Kahnawà:ke’s Economic Development Commission

Kahnawà:ke’s Economic Development Commission


Local news articles about FNRAEC Carpentry program
May 27, 2022

Sharing news articles about the First Nations Regional Adult Education Center Carpentry program, which had its first 6 graduates on Friday May 20, 2022.

Local program builds carpenters

MARCUS BANKUTI – gmbankuti@gmail.com
The Eastern Door

A new program in town has furnished a cohort of six carpenters, a win-win for Kahnawake youth in need of careers and local contractors who have been struggling to hire skilled workers.

“We’re trying to get our people back into construction because there’s nobody coming up,” said Chris Montour, whose company, Chris Montour Construction (CMC), was one of the businesses that provided on-the job experience to the program’s students.

“It helps us, contractors, in the near future because our guys want to retire, and we need someone to replace them.”

On May 20, the students celebrated their graduation from the 25-week program, which was delivered by the First Nations Regional Adult Education Center (FNRAEC) and funded by Tewatohnhi’saktha.

“Instead of me paying these guys to teach them, Tewatohnhi’saktha helped us to train them, and they paid their salary for six months, so I’m not paying guys out of my pocket to teach,” said Montour, who hired two of the

The program featured two days of in-class instruction each week and three days on-site. Most of the students are graduating into full-time jobs with participating contractors.

“There was a gap in skilled labour in the area of carpentry here in Kahnawake,” said Carina Deere, director of FNRAEC. “We felt we could develop a program and provide some skilled labour to the community.”

She noted how much the students matured over six months. “They started the program, and you could see that their confidence level was not very high. They were very eager to learn, but they were very unsure of themselves,” she said. “At the end, by the time it came to graduation, they’re walking with their heads up and very confident in what they’re doing.”

“I learned a lot of things,” said Kruze Montour, who had already been working for CMC for a short time when his boss encouraged him to try out the new program.

He appreciated the way the instructional portion of the program gave the students the chance to see projects through from beginning to end, including a shed they built.

“I’m kind of sad that it’s done, but at the same time, I’m glad,” said the 18-year-old. “I can get back to work full-time now. It went by fast.”

“They’re certainly much better prepared than they were at the beginning,” said Dave McComber, the program’s teacher, who taught carpentry for three decades at Kahnawake Survival
School (KSS).

Over the length of the FNRAEC program, McComber saw the students gain confidence in themselves and their abilities. “At first, they’re just kind of wondering, ‘What am I getting myself into here? Am I going to be ready
for this?’”

However, the in-class portion gave students the freedom to digest the basics in a lower-stakes environment. One of the first things they focused on was getting comfortable reading measuring tape. “With the cost of lumber
and materials being so much these days, you don’t want to be making mistakes with simple measurements,” said McComber.

He hopes word will spread about the program’s success and that it will get a chance to continue. “There’s always something to build,” he said. “Everybody’s always looking for carpenters. Porches, sheds, renovations – there’s always work.”


Six students graduate from FNRAEC, Tewatohnhi’saktha carpentry program

JORDAN STANDUP – jordans@kahnawakenews.com

Six local students proudly graduated from a new carpentry program offered by the First Nations Regional Adult Education Center in Kahnawake and Tewtohnhi’saktha last week.

The 900-hour, 25-week Carpentry Work Study Program began last September and the six students who successfully completed the program were acknowledged for their efforts during a ceremony
at the FNRAEC on May 20.

The graduating students included Curry Delaronde, Logan Delisle, Rahentétha Delormier, Roskennakehte Tye Kirby, Joseph-James McGregor Diabo and Kruz Montour.

Instructor Dave McComber, along with FNRAEC Director Carina Deere, and Tewatohnhi’saktha Director of Workforce Development Angie Marquis were hand to present the students with their certificate of completion and share some encouraging words.

Local construction contractors who worked with the students during the program also attended last week’s ceremony.

McComber commented that he watched a steady progression of confidence in the students throughout the program.

“Confidence from the beginning to now is certainly a lot higher. It’s been a steady progression; you see it in their walk and their talk,” McComber said of his eager students.

The students spent two days in the FNRAEC workshop with McComber and then spent the remainder of the week working with local contractors. McComber would visit the worksites to check in with the contractors and see firsthand how the students were applying what they learned in the workshop on the job.

The students also had two Kanien’kéha classes with Watshenniiostha Diabo and two French classes with Isabelle Amengoua each week.

The two teachers praised the students.

“They’re a great group of guys. I treat them like family because they are,” Diabo said.

“They really enjoy the program and also the French class. French is not an easy language to learn so there’s a certain approach you need to have,” said Amengoua, who added that all of her students had marks in the 90s.

In addition, the students also constructed a small shed, from start to finish, at the FNRAEC. McComber chose a shed because he said it was like ‘building a small house.’

“They installed the windows, the door, the siding; the whole deal,” he said.

Earlier in the program, the students were assigned smaller projects, such as sawhorses, McComber noted.

“They had to put things into action right away,” he said.

At the start of the program, each student was issued a new tool belt complete with new tools, including safety glasses, tape measures, 20 oz framing hammers, helmets, tri-squares, speed squares, and utility knives, among other things.

FNRAEC announced last fall that it was teaming up with Tewatohnhi’saktha to offer a new carpentry program to Kahnawa’kehró:non.

“Tewatohnhi’saktha provides training opportunities to develop our workforce and to meet the needs of our business community, together with the First Nations Regional Adults Education Center we were able to do just that! Students were placed with local contractors to gain experience and future employment in this industry! Congratulations to all our graduates,” Tewatohnhi’saktha said.

Deere said FNRAEC jumped at the opportunity to collaborate with Tewatohnhi’saktha to host this program ‘because there are none like it in the community right now.’

“We tried to put something together to fill that void,” she said. “I talked to one of the contractors here in town and he spoke about the gap of nonskilled labour in the community, so yes we jumped at this right away