Mi’kmaw non-profit connects Indigenous youth with jobs of the future

News release

Government of Canada helps Cape Breton organization maintain training in trades and STEM

November 10, 2022 · Membertou, No’pa Sko’sia (Nova Scotia) · Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA)

Atlantic Canada’s First Nations population is one of the fastest growing and youngest in Canada, with a median age of 33. Despite this, research shows that only 1.5 per cent of people working in Atlantic Canada's digital industry are Indigenous.

The Mi’kmaw Economic Benefits Office of Nova Scotia (MEBO) plays a crucial role in addressing this underrepresentation. Through leadership and programming, the not-for-profit encourages Mi’kmaq youth in Unama’ki/Cape Breton to pursue careers in trades and Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) and gives them the professional and technical skills required to obtain well-paying jobs.

Supporting collaboration between community, government, and industry

Today, Jaime Battiste, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Member of Parliament for Sydney–Victoria, announced a non-repayable contribution of $823,721, through ACOA’s Regional Economic Growth through Innovation (REGI) program, to the Mi’kmaw Economic Benefits Office of Nova Scotia. The announcement was made on behalf of the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Official Languages and Minister responsible for ACOA.

This contribution is helping the non-profit support operational costs over the next two years and maintain key staff positions. These staff oversee the delivery of training in trades, as well as the Pathways in Technology Early College High school program (P-TECH). In addition, they help connect Indigenous post-secondary students to the labour market.

Today’s announcement further demonstrates the Government of Canada’s commitment to encouraging Indigenous involvement in economic development, creating good opportunities for Indigenous youth and diversifying Canada’s workforces by engaging underrepresented groups. 


“The Government of Canada is working together with Indigenous-led organizations across the country to support high-quality career training, create job opportunities and build valuable partnerships. By supporting the Mi’kmaw Economic Benefits Office, we continue to foster collaboration and are investing in the future of Indigenous youth in Nova Scotia.”

- The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Official Languages and Minister responsible for ACOA

“The Mi’kmaw Economic Benefits Office gives Indigenous people in Unama’ki the knowledge to get the high-quality jobs they want, and the skills Cape Breton needs. They are also helping build workplace diversity, and educating employers on the importance and value of that diversity. Today’s announcement will ensure MEBO has the tools and resources needed to continue their important work, and help Indigenous youth and communities thrive.”

- Jaime Battiste, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Member of Parliament for Sydney–Victoria

“We are pleased by today’s announcement as it demonstrates the value the federal government places on investing in Indigenous-led community economic development. Our board leadership, comprised of the five Unama’ki Chiefs and Councils, knows MEBO’s program initiatives are about preparing the next generation for new technology and a new business future by equipping them with the right tools, training and mentoring opportunities.”

- Alex Paul, Executive Director, Mi’kmaw Economic Benefits Office of Nova Scotia

Quick facts

  • The Mi’kmaw Economic Benefits Office (MEBO) has been delivering successful career and business-support programs to all five Mi’kmaq communities in Unama’ki/Cape Breton since 2008. Its programs have resulted in the creation of over 1,200 jobs.

  • MEBO identifies opportunities for entrepreneurship and business expansion, increasing the number of Indigenous-owned businesses in Atlantic Canada.

  • MEBOs board of directors is comprised of the Chiefs of the five Unama’ki communities: Potlotek, Eskasoni, Membertou, Wagmatcook and We'koqma'q.

  • MEBO works with a wide range of partners in the private and public sectors to maximize the employment opportunities for Indigenous communities. MEBO offers a variety of programs and services for Indigenous peoples and communities.

  • Participants in the P-TECH program gain experience through mentoring, paid internships in STEM and can interview with IBM upon completion. 

  • MEBO’s partnerships with the Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC) and the Atlantic Trades Business Seals Program, trains Indigenous youth to work in trades and gives Indigenous journeypersons the skills to own and manage their own business.

Associated links


Marianne Blondin
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Official Languages and of the
Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Lauren Sinclair
Director of Communications
Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Alex Paul
Executive Director
Mi’kmaw Economic Benefits Office of Nova Scotia

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