FabLab Onaki, the first institution of its kind for Indigenous youth, is receiving federal government funding to help it pursue its mission.

The Office of the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour has granted significant funding to the First Peoples Innovation Centre (FPIC), which operates the Fab Lab.

This educational institution primarily serves youth who have not finished high school. By using new technologies such as 3D printers, these youths build their self-confidence and the skills they need to obtain jobs.

The first cohort saw nine youth complete the program, a success rate of 75%, which compares favourably with similar initiatives in Canada, according to FPIC Executive Director Céline Auclair.

It’s a safe space above all,” explained Dr. Auclair. “It’s a cultural anchor. Many young people drop out of urban schools because they don’t see themselves in the institutions. It’s not their culture hung up on the walls and it’s not their history that’s taught in class.