03/26/2012 11:06 EDT | Updated 05/26/2012 05:12 EDT

Saskatchewan, First Nations to work together to improve aboriginal education, jobs

SASKATOON - The provincial government and the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations are joining forces to improve First Nations and Mètis education and employment in Saskatchewan.

The announcement was made Monday at the FSIN Youth Assembly in Saskatoon and targets youth living on-and-off reserve.

Rob Norris, minister of Advanced Education, Employment and Immigration says the task force will work with First Nations leaders to eliminate gaps in the education system.

Rita Bouvier, research writer and community learning facilitator, Don Hoium, executive director, League of Educational Administrators, Directors and Superintendents of Saskatchewan, and Gary Merasty, vice-president corporate social responsibility of Cameco are on the task force.

The panellists will focus on several goals, including higher graduation rates, improved early childhood outcomes and better participation in the work force.

Their report should be done by 2013.

Norris says it will help the government decide its future investments.

"We need to identify the barriers, we need to identify the best practices," Norris said.

"And not just asking conventional questions, but also 'how can we better connect learning opportunities with earning opportunities?"