This spring, the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LiUNA) Local 837, based in Hamilton, ON, will be leading an Aboriginal training-to-employment program in southern Ontario. Over six weeks, the program will offer skills training and union membership for 16 members of the nearby Six Nations of the Grand River and the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation (MNCFN) communities. Whether they’re hard skills or soft skills, they’re all valuable tools of the trade. “It’s a pretty intense six weeks,” notes Nick Ciccone, training director with LiUNA Local 837. “There’s a lot to learn, both theoretical and practical—and it definitely opens the door to opportunity.” The 16 participants will learn a wide variety of hard and soft skills—including oxy-acetylene cutting and burning; health and safety certification; forklift, skidsteer loader and mini excavator operation; chainsaw safety; hoisting and rigging; and standard first aid—along with introductory pipeline-specific training, such as ground disturbance, cribbing and fencing. “It’s a win-win for everybody involved,” says Ciccone. Enbridge is sponsoring this one-time Aboriginal training-to-employment program with LiUNA, as we’ve done with similar initiatives in the past.