Ballad Group

Calgary Supply Chain Sector Benefits from new Strategic Training Partnership

BALLAD GROUP AND CITT ANNOUNCE STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP TO LAUNCH CAREERS IN SUPPLY CHAIN LOGISTICS CALGARY– Ballad Group has announced their newest formal partnership with CITT to design and deliver an innovative integrated training program that directly responds to industry needs in Calgary, Alberta. The Fundamentals of Supply Chain Logistics (FSCL) program will focus on preparing participants for meaningful employment in the rapidly changing supply chain sector. Over two years, 96 unemployed Albertans will have the opportunity to participate in a 12-week in-class training program and complete a 4-week work placement with one of Ballad’s industry partners. This unique learning experience ensures program participants are job-market ready. Graduates of Ballad’s Fundamentals of Supply Chain Logistics program earn the Canadian Transportation & Logistics Fundamentals MicroCredential and two credits (Logistics Processes and Transportation Systems) towards the CITT-Certified Logistics Professional (CCLP) designation. “CITT is very excited about partnering with Ballad in this new micro-credential. The opportunities to fuel job growth and nurture the logistics sector in Alberta are enormous; Ballad is well-positioned to deliver this credential in ways that make positive changes in Alberta communities and build industry. We look forward to working with Ballad to realize both of our organizational mandates.” -Pina Melchionna, President & CEO, CITT “A foundational component of our business model is strategic partnerships. We are thrilled to launch this partnership with CITT and expand Ballad’s service offerings in the Calgary region. Our FSCL training program will help many Albertans obtain employment in a growing sector of the labour market.” -John Corie, Managing Partner, Ballad Group The Province of Alberta is working in partnership with the Government of Canada to provide employment support programs and services that are free to qualifying participants. ABOUT CITT  CITT is industry’s most valued and respected source of complete, career-long learning and career-path development open for everyone who buys, sells, or manages the flow of goods and product, or is impacted by supply chain logistics. CITT provides: Professional certification in logistics (the CCLP designation) –  Logistics and business management courses –  Industry’s top-rated annual Canada Logistics Conference –   SCL Webinar Series – Professional SCL Talent Pool — CITT learning and professional development offerings are all affordable, accessible online and have the best ROI in the business. Visit the CITT website at for more information. CCLP® is a registered trademark of CITT. ABOUT BALLAD At Ballad Group, we work with learners, businesses, rural municipalities, and Indigenous rights holders to achieve their goals, seize opportunities, and create a positive impact. Through our training and consulting services, we combine our experience, knowledge, and strong relationships to empower people, solve challenges, and foster sustainable outcomes.

Women Inspiring Women.

Meet Karis Goodswimmer. Karis is a member of Sturgeon Lake Cree Nation and currently lives in Edmonton with her five-year-old daughter, Isabella. Karis is also a recent graduate of the Ballad Foundations in Hospitality Training Program for Indigenous Youth. Karis credits the many women role models in her life and throughout the program in helping her reach her goals. Karis Goodswimmer’s daughter, Isabella. Before joining the program, Karis worked as a shop hand in a metal shop and had dreams of being a millwright. Like many Albertans, she was devasted when she was laid off as a result of COVID-19 in the spring of 2020. Karis was motivated to apply her skills and interests in a new field of work to support her daughter, but she wasn’t sure where to start. In the summer of 2020, her mom and biggest supporter tagged her in a Facebook post promoting the new Ballad hospitality training program. “I didn’t think that I would need it but I called and inquired anyways. Cathy answered and to my surprise, she wanted to have an interview with me. At the time, I had been at home for two months, doing nothing and feeling depressed… So, I decided to attend the interview. I had nothing better to do. I didn’t know what to expect.” Karis was invited for an interview with Cathy Gagne, an Employment Specialist at Ballad. “I was greeted by the happy and bubbly person, that I know as Cathy. Throughout my interview, I wanted to be professional and friendly but then my interest was sparked. It reminded me of my dreams of becoming a General Manager.” Karis was accepted to the program and was joined by a group of Indigenous youth seeking a career in the hospitality industry. The first day of the program started with a grounding ceremony, and knowledge sharing led by Dr. Patricia Makokis.   “The first week was so interesting, meeting Dr. Makokis and her husband, Eugene, it made me so overwhelmed with pride that I was proud to be Indigenous and made me want to be more in touch with my heritage. I went home and cried because I found a piece of me that was missing.” Karis talked about the inspiring women in the program and in her life that encouraged her to pursue further training and to reach her career goals. Most notably, Karis has three women in her life that inspire her and that she looks up to: her mother, Haley Wickenheiser, and Cathy Gagne. Karis Goodswimmer. “My first role model is my mother. She is the strongest most resilient person I have ever met.  The second is Haley Wickenheiser. She’s a hockey player, Olympian, and a doctor. She is really everything I want to be; there’s nothing she can’t do.  And finally my mentor Cathy at Ballad. She has really changed my life. When I first met her she was this ball of sunshine, and she radiates positivity. She inspired me to be so much more than I thought.” After graduation, Karis decided to apply her new employment and essential skills in a rewarding job with Alberta Health Services. Karis continues to be inspired by the women health practitioners she works with. She’s even considering going back to school to pursue a career in medicine.  “COVID-19 made me learn about myself, in a way that I wouldn’t have before. I believe that everyone has a life path, I am now on mine.” COVID-19 has impacted women disproportionally to men. As the sole caregiver for her daughter, Karis is determined to keep making choices so that she can be a role model and inspiration for her daughter. “I feel like being a woman, and an Indigenous woman, in a man’s world is a big challenge. Yes, it’s hard but it won’t stop me from achieving my goals. My life is different now, I feel like I can do anything and all because of this program.” The Foundations in Hospitality Program for Indigenous Youth is funded by the Government of Canada’s Youth and Employment Skills Strategy. Photos by Ray Watkins. 

Essential Skills to Success: A Participant’s Experience

We chatted with recent Essentials Skills to Success Training participant to learn more about her experience in the program. Tell me about yourself.  I am a 20-year-old woman, who had very limited education and struggled with addictions and mental health concerns also. How did you hear about Ballad Training?  I knew several people that had been in the program who told me that it would be a great opportunity for me to gain skills that would help me achieve my goals. Why did you join the program? Because I was ready to start expanding on my experience and wanted to have a support system that could assist me in achieving the things that I really wanted to do but was unsure of how to get there. “I LEARNED HOW TO TAKE RISKS AND TRUST MY STRENGTHS AND BE CONFIDENT IN MY ABILITY TO LEARN NEW THINGS.” Tell me about your training experience? It was fun and informative, I got to learn a lot of things about my skills and talents that I would not normally get in a traditional workplace. I learned how to become more assertive and self-confident in my abilities. I learned how to take risks and trust my strengths and be confident in my ability to learn new things. What did you gain from the training program?  I was able to take my GED and successfully pass it while in the program which was a huge barrier to me. I got to take driver’s training which gave me the skills to pass my Class 5 GDL, I got the opportunity to reach my financial goals that I needed to so that I could also do the GED program while maintaining attendance. I was able to secure employment through connections that I made in the program. I was able to be proactive with my mental health and encouraged to obtain counseling and all other supports. What were some of the challenges? Being pushed to break out of my comfort zone and to work and share in a group setting. Being pushed to realize my potential and not letting fear win. “I LEARNED HOW TO BECOME MORE ASSERTIVE AND SELF-CONFIDENT IN MY ABILITIES.”