Five new positions have been created at the Yellowknives Dene First Nation’s economic development arm, bringing more leadership opportunities to members.

The Det’On Cho Corporation estimates the pilot project will cost around $1-million for three years. CEO Paul Gruner says the project wouldn’t be possible without the help of $300,000 from the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency announced Tuesday, as well as money from industry and the corporation itself.

Four out of the five positions have been filled and the focus now, says Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations Marc Miller, is on having these employees grow into leaders.

“They will be provided with upskilling opportunities and progression to leadership positions. These positions are in business development, community liaison and human resources.”

Chief of the community of N’dilo Ernest Betsina says while more money is always needed, he is optimistic this is one of the many small steps benefitting his community.

“We’ll have money to further our people with professional development that is going to be happening with our members, that’s encouraging.”

Det’On Cho Corporation has 800 employees, CEO Paul Gruner says, of which 600 are locals.