Successful crossing, The Potential and Promise of Bridging Programs
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Successful crossing, The Potential and Promise of Bridging Programs

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Metropolis Conference 2013, Workshop D5

Metropolis Conference 2013, Workshop D5

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  • The Windsor Star reported on the Internationally Trained Professionals conference that was held on March 6, 2013. They note more than half of newcomers who arrive in Canada have a bachelor's degree but have struggled to find employment in their fields.  While employment bridging programs have been successful, more needs to be done. Canada will need to get serious about helping immigrants integrate into the Canadian workplace because they will be needed to re-energize the Canadian economy, according to Glen Hodgson, chief economist with the Conference Board of Canada. In order to maintain a two per cent economic growth, Canada will need to absorb 350,000 immigrants a year by 2030Presentation Overview:-Providing Context to demonstrate the need/values of Bridging Programs in a Global City-Identifying Critical Components/Key players involved in the design & delivery of Bridging Programs-Highlight our findings on current capacities & constraints associated with the design, accessibility & delivery of bridging programs-Concluding with some Promising Practices to consider to ensure Internationally Educated Professionals are connected to sector-appropriate employment
  • Newcomers are the source of the majority of new entrants to the labour forceForty-three percent of this new immigrant population was highly educated; 29.8 percent had a Bachelor’s degree, 11.6 percent a Master’s degree and 2.2 percent with a Doctorate degree. The province has strengthened investments in postsecondary education and in employment and training programs to help Ontarians, including newcomers to the province, gain skills, acquire credentials and find work in the knowledge economy.
  • Above are the key players we have identified are crucial to both the design and delivery of bridging programs. Today, at least 3 of those perspectives will be highlighted.Research Methodology:In 2010, Toronto Workforce Innovation Group received funding to examine best practices of providers of bridging programs in the Greater Toronto Area. Researchers conducted over 20 interviews with front-line providers of sector-specific bridging programs. Our intention was to:1. Explored what skill sets and competencies are most effective for staff to possess to provide appropriate support to IEPs; 2. Revealed where and how bridging programs might provide additional support to IEPs in their jobsearch and;3. Identified constraints and conducive factors at the organizational level and on the greater systemiclevel (including government, funding bodies, employers and other relevant stakeholders) that affecthighly skilled IEPs in their search for commensurate employment
  • Capacity to deliver bridging programs depends on several ingredients: the availability of funding; the sector or industry-specific expertise of either the program delivery agency or, even more important, the staff or instruction in the program; the involvement of employers; the collaboration and partnerships that underpin the programThe longer a program has been in existence, the more clients they are serving. For example, the Ontario Tourism Education Council, OTEC, has seen 720 people in the last 2 years.As clients may come from a multitude of backgrounds, a program that has flexibility in delivery is highly valued. The ability to customize or vary an approach may help participants succeed.
  • Resources, especially adequate resources are a huge constraint, many programs never know from year to year whether they will be able to offer a bridging program. As this is the major vehicle for integrating IEP’s into the workforce, the lack of sustainability and dependability is an issue.Respondents in all jurisdictions mentioned the lack of funds leading to the inability to plan programs and retain adequate staff.
  • Employer engagement - programs that engage or involve employers in all aspects of program delivery are successfully attaching newcomers to commensurate employment.Networking and collaboration – effective networking and high levels of collaboration among and between agencies and other stakeholders improve programs’ success.Staff skills and training – staff who are experienced in and knowledgeable about the specific sector the program targets are central to ensuring a bridging program is meeting client needs.Program models – although there are a variety of program models that provide sector-specific bridging programs those that have a combination of mentoring, coaching, practicum or internship and employer engagement are the most successful.
  • employers are demanding specific skills sets and that they match the industry – employer involvement in all aspects of program planning and development ensures that some participants will either find jobs at the end or have an in-depth awareness of the industry. The more information a program participant has about the specific-sector, the better they are positioned to find employment. The more industry-specific a program is, the better the outcomes for the clients.
  • Ensure that the programs and services providing bridge training are connected and effectively serving clients by maintaining employer relationships, exploring and creating meaningful partnerships and collaborations; a local Toronto model is CASIP, the Consortium of Agencies Serving Immigrant Professionals. This group, comprised of over a dozen agencies and colleges, is working together to engage employers. They are developing a collective database for job postings, and working together to share best practices. Across Canada, research respondents stressed the importance of networking and collaboration, ensuring a working relationship with other institutional bodies to implement bridge programming.
  • The type of model a college, university or community employment agency is utilizing in their bridging programemerged as central to the program’s success. A number of notable models were identified through theinterviews. We would like to emphasize 3 prominent models. Among all three academic institutions (colleges & universities) adopted both comprehensive and holistic models. While local agencies in alliance with a Consortium of Community Based Agencies are adopting partnership models for bridging programs.1.ComprehensiveModels used to serve targeted audiences and/or organizationsEx. Global Experience Ontario (GEO, is a one-stop centre offering a rang of services to help IEPs certify2. HolisticVariety of models used to serve a diversity of audience and organizations, Examples include:-Existing Mainstream graduate certificate programs with good outcomes used as technical core for bridging programs and integrating language skills training and employment search from EO centres-EO newcomer settlement and bridging programs used to create mainstream graduate certificate programs (eg. UFT Phyisotheraphy)-Train the Trainer (ToT) model, used by a training-centered Tourism organization to train settlement agency workers to understand the sector as a realistic employment sector for IEPS3. Partnerships & CollaborationsFormalized relationships and agreements between agencies ranging from: Job development and industry connections;Partnering for language program expertise; andPartnering for a mentoring component Examples include,-CASIP’s collaboration with other networks groups such as TESS-Mentoring partnership(sponsored by TRIEC) is a successful network encompassing 12 agencies and colleges that match mentors with mentees across different sectors in the GTA-**Maytree’s ‘Assisting Local Leaders with Immigrant Employment Strategies’ (ALLIES), focuses on replicating a networking model across Canada to create job opportunities According to an ALLIES Respondent: this collaboration is dedicated to capacity building and supporting local efforts in Canadian cities to “successfully adapt and implement programs that further the suitable employment of skilled immigrants.” The structure relays upon a multi-stakeholder network that includes ALLIES, Immigrant Councils across Canada, and other local partners implementing bridging programming. Speaking with various others (Edmonton, Halifax), many noted the impact of the ALLIES model in the program models being adopted and implemented by their organizations. This is definitely a model being adopted, adapted and tweaked to suit local needs across Canada (eg. in 2007 no bridging programs existed in Calgary, in 2009 landscape significantly changed as result of ALLIES mentorship and involvement in the region) . Some of the specific activities ALLIES’ relationship with partners across Canada has included: TRIEC established in 2003Providing Direct Mentorship ie. colleague mentoring, once a month teleconference program to share and learn from one anotherSharing Tool Kits and Resources ie. ALLIES ToolKits to Bridging ProgramSupport knowledge sharing, communication, program developmentConnecting Immigrants to EmployersThis model is proving the successful, and reinforces the need for networking and collaborations among key players for effective program delivery.
  • BC – bridging programs driven by industry rather than licensing body or governmentMore dependent on temporary foreign workersFocus on:Trades – welders, electricians, plumbersRural rather than urbanResource-based economy Integration with regional workforce planningBC, Immigrant Employment Council – similar model to TRIEC in Toronto but more focused on connecting with employers
  • Conclusion:The bridging programs in Ontario that are working to connect IEPs with employment in their professions are, for the most part, an important resource. While success is mixed, the majority ofthese programs are helping highly qualified professionals contribute in a meaningful way to theCanadian economy. However, more work is required on the part of all key players to ensure IEPs are connecting to sector-appropriate employment.Companies that are successfully recruiting, hiring and retaining highly qualified foreign trained professionals are thriving in an increasingly global marketplace.To learn more about our research on Bridging programs and on Toronto’s labour market visit our website or contact: Karen@workforceinnovation.ca

Successful crossing, The Potential and Promise of Bridging Programs Successful crossing, The Potential and Promise of Bridging Programs Presentation Transcript

  • Successful Crossing:The Potential and Promise of Bridging Programs PANEL PRESENTATION, METROPOLIS CONFERENCE- MARCH 2013 1 ACCES Employment, Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration, & Toronto Workforce Innovation Group
  • Economic Context• International immigrants are the most significant source of migration to the Greater Toronto Area. In 2012, the GTA welcomed close to 85,000 newcomers. Predictions are for close to 110,000 by 2015.• Main sources of immigration are from China, India and the Philippines.• Ontario has recognized the need for economic restructuring, placing more emphasis on education and skills training.• Policies and practices that ease newcomers’ labour market integration are crucial to future economic growth and prosperity.• Sector specific bridge training programs are important element of Ontario’s strategy to capitalize on the abilities of highly educated 2 newcomers.
  • Critical Components LOCAL EMPLOYMENT AGENCIES ACADEMIC GOVERNMENT INSTITUTIONS BRIDGING PROGRAMS CONSORTIUM OF REGULATORY COMMUNITY BODIES AGENCIES EMPLOYERS 3
  • Capacities • Local Agencies provide awareness and overview on labour market information DESIGN and sectors • Post-secondary institutions provide technical education and training • Local agencies are providing online pre- ACCESSIBILITY training for highly technical programs to address language and cultural barriers • Job developers & Program Managers are DELIVERY facilitating unlimited coaching support to IEPs 4
  • Constraints • Lack of Employer Engagement to incorporate DESIGN experiential learning • Different funding models used by local agencies vs. post-secondary institutions • Rising demand for programs continually exceeds organizational capacity & services ACCESSIBILITY • Lack of clear and centralized information on programs forces IEPs to ‘shop around’ • Job developers & Program Managers lack DELIVERY knowledge & skills to deal with cultural nuances 5
  • Promising Practices• The following contributed to a positive program outcome for clients: 1. Employer engagement 2. Networking and collaboration 3. Staff skills and training 4. Program models 6
  • Employer Engagement• Involving employers in all aspects of program development• Providing post-program support• Ensuring there is a clear market need for the sector-specific skills and knowledge• Including practicums, co-op placements, internships• Mentoring, speed mentoring, mock interviews 7
  • Networking and Collaboration• Share and learn what models are working well and how they address IEP needs in sector-specific bridging programs.• Promote collaboration to prevent or minimize duplication and overlap. 8
  • Staff Skills and Training• Deliver comprehensive orientation sessions before programs begin to accurately and clearly outline the intent of a program. This will help staff to manage expectations of IEPs so that they can plan for life in Canada.• Sector-specific bridging programs must teach ‘soft skills’ to IEPs as part of their journey to successful integration into the Canadian workforce.• Make sector-specific information available to staff in addition to general labour market information• Programs that employ staff with sector-specific knowledge and experience report good outcomes for clients 9
  • Program Models COMPREHENSIVE HOLISTIC To serve targeted To serve a diversity of audiences and/or audiences and organizations organizations PARTNERSHIPS Formalized relationships and agreements between agencies 10
  • Across JurisdictionsB.C.IMMIGRANTEMPLOYMENT COUNCIL EDMONTON REGIONAL IMMIGRANT EMPLOYMEN IMMIGRANT T COUNCIL SETTLEMENT & INTEGRATIO TRIEC N SERVICES ALLIES
  • Diversity and Inclusionare Business Enablers 12
  • Thank You Sue Sadler ACCES Employment ssadler@accesemployment.ca Benilda Silkowska-Masior Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration benilda.silkowska-masior@ontario.ca Karen Charnow Lior Toronto Workforce Innovation Group karen@workforceinnovation.ca