On June 1-2, the Business Network for Aboriginal Youth is concluding a highly successful first year, with a gathering in Millbrook First Nation to celebrate the achievements of the program’s first graduates. The program, which is an initiative of Cape Breton University’s (CBU) Purdy Crawford Chair in Aboriginal Business Studies, is exemplary of CBU’s commitment to excellence in Aboriginal post-secondary education. The two-year pilot program launched in March of this year and is believed to be the first of its kind in Canada.
“We are exceptionally pleased with the success of the program. The students were engaged, committed and most importantly passionate about their work. They were challenged throughout the program and each student excelled in his or her own way. Since the gathering in March, we have definitely witnessed a positive change in the students. They are more business minded and you can sense their excitement for the future. I am confident that these students will take what they have learned in the program and make a difference in their communities,” says Dr. Keith Brown, Purdy Crawford Chair in Aboriginal Business Studies, Shannon School of Business.
Through the emulation of positive peer role models, the program exposes Aboriginal secondary students to the array of career opportunities available through business education, while preparing them for the transition to university. Twenty-nine Aboriginal students participated in the program, with representation from 12 First Nation communities in Nova Scotia. Unique to the program is the use of Blackberry technology and social media platforms as the avenue for communication. Given that many of the students reside in rural areas of Nova Scotia, the technology allowed for all the students to easily interact with the Crawford research team, mentors and their peers.
The two day event in Millbrook will kick-off on Friday with a musical performance by award-winning Aboriginal hip-hop artist and journalist Wab Kinew. Kinew, who was named by Postmedia News as one of “9 Aboriginal movers and shakers you should know”, will also deliver a strong keynote presentation to the students on Saturday. Saturday will also be filled with various interactive and educational activities focused on social media and marketing practices.
“The feedback we have received from parents, mentors and school administrators is very encouraging, and I expect that next year’s program will deliver the same results. These young Aboriginal students have rewarding futures ahead of them, and I am proud that CBU is contributing to their success,” says Dr. Brown.
For more information on the Purdy Crawford Chair in Aboriginal Business Studies visit www.cbu.ca/crawford.