Internationally trained professionals further their potential
YMCA hosts annual conference to provide support for global talent
Workforce WindsorEssex was a key partner when the YMCA of Windsor and Essex County and community partners presented its third annual Conference for Internationally Trained Professionals at Giovanni's Caboto Club, Tuesday, March 1.
The conference gathers recently settled newcomers from across the globe and links them with employers, developing local labour market awareness. In cooperation with existing government programs, the conference assists attendees in effectively developing and marketing their skills and experience. The overall goal of connecting internationally experienced people to Canada’s social, political, cultural and economic development is focused on throughout the day's delivery of workshops, networking and guest speakers.
According to the 2006 census, nearly 20 per cent, of the total population is foreign-born. Census projections indicate that by 2011, immigration will account for nearly all workforce growth. By 2013, it will account for the total population growth in Ontario. WFWE recognizes integrating immigrants into our workforce, leveraging their knowledge, skills and experience into our region as a priority.
This year, over 425 globally-skilled individuals attended the conference. Over 120 volunteers assisted in the delivery of YMCA's initiative to assist newcomers in the steps required for successful settlement. 80 community contributors lined Canada Hall with “opportunity booths” hoping to connect with global talent. Windsor Women Working with Immigrant Women, Women's Enterprise Skills Training, Multicultural Council of Windsor and Essex County, New Canadians' Centre of Excellence Inc., Unemployed Help Centre of Windsor Inc., South Essex Community Council, Windsor Toastmasters Club were some of the organizations on hand to promote opportunities, skill development programs and community activities.
In the afternoon, attendees followed their interests to various "Hot Topic" presentations. Content ranged from how to succeed at work to starting your own small business. Workforce WindsorEssex attended the highly anticipated Windsor-Essex Parkway Project presentation. Guest speakers Garfield Dales of the Ministry of Transportation, Pat Strickland, who represented the Parkway Infrastructure constructors and Michael Hatchell of the Windsor Essex Mobility Group (watch their video), gave an overview of the parkway, as well as the local jobs the project hopes to create.
The Parkway Project is part of a long-term transportation solution that will ensure the safe and efficient movement of people, goods and services through the Windsor-Detroit gateway. Design and construction of the Parkway will provide a sizable boost to both our regional and provincial economy, creating an estimated 12, 000 project-related jobs.
The upcoming job opportunities specifically mentioned were excavators, local and independent truckers, carpenters and iron workers for bridges and tunnels, landscapers, construction and field engineers, surveyors, utility relocators and designers. The highest number of workers will be in construction jobs, which will see 1200 to 1300 people working on site at one time.
To close the day, special guest speakers contributed success stories, delivering encouragement to the often challenging process of orientating an existing career path into a new country. Timothy Eric, who came to Canada in 2004, worked his way up from customer service at TD Canada Trust to branch manager. His advice to the audience was to use available community resources, like the YMCA's Program for New Canadians, and be open to opportunities that develop Canadian work experience.
"You need to have some Canadian experience," said Eric. "You need to overcome some language barriers. You need to understand the system here. What are the requirements for these jobs? I can assure you if you follow these things plus networking, you will be there one day."
As a result of the day’s networking an opportunity emerged for Lijuan Zhang, WFWE’s newly hired office administrator, whose skills in bookkeeping piqued the interest of executive director Donna Marentette.
“The goal of hiring an office administrator was not on my agenda for that day, but after being connected to Lijuan, we realized her talent wasn’t something we could pass up,” said Marentette.
To view more photos of the conference, click here.
WFWE would like to thank Michelle Suchiu, our Global Skills Specialist and journalism intern, Laura Berry for their contributions to the creation of this story and video. We'd also like to thank Ramza Saruna for photo contributions.
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