where they want to be. 

The instructors are Indigenous too and hearing their stories and seeing their success helped me imagine my own. I would remind myself that they’re just like me. When I was listening to their stories, I tried to remember that the only difference between me and them was that they never gave up. They were persistent. 

So, I learned to be persistent, too. With the support of United Way, I applied for jobs every day for at least a year, and eventually all those mock interviews paid off. I now work in my dream job as a medical office assistant at a hospital network in my city. It’s not just a job; it’s a reminder that I am a good person, I deserve good things and I’m not going to give up. Those are lessons I couldn’t have learned without United Way.” 

United Way program participant

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