Jan 16, 2017
By James Oloo
As is always a December tradition at Gabriel Dumont Institute, the Institute employees across the province held Christmas lunch to mark the end of the year, reflecting on the fleeting present and looking forward to 2017.
In Saskatoon, the lunch was held at Il Salici Ristorante at the Willows Golf and Country Club on December 16, 2016. The event brought together GDI Board members as well as employees from SUNTEP Saskatoon, Human Resources, Finance and Operations, Gabriel Dumont College, Publishing Department, Dumont Technical Institute, and Gabriel Dumont Institute Training and Employment. Human Resources Director Jim Edmondson was the MC.
Following the delicious meal, Gabriel Dumont Institute Board of Governors Vice Chair Glenn Lafleur expressed his appreciation to all employees and on behalf of the Board, wished everyone happy holidays.
Executive Director Geordy McCaffrey announced that the longtime Gabriel Dumont Institute Counsel Jack Hillson was retiring. Hillson was thankful for the opportunity to have worked with the Institute and said he will continue to follow the developments at Gabriel Dumont Institute.
Geordy then gave a well-received speech that highlighted successes of all Gabriel Dumont Institute companies during 2016. Some highlights are presented below.
Gabriel Dumont Institute Training and Employment had 859 interventions with 787 clients across all 12 Métis Nation—Saskatchewan regions. It’s GDI Aboriginal Apprenticeship Project has created a total of 356 apprenticeships jobs over the past two years.
The GDI Publishing Department rebranded its publishing operations to help refresh our brand and assist in obtaining long-term funding. This has led to the creation of Gabriel Dumont Institute Press. As well, the Publishing Department received critical success for Leah Marie Dorion’s book My First Métis Lobstick. The book won the 2016 Saskatchewan Book Award for Children’s Literature; and was shortlisted for Aboriginal Publishing Award, and Publishing in Education Award.
A total of 48 new teachers graduated from the Saskatchewan Urban Native Teacher Education Program. The total number of graduates to date is 1,206.
Gabriel Dumont College introduced two new programs at our Prince Albert Centre: Justice Studies program, and Practical and Applied Arts Program. A total 41 students enrolled in both programs. Although the programs are not funded by the Government of Saskatchewan, we continue to offer financial assistance to our Métis students. Further, the second cohort of the Master of Education program is scheduled to graduate in the summer of 2017.
Gabriel Dumont Scholarship Foundation (GDSF) awarded 356 scholarships to Métis students, a 21% increase from the previous year. For the first time in the Institute’s history, the total amount of scholarships awarded by GDSF exceeded $2,000,000. During the year, GDI partnered with Conexus Credit Union, Farm Credit Canada, Bradyn Parisian, and Leland & Shari Parisian Family to provide a total of 14 new scholarships to Métis students in Saskatchewan.
During the rear, the Institute had a total of 191 full time employees. Of these, 71% were women. At all GDI companies, women comprised the majority of employees. As well, 54% of the Institute Employees self-identified as Métis. GDI Training and Employment had the highest proportion of employees who are Métis at 81%.
Dumont Technical Institute had a total enrolment of 849 students, the highest in three years. DTI also delivered a total of 40 Adult Basic Education and Skills training programs, the highest number of programs it delivered in three years. Since January 2016, GDI Testing Services has delivered 438 General Educational Development (GED) exams across the province including 148 that have been delivered via the Institute Mobile Lab. This is 20% more GED exams delivered compared to last year.
Payments by Electronic Funds Transfer (ETF) have been implemented Finance and Operations, and these are increasing becoming popular among employees and vendors. Payment process time has significantly reduced. As Cory McDougall says, the main goal of Finance and Operations is to serve the staff, students and clients of the Institute. And as long as Finance and Operations is doing its work well, they are like a good officiating crew – nobody even realizes that they are there doing the job.
There was a tense moment when an employee lost his wedding ring. He was searching through trash when someone asserted that the ring had been found.
Non-perishable foods and $300 were raised for the foodbank at the staff Christmas lunch.