What We Can Learn From Canadian Immigrant Employment Programs

imprint webinar post graphicLast week’s Imprint webinar highlighting Canadian models for supporting skilled immigrant employment was just as valuable as I had hoped.

There is so much we can learn from the Canadian experience that I’m still processing how to share it in Higher’s blog.

To get started, I will share the impressions of three readers who attended.  Stay tuned for more takeaway’s from the Canadian experience.

 US refugee employment networks can pick and choose parts of the webinar that are beneficial to refugees.  I plan to incorporate ALLIES Creating Impact Locally model with our skilled refugee professionals.

Here in Portland, Maine our refugee employment networks already utilize the Inter-governmental Roundtable model. The City of Portland, the Department of Labor, Adult Education, Community Colleges, the Chamber of Commerce and the Maine Hotel/Inn Keepers Association have been working together for the past 6 months about training and hiring skilled refugees to work in that sector.

Catherine S. Yomoah, Maine State Refugee Coordinator

Several points resonated with me as an employer.

I like the mind set of moving the employer toward the culture of the refugee versus only making the refugee more Canadian.  In my experience, hiring refugees is definitely a two way learning curve.

I like the concept and terminology of an Employer mentoring program as opposed to volunteer mentoring programs.  Employers will be sold on the benefits for them,  including identifying hidden talent and developing cultural competencies in their staff.

I’m going to think more about the term “artificial poverty” describing poverty that is driven by the system.

Harry Brigham, Former Subway franchise owner and employer of 70+ refugees in Baltimore, MD

The presenter mentioned employers as successful spokespersons for the value of our clients in the work place.  That’s something we are doing a bit through our refugee forum that creates networking opportunities between refugees and employers.

Sadly, I got pulled away right in the middle to follow-up on an unexpected job opportunity, so I’m looking forward to learning more from Higher.

Bonni Cutler, Employment Supervisor, Catholic Charities, San Diego, CA


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