Local 49 Partners with Native American-Owned Organization to Provide Training and Potential Career Opportunities

Pictured are Five Skies participants completing oiler training at the Local 49 Training Center

Local 49 recently partnered with Five Skies Training and Consulting, a Native American-owned organization specializing in providing training tailored to their local Native community, in providing career opportunities on the Line 3 Replacement project either through Local 49’s newly created permit system or through the apprenticeship program.

“Our involvement with Local 49 began back in 2018 when I was asked to administer a tribal trades training program in the Twin Cities,” said Nicholas Kedrowski, Owner and Managing Partner of Five Skies Training. “Through that program, I worked with about 12 different trades but was very impressed with Local 49 and their responsiveness to training requests, and so when this opportunity arose with Line 3, we were very eager to work with Local 49 to help our participants start a career.”

Jeffrey Oliver, a Five Skies participant, and a new Local 49 member, says that beginning a career as an operating engineer has been life-changing.

“I completed the training with Five Skies and then had the opportunity to do my first eight hours at the Local 49 Training Center, and this career really intrigued me. Through this program, I was able to start on the Line 3 Replacement Project as an oiler, but this career has already in a short time has allowed me to provide for my family in ways that I couldn’t before.”

Since May, Jeffrey has been working on the Line 3 Replacement project but is eager to return to the Training Center to receive more training and further his career.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to work with some great people who have given me some seat time in an excavator, but I can’t wait until I go back to the Training Center and get some seat time on all different types of machines to see which one really suite me,” he said.

Nyree Kedrowski, Owner and Managing Partner of Five Skies Training, said that the program’s goal is to provide career opportunities that may have not otherwise been there for members of their community and create a family environment.

“The first two weeks of the program, we really focus on mental health and to talk through our trauma and losses. That’s really where the connection begins because most of us have been through similar situations – this is how I found my own voice, and now I get to help others find theirs,” Nyree said.

“I love being able to provide an opportunity that would have never been there and giving them the tools to succeed. We really are a family, and when one member of your family succeeds – we all succeed,” she added.

Jeffrey stated that he had learned so much through his time at Five Skies and during his time working in the Local 49 permit process.

“I started with Northern Clearing but have been working for Precision for the majority of the time. In this job, you need to make sure you show up on time and show them that you’re there to do whatever it takes to get the job done – if you do that, you’ll move up quickly,” he said.

“I’m so thankful for everything that Five Skies and Local 49 has given me. Through this career, I’ve been able to secure a home and a car for my family and been able to provide them great benefits,” he added.

“We’ve had the good fortune to work with many Unions in our efforts to provide career pathway training to Native Communities. Our experiences with the Operating Engineers Local 49 have always exceeded the norm. They have always been responsive, courteous, and willing to go the extra mile whenever possible to make things happen. “said Nicholas Kedrowski.

For more information on Five Skies Training visit https://www.fiveskies.org/.