JEDI and IBM Partnership Creates New ICT Opportunities for Aboriginal People in NB

 From left to right: Oliver Cloud, Julianna Peter-Paul, Erin Leaman, Jake Saulis

From left to right: Oliver Cloud, Julianna Peter-Paul, Erin Leaman, Jake Saulis

A group of 5 talented Aboriginal Mobile App developers from New Brunswick recently joined IBM as Information Technology Specialists at the IBM Client Innovation Centre in Bedford, NS.

Oliver Cloud, Erin Leaman, Cindy Mallery, Julianna Peter-Paul and Jake Saulis are recent graduates of JEDI’s Mobile Application Development (MAD) program that was part of the New Brunswick Aboriginal Information Communications Technology (NBAICT) project at JEDI. The MAD program was designed by the Collège Communautaire du Nouveau Brunswick (CCNB) in collaboration with JEDI.

“We are excited that 5 of our graduates have moved onto a large company like IBM,” said Alex Dedam, President of JEDI. “These students, from First Nation communities across the province, have devoted themselves to learning during the school year and we are proud to see all of their hard work pay off. We have worked closely with the IBM Client Innovation Centre during this time and it is exciting to see that a large IT company is interested in our graduates.”

The 5 new IBM employees graduated on March 24th and just 3 short weeks later they had moved to a new city, in a new province to start their new jobs.

“When I got the job offer from IBM I knew that I had to take it,” said Julianna, “people my age don't get this kind of chance very often. In fact, this time last year I never thought that I would be working for IBM and most days it still hasn't set in that I'm working here. I love the work environment, even though it's a huge company it still feels like a big happy family. I'm extremely grateful to my community (Metepenagiag First Nation) and JEDI for helping me on my journey to IBM. It was not easy but having support from my community, my family, and JEDI definitely helped me make it through the transition.”

Julianna and all of the grads have embraced the change with excitement and resolution. The move hasn’t been without its challenges but each of the students made the decision knowing that the opportunity would be worth taking. Some of them knew from the moment they met the team at IBM that their goal was to be an employee there.

“I had been following the first Mobile App class with great interest and when the second program was announced, I signed up right away,” said Erin. “I had been working in retail, and although I had a great job, I knew that it wasn’t what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. In June 2015 JEDI held a plenary and this is where I first met some representatives from IBM. They had set up a booth there and also held an information session for our MAD class. I knew then that I wanted to work for IBM in Bedford.”

 From left to right: Erin Leaman, Cameron  Russell (IBM), Lynn Clark (IBM), Michel Doucet (CCNB), Jean-Marie Pelletier (CCNB), Jason Tozer (JEDI), Julianna Peter-Paul, Cindy Mallery

From left to right: Erin Leaman, Cameron Russell (IBM), Lynn Clark (IBM), Michel Doucet (CCNB), Jean-Marie Pelletier (CCNB), Jason Tozer (JEDI), Julianna Peter-Paul, Cindy Mallery

IBM has been a fantastic partner for JEDI. The team at the Client Innovation Centre has given input on the MAD curriculum, helped the students with interview techniques and provided the students with a tour of the centre in Bedford before graduation. IBM has also been influential in the design of the current Big Data program put on by JEDI in conjunction with CCNB.

“At IBM Canada we have a vibrant and diverse workforce. It is what fuels our creativity and fosters innovation,” said Lynn Clark, Human Resources Partner, IBM. “We are proud of our Aboriginal Program and continue to build on our successes. In 2015, the Client Innovation Centre proudly began their partnership with JEDI and we look forward to continuing to grow this partnership in even bigger ways. Currently, we have 5 employees at the Centre who graduated from JEDI’s MAD program and we anticipate hiring more JEDI students in the future. The quality of the course instruction has proved to be an asset for IBM and the success of our new employees is a direct reflection of the value of our relationship with JEDI.”