Employment program helps newcomers to Red Deer

Central Alberta Immigrant Women’s Association connects employers and immigrants

Immigrants to Red Deer are adding local jobs to their resumes thanks to a job placement program offered by Central Alberta Immigrant Women’s Association.

John Contois, job developer with the program, said 10 of the 11 newcomers in the fall class found job placements, but participants are not always that lucky.

“We do not have enough businesses to continuously guarantee participants a placement. It would be nice if we had a larger portfolio of businesses interested in participating to help our people achieve success,” Contois said.

CAIWA has run the Youth Employment Success Strategy Program (YESS), sponsored by Service Canada, for six years. Open to new Canadians, both men and women, participants must be 18 to 30 years old with the necessary English language skills.

The most recent class graduated Nov. 28 after 8 weeks of computer classes, Canadian cultural training, advanced English classes and job skills development. They will complete their 12-week job placement in the new year.

Service Canada pays half the newcomer’s salary during job placements.

Contois said YESS match newcomers to employers based on people’s training and education. CAIWA is not interested in businesses just looking for money to help pay a salary. It’s about helping newcomers find a career, and CAIWA will work with employers to help newcomers fit into the work environment.

“We’re really looking for businesses that believe in the program, that might consider keeping the people and working with us. The program is both for the newcomers and the employers.”

He said several newcomers in the most recent class had bachelors degrees and higher education, including one woman who worked in an English hospital in India. She found a job placement at a local medical clinic.

“She had the medical terminology and skills that were transferable, but many of the people that have licensing and certification in other countries, they come to Canada and those qualifications are not recognized.”

This fall marked the 15th YESS class in Red Deer. The program finds job placements for about 60 people each year. Some jobs found through YESS become permanent for newcomers.

He said the goal is to place people within months of their arrival.

“Through our classroom and through our placement they become more employable than average, than if they had not any experience in Canadian employment.”

Assisting newcomers sooner rather than later helps them participate in Red Deer in life, he said.

“If people don’t integrate into the community quickly then they kind of languish and become isolated.”

Businesses that want to offer a placement to a new Canadian can contact CAIWA. Newcomers interested in attending the next class should apply before February.


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