News Release: Connecting newcomers to jobs - Province of BC
Monday, December 19, 2016

Government is investing more than $630,000 to find new ways for refugees and immigrants to join British Columbia’s growing economy.

Minister of Social Development and Social Innovation Michelle Stilwell announced the funding today for three projects directed at increasing immigrant and refugee employability in partnership with MOSAIC BC and the Immigrant Employment Council of B.C.

MOSAIC is receiving $443,000 for two projects. One is a Project-Based Labour Market Training program based out of Delta. ‘Fast Track to IT’ will see up to 28 immigrant job-seekers receive paid training to work as information systems analysts through classroom instruction and on-the-job work experience with local employers. It will give a group of newcomers a chance to gain new skills in the Lower Mainland’s tech industry while offering local businesses a crop of trained and motivated employees ready to step into jobs with the tools they need to succeed.

Another project with MOSAIC will test a new approach to providing unemployed refugees with employment services. ‘Hope to Work’ will provide two groups of 15 clients in two sessions, one in English and another in Arabic, with a ‘hope-centred’ approach to their search for work. This approach was developled by the Hope-Centred Career Development Group, which includes UBC professor Norman Amundson, as a way to inspire jobseekers in their career development. It provides a framework of essential career competencies to help job-seekers learn the key skills for taking control of their career development. The employment outcomes of these 30 clients will be compared over two years with the outcomes of 30 other immigrant clients receiving regular WorkBC employment services. This study will examine whether or not using the hope-centred approach to employment is beneficial to immigrant clients.

MOSAIC is a non-profit organization providing extensive settlement and employment services to newcomers and refugees, including translation, learning English, workplace training and counselling. It operates the North East WorkBC Employment Services Centre in Vancouver and co-operates the Fraser Works Work BC Employment Services centres in Burnaby and New Westminster. 

Government is also providing the Immigrant Employment Council of BC. with more than $186,000 for the Mapping Refugee Skills and Employer Needs project. This labour market partnership will focus on developing employment opportunities for refugees in Surrey and Abbotsford by creating and examining skill profiles of those clients while engaging local employers to identify barriers faced in hiring refugees. A final report will include strategies to connect employers to the refugee talent pool in the two regions. The outcome will give businesses a better idea of the available talent brought by refugees while also giving service providers more knowledge of barriers that need to be overcome in order to connect refugees to jobs.

The Immigrant Employment Council of B.C. is a not-for-profit organization that provides employers with solutions, tools and resources they need to attract hire and retain qualified immigrant talent.

Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation funding for the three projects is provided through the Community and Employer Partnerships program, which funds projects that increase employability levels and share labour market information.

Community and Employer Partnerships are featured in B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint and provide support to people who are struggling to gain a foothold in the job market. The program also helps build stronger partnerships with industry and labour to connect British Columbians with classroom instruction and on-the-job training, while making it easier for employers to hire the skilled workers they need – when and where they need them.

To date, nearly 1,400 job seekers have benefited from work experience and more than 250 projects have been funded throughout the province.

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Source: The Province of British Columbia