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Learn for Empowerment Program

Three people walking through the green Quad.

Cree Spirit Name: Kiskeenohamahso Cheenahkeekahkehdah Wehneedahmann

The university’s Community Consultation Summary Report on Truth and Reconciliation outlines the university’s commitment to increase the number of Indigenous staff.

As an employer, this means embracing Indigenous faculty and staff, and increasing Indigenous representation across all levels of the campus. 

We’re pleased to introduce a new initiative designed to help address systemic barriers faced by Indigenous candidates, while increasing the representation and retention of Indigenous staff at the university.

Please note that in August 2021, the university announced that it would begin a renaming process to reconcile the legacy of Egerton Ryerson for a more inclusive future. To learn more, visit Next Chapter.

Toronto Metropolitan University's Learn for Empowerment program is the first of its kind at a Canadian university and provides a model to address some of the systemic barriers for Indigenous people to access quality employment at the university. The program is a 12-month paid work experience opportunity designed to provide Indigenous participants with work experience to enhance their employability through skills-building, hands-on learning and professional development.

The program was an idea developed by Tracey King, Indigenous HR Lead. Tracey has been at the university for over 10 years and brought this program to fruition based on her experience and understanding of common systemic barriers faced by Indigenous candidates in the hiring process.

The program was initiated with an Indigenous framework which is trauma informed and culturally safe for Indigenous participants to learn and work at the university with a wrap around support system both western and most importantly, Indigenous led.

The program was developed using a community-based model. In addition to the 12-month contract which includes salary and benefits, participants will be able to:

  • Apply existing transferable skills, Indigenous knowledge, lived experiences or Indigenous ways of knowing to gain hands-on experience within the education sector.
  • Engage in meaningful work to continue to develop transferable skills in combination with their uniqueness, diverse identities and backgrounds.
  • Receive mentorship, coaching and career counselling. 

Through completion of the program, participants will be well-positioned to compete for opportunities at the university or elsewhere.

Various departments across the university will host participants for a 12 month paid opportunity.  During those 12 months, participants will become part of the host department and gain meaningful work experience through engagement in tangible projects in addition to applying existing transferable skills, Indigenous knowledge and their lived experiences to gain hands-on experience within the post-secondary education field.

Please note proof of COVID-19 vaccination is a requirement in order to participate in the program. For more information, visit Vaccinations Information for New Employees.

Summary of positions available



Community Safety and Security

For those with an interest in community engagement.

Chang School of Continuing Education

For this with an interest in providing administrative support for a university’s programs.

Facilities Management and Development

For those with an interest in real estate, project management, energy or sustainability.

The Fashion Zone

For those with an interest in entrepreneurship, innovation, design and technology and supporting indigenous entrepreneurs.


For those with an interest to learn more about all that the library has to offer.   

Office of the Vice-President, Administration and Operations

For those with an interest to learn more about the programs and events that the office supports.

Each opportunity will include:

  • an onboarding plan where participants will learn about the department and understand the responsibilities of the work they will be doing over the next 12 months; and  
  • working closely with colleagues and make a meaningful impact to the overall goals of the department. 

More details about the specific responsibilities of the position will be shared during later stages of the selection process.

Please email Scott Sunday, Indigenous Program Coordinator if you have any questions. 

Priority will be given to Indigenous individuals who live in the Greater Toronto Area and have not been successful in obtaining employment because of precarious work situations, having been underemployed, may not have a formal post-secondary credential or direct work experience in higher education.


  • March 14 to April 1: Candidates submit their applications.
  • April 1 to April 15: Interviews take place and successful candidates are notified. 
  • April 18: Program start date and full-time positions begin 
    • A meet and greet with the Learn for Empowerment program team during this week
  • April 25: Welcome Ceremony 

Support for leaders of participant departments 

Leaders in participating departments attend an orientation session that outlines:

  • roles and responsibilities for program participation;
  • examples of effective coaching and development;
  • overview of program policy, logistics, and confidentiality. 

Department leaders will also be provided with ongoing training opportunities to ensure active involvement and learning. This will include cultural awareness and safety training.

Traditional teachings by Knowledge Keepers and Elders will also be provided throughout the program. 

About Scott Sunday, Indigenous Program Coordinator 

Scott Sunday, Indigenous Program Coordinator, for the Learn for Empowerment Program is both Cree and Ojibway. He belongs to the Bear Clan. The Bear Clan is responsible for protection and healing. His home (First Nation) community is Beausoleil First Nation also known as Christian Island off Lake Huron in Southern Georgian Bay. With twenty years of experience in the non-profit sector working with the Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres and Friendship Centres throughout Ontario, Scott brings extensive culturally-safe Indigenous programming experience and knowledge as well as a considerable amount of participation in Indigenous ceremonies and teachings. 

Scott welcomes any questions from prospective participants and can be reached at: or by phone at 416-979-5000, ext. 552641.

How the program received its Spirit Name: Kiskeenohamahso Cheenahkeekahkehdah Wehneedahmann

During program development, Tracey King, Indigenous Human Resources Lead, presented Joanne Dallaire with tobacco virtually and invited her to provide a Spirit name for the program. Joanne is the university’s Elder (Ke Shay Hayo) and Senior Advisor, Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation and gifted the program with a Cree Spirit name: Kiskeenohamahso Cheenahkeekahkehdah Wehneedahmann.

 (audio file) Listen to the Cree Language Translation of Learn for Empowerment (opens in new window) .