Wednesday, August 12, 2020
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Staff Profiles

Andrea Hajt Jacobs
Employment Services Coordinator

I was born and raised in the city of Toronto, spending summers and holidays in my home community of Sagamok Anishnawbek.  I attended elementary and secondary school in Toronto, and was often the shy quiet one.  My ability to adapt to academic information is what led me to being a peer tutor since kindergarten.  Not wanting to be the shy quiet one forever, I made sure that I engaged every opportunity to get involved in what was happening in my community so I could develop awareness, self-confidence, and assertiveness.  I graduated grade 12 when I was 17 and moved to Thunder Bay to attend the Aboriginal Law and Advocacy Program.  I continued to volunteer with student Council activities and I believe that it was these experiences of forcing myself to get involved that have set the foundation for who I am today.  I also believe that my extensive volunteer base has opened up a multitude of opportunities for my personal and professional development.  I have had numerous jobs in my life, but only had to endure two job interviews, as most of my jobs were offered to me, because of my contacts through volunteering in my local community.

I credit my most awesome parents who always supported and encouraged me to strive for excellence while helping those around me.  My mother instilled a strong sense of family and charity, and my father instilled a strong sense of excellence in my work, and pride in my Anishnawbek culture and values.  It is all of these values and life experiences that made me sure that I eventually wanted to move home to Sagamok and work for my people. 

I am also especially thankful to the Centre for Indigenous Sovereignty and the Negahneewin College of Indigenous Studies, who have been key supporters of my personal and professional development. 

As the Employment Services Coordinator, my role is to oversee the Employment and Training Department and staff, ensuring that we are consistent and compliant with the requirements of our many funders and partners.  The Coordinator develops and submits proposals and reports for funding of our many projects and activities, aligns the work we do with the strategic priorities of the Sagamok Anishnawbek community and leadership, as well as general labour market demands, works with training partners to coordinate training projects, oversees administrative processes to ensure Quality Service provision, and plans, coordinates, and delivers group training projects and employability skills development activities. 

I am truly grateful for all the experiences that my life and work have brought me to, and for the opportunity to work in such an integral part of our peoples’ development and nation building.  I look forward to being able to continue my own learning to support the development of a strong Anishnawbek Nation.


Biography for Paulette Owl


I would like to give you more understanding on how I got to where I am today in my career.  I have the pleasure of coming from a great family that has always been supported in all ways.  My mother showed me very important values in my raising by ensuring that we were always taken care of and teaching us responsibility and concern for others.  My father was always working long hours to help the family financially.  We were not considered rich money-wise, but I believe we were rich in other ways.  I will always be grateful to both my parents for what they have shown and taught me.

I must admit that it did take me longer than the usual student to complete my high school.  As I got older, I was always putting my education aside to get part time jobs to help bring that little extra in to the household.   I was frustrated with the idea of going to school every day and not feeling like I was getting anywhere but to the detention room.  By getting the small jobs, it helped bring some money for our home, yet it was not what I really wanted to be doing.  I wanted the feeling of showing others that I was smart and I could help others and myself.  By this acknowledgement, I knew that I had to change my understanding and tolerance towards education.  After having a very serious conversation with my mother, I did know that I would have to “bite the bullet” and complete my education to get anywhere in my life.

I always enjoyed talking to the variety of staff members at different places.  They always seemed to be helpful, and knowledgeable and efficient in what they were doing.  I had done a placement in high school at the Guidance office at EHS.  I also worked through the Futures program as reception/teacher’s aid at St. Mary’s Catholic School, in Massey.  I enjoyed working with all the different staff and the children.  This helped me decide that I wanted to work in an office setting.  I decided I did not want to be stuck in the rut of part-time work and not being qualified for any job that I was excited to do.  I pulled up my roots and moved to Elliot Lake to complete my education, having been told that I was no longer “accepted” as a student in EHS due to my truancy.   I must also mention at this time that I wish that I had stuck to my guns, and stayed in school.  I may have gained some work experience but I now believe I would have saved a lot of time by competing my schooling right away.

When deciding what I “wanted to do” as a career, I did a lot of debate on where I wanted to be in my life by the time I was 40.  I wanted to be able to walk into any office setting and be able to work.  I wanted others to see the skills I had and now I needed the education to prove it.  I did not want to lose the learning skills or study ethics I had gained upon returning to school. After finally gaining my High School Diploma, I immediately enrolled myself into Cambrian College of Applied Arts & Technology. 
I worked very relentlessly and received a diploma in General Administration and also in Administrative Assistant through Cambrian. I completed both programs in 2 years instead of the regular 3 years.  I did this through a great amount of personal determination and emotional support from my family.

I haven’t made it there yet, age wise, but I am still always trying to improve my career path.  I had my education but did not know where to go next in my career.  I moved to the United States for approximately 10 years, where I worked in different office settings doing duties from part-time receptionist at a non-profit organization, to working with an organization that produces refurbished and new tractor parts.  I decided to move back to my community when I came to visit my parents and realized that I was too far away to assist them in their elder years.  When I returned to Canada, I worked 2 years in customer service as a food and beverage server at Tim Horton’s in Espanola, between the births of my two sons.  I found a quick job, which helped bring money into my household, yet did not help me on my career path.  I decided to leave this job and stay at home to raise my children and make ends meet until I could figure out how to get back on my path.   I worked at the Sagamok Bingo to help make ends meet.

I was given the chance to show my work skills and gain additional experience for on the job training through accessing AHRDA funding.  I did a placement at the Sagamok Development Corporation, formally known as Saulteaux Enterprises, in the employment offices as a Compliance Intake Officer Trainee.  Through this placement and showing my understanding of the office, program criteria and strong work ethics, I have been given the pleasure to further utilize my skills by gaining employment as the Monitoring & Intake Officer at the Sagamok Development Corporation. 

Working as the Monitoring & Intake Officer, I assist members wishing to access employment and training programs and services.  Undergoing a general intake of information with my office starts this.  The Client Intake process helps collect relevant information and is the initial information gathering process intended to assist with gathering of statistical data to assist with determining the needs of an individual in relation to their career and employment goals. 

The Client intake process begins with the member contacting my office whether by telephone, written correspondence such as by email, fax or mail or in person, where I commence the client intake through in person interview.

During the initial contact with the client, the Intake and Monitoring Officer must ensure completion of a Client Data Form, Consent to the Release of Information Form, Contact IV Client Information and Needs Assessment Tabs and a Client Intake Form.  Employment Insurance Eligibility Verification is conducted immediately following the client intake to help determine which funding is more appropriate for the request.

When all paperwork is returned to the office and verification is completed, I forward the request to Marie, the Career and Employment Counsellor, where Marie will continue with processing.

I really enjoy the feeling of having accomplished something at the end of the day, whether it is by completing an assignment or task, or just helping someone else with beginning the decision to find their career path.

I am very joyful that I am working within my career path and will access more knowledge and skills through training seminars and upgrading to assist others.