This image used with permission from Kenton Letkeman and was found in the Digital Saskatchewan collection, 2011

In addition to being one of the partners in the Aboriginal Employment Development Agreement, Cumberland College is the primary educational partner participating in the Aboriginal Skills and Employment Partnership (ASEP) Fort-a-la-Corne Employment Development Partnership (FCED) initiative announced by the federal government in February, 2010. 

The goal of this Agreement is to prepare Aboriginal people for the labour market demands of the Pehonan hydro dam, as well as other labour force initiatives in the region and beyond.  This initiative has a $15 million budget. Human Resource Services Development Canada (HRSDC)is allocating 50% of the budget, the remainder is realized through in-kind contributions. The deliverables are 600 individuals assessed for training programs, 500 individuals enrolled in programs, and 300 individuals employed as a result of the programming. Training will continue through the 2011-2012 academic year.  Programs have been primarily delivered in the Melfort/James Smith area.  Cumberland College has delivered skills credits programs such as Carpentry, Welding, Electrical, Natural Resource Technology, Office Education, Professional Cooking, Heavy Equipment Operator, 1A Truck Driver Training,and Safety Training.  In addition, the College has delivered programs in GED Preparation and Classes 7 and 5 Driver’s License Preparation.  For 2011-2012, the College will deliver a slightly smaller program calendar including Carpentry, Industrial Mechanics, Welding, Cook Upgrader, Safety Training, GED Preparation, CompTIA A+ and Networking Preparation.

Brookfield Renewable Power and its partners, the James Smith Cree Nation, Peter Chapman Cree Nation, the Chakastapaysin Band of the Cree and Peter Kiewit Sons Co., announced May 13, 2010 that an agreement has been reached with SaskPower to launch the feasibility stage of the Pehonan Hydroelectric Project, located on the Saskatchewan River. The feasibility stage will determine the project’s economic viability from a technical and environmental perspective. This stage could take up to four years, including completing the environmental assessments and, if successful, would enable the project to proceed to the development and construction stage. Should the project proceed to the construction stage, a partnership between Kiewit and the three First Nations will engineer, procure and construct the project.

Development of the project would increase Saskatchewan’s installed renewable generation capacity by approximately 250 megawatts with proven clean technology. In addition, it will enable First Nations partners to be involved in the development and ownership of a long life power asset providing a sustainable benefit stream for future generations. A site, known as the 1981 axis, has been tentatively chosen on the Saskatchewan River near the James Smith Reserve approximately 80 km upstream from the Nipawin Hydroelectric Plant.  An estimated 500 to 800 workers could be needed during the construction phase.  The proposed dam would be built on the Saskatchewan River by 2015, creating as many as 2,500 jobs.