OHSWEKEN – Managing directors Laurie Froman and Erin Monture, along with their staff, are in full-swing preparing for Grand River Employment and Training’s (GREAT) 25th anniversary celebration set for Friday August 25.
Froman, director of employment and training, and Monture, director of business operations, have been with the company for several years and complement each others’ skillsets perfectly as they oversee the organization and help members of the community train for school and employment.
“We call each other ‘Shake and Bake’,” said Monture. “I’m Shake and she’s Bake said Froman; we each do different things and really rely on one another to be successful.”
GREAT is a community-based not-for-profit organization specializing in employment and training for Onkwehon:we of Six Nations, but also serves any Ontarian seeking training.
“Any Ontarian looking for work can come to GREAT and use our services,” said Froman. “GREAT is for any individual in Ontario, any age, gender, or background seeking training for school or employment.”
Established in 1992, GREAT provides funded training, career services, apprenticeship programming, and more for the community. Its slogan is “Opening doors to Our People”, and it expresses GREAT’s philosophy to help community members attain their personal growth and reach success, however each of their individual successes may look.
“We partner with Service Canada, and a lot of our funding comes from them,” said Monture. “They tell us every year how many individuals our team here at GREAT needs to see return to school or find employment — and that’s how they measure our success or how well our team is doing.”
Monture and Froman both agree that success is much more than simply re-entering and finishing school, or finding employment. And they hope one day to be able to show Service Canada that an individual’s personal growth is sometimes more important than simply being another “tick-box” to check off.
Both directors feel that there are a lot of community members who don’t fully understand exactly how the services offered at GREAT can benefit them.
Clients can come to GREAT seeking to complete their highschool or receive their GED, and the friendly staff at GREAT will help them on their path to receiving it. GREAT can also set up new graduates with possible employers and help teach them important interviewing skills, on-the-job training, and more.
“Once training is completed we have the programming and ability to approach possible employers and say ‘If you hire this individual, we [GREAT] can possibly pay their salary’ — which many employers appreciate,” said Froman.
“Also, if a client is hired by say, a welding company, and needs supplies, boots, or tools, we can offer the client up to $500 to help prepare them for their first day — and it doesn’t need to be paid back.”
Monture said that a large part of the GREAT experience is to make sure the employer, client, and rest of the team are a good fit.
“Our staff here is very involved with a client even after becoming employed,” Froman said. “We follow-up with the employers and ask for reports and updates, and do what we can to make sure things continue to work out.”
Both Froman and Monture agree that what keeps them going and working so hard is seeing how it benefits the people in the community. GREAT is hosting a 25th anniversary party on Friday August 25 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the atrium at GREAT located at 16 Sunrise Court in Ohsweken.
“There’s going to be door prizes, free food, success stories, cake, tours, music from Jukasa Radio, information about GREAT for our clients, and more,” said Monture. “It’s going to be a lot of fun and a great way for the community to see what GREAT has for the community.”