YMCA Aims to Educate Employers as Workplaces Evolve

Since 2017 the YMCA of Greater Saint John has welcomed newcomers from 35 countries, and more than 120 newcomer clients have been hired in the Saint John Region.  It’s no secret that the labour market is becoming increasingly diverse.

The YMCA of Greater Saint John is working to lead by example. By providing high quality and industry leading training, the Y is leading the way when it comes to Cultural Intelligence.

“We want to not only be an organization that promotes a positive and dynamic work environment, but we also want to support our community to ensure our region is a place where everyone feels welcome and belongs,” explained Shilo Boucher, President and CEO at the YMCA of Greater Saint John.

Ellen Tucker owns Freedom Tours and Travel, and the office in uptown Saint John has grown by three employees this year — all of whom are newcomers to Canada. Diversifying the workforce has changed the way Freedom Travel does business, as well as the future of New Brunswick’s tourism industry.

“It’s been really good for us, a wonderful experience,” said Tucker. “We’re learning a lot, as are they.”

In May, Freedom Travel went to an international travel industry conference. Tucker explained how they would normally attend in the hopes of gaining contracts for two or three years in the future, but this year, they left with immediate business. Tucker’s new team was able to connect with Chinese delegates and sell New Brunswick to them as a tourist destination.

With new Canadians entering the workforce throughout our region, organizations need to be equipped to handle diversity in the workplace.  Through the Y’s Cultural Intelligence Training, companies like NB Power are already seeing the benefits.

“The Y’s training helped our staff learn about different customs and beliefs, and how we can help blend ours with theirs to make newcomers feel welcome,” explained Stephen Tayes, Work Methods Safety and Training Coordinator.  “The session helped us re-align our expectations of those values so that the newcomers can be successful and happy working with us.”

Tayes said that Cultural Intelligence Training made a difference for the NB Power team.
“We have had a very positive experience with a new employee that could just as easily have been a disaster,” he said.

To date, 373 people have taken Cultural Intelligence Training, but the Y wants to see that number grow.

“It is a mandatory training for our team at the Y because we have seen first-hand the benefits of becoming a more diverse and socially inclusive workplace,” said Boucher. “Employers must invest in the training and tools that will enable them to work more effectively across cultures.”

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