For Immediate Release
February 25, 2020
YMCA Newcomer Connections Hosts Employer Engagement Breakfast and Forum
Saint John, NB – YMCA Newcomer Connections is thrilled to have hosted the Employer Engagement Breakfast and Forum (EEBF) on February 25 at the Delta Hotels by Marriot Saint John. Members of the YMCA Newcomer Connections team met with 60 community stakeholders from 25 local organizations, including representatives of the business community, local government, social development organizations, and more, to spark meaningful conversation about the challenges faced by newcomers and businesses alike in hiring and retaining workers in this region.
Kathryn Melvin, Manager of Newcomer and Community Connections, commenced the morning’s forum by bringing up the looming social and economic challenges faced by the community of Greater Saint John.
"We’ve all heard the troubling statistics about aging and declining populations, staffing crunches, and more here in our province,” said Melvin. “But what can we do to offset these troubling figures? Part of the solution is welcoming immigrants into our province and communities, which is why we’re here today: to talk about newcomer employment.”
She then welcomed three guest speakers to the stage: Michael MacNeil, Business Faculty Advisor at the University of New Brunswick’s Saint John campus; Susan Wilson, Director of Immigration for J.D. Irving Limited; and Ayman Jaouni, Program Officer for Working NB, a division of the Government of New Brunswick. Representatives discussed their organizations’ experiences in hiring and retaining newcomers. This discussion included a detailed Q-and-A session
Immediately following the forum was a roundtable discussion between attendees about some experiences and potential challenges of working with newcomers, the data from which was collected by the YMCA to help shape its language and professional development programs for newcomers.
The final piece of the EEBF was an introduction to YMCA Newcomer Connections’ Cultural Competency Training, which is offered by Chris Squire, Social Inclusion Facilitator. Newcomer Connections offers this training to promote inclusiveness among professional organizations, allowing them the opportunity to reflect and examine their policies and practices to challenge the status quo.
“The YMCA is proud to take on this project,” said Shilo Boucher, President and CEO at the YMCA of Greater Saint John. “We strive to provide an inclusive community and this is a huge step to breaking down barriers and opening doors for newcomers to find success in Saint John.”
The EEBF is part of the three-year, federally funded Service Delivery Program, in which the YMCA helps newcomers better integrate into the Greater Saint John community by improving the accessibility and quality of settlement services as well as improving employer engagement to address workforce challenges. This program is intended to assist newcomers to find meaningful jobs in their desired sectors via language training, skills development programs, and exposing local employers to global recruitment opportunities.
About YMCA Newcomer Connections
Y Newcomer Connections currently offers sector-specific employment language training (SSELT) programs to help newcomers prepare for their first jobs in Saint John, some of which were formed in partnership with NBCC and the New Brunswick Department of Post-Secondary Education and Labour. These programs focus on three elements: employment language training, employment preparation training, and employer contact. These SSELT programs range from eight to twelve weeks in length and include a wide variety of professions: hospitality, childcare, facilities maintenance, housekeeping, truck driving, carpentry, and more.
For more than 20 years, YMCA Newcomer Connections has welcomed newcomers to the Greater Saint John community. As a leading community organization, Y Newcomer Connections assists immigrants and refugees with their settlement needs and helps to facilitate their integration and participation in the community. This includes offering a diverse range of programs and services to newly arrived immigrants, such as English language classes, employment readiness programs, Canadian cultural orientation, immigrant settlement and refugee resettlement assistance, and school readiness programs. With a multilingual team of more than 50 staff representing 11 countries, we make every effort to provide services in a client-centric manner that is inclusive and respectful of the rights, dignity, and diversity of all newcomers to Canada.
For more information on Y Newcomer Connections, please visit the website: www.ymcanewcomers.com.
Supervisor, Marketing and Communications