A Canadian employment council has recently launched the pilot of Connector—a networking program that brings skilled newcomers and Canadian business leaders together—in Toronto, the nation’s most populous city.
The Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC) said in a statement on February 24 that the program, originally founded in Nova Scotia in 2009, will facilitate 350 connections in its pilot stage.
The award-winning program, which has been replicated in 13 communities across Canada, puts internationally trained professionals (participants) who have immigrated to Canada in touch with well-connected leaders (connectors) who want to expand their networks with new talent. The program will make 50 participant-connector introductions in the pilot stage, according to the statement.
“Many skilled immigrants in the GTA [Greater Toronto Area] are still not getting work commensurate with their education and experience,” said Margaret Eaton, Executive Director, TRIEC.
Connector offers skilled immigrants the chance to expand their professional network. Once that first connection has been made, the connector goes on to introduce the participant to three of their contacts. The participant meets these contacts, who each then introduce him or her to three more.
“Through Connector,” Eaton said, “we want to support more internationally educated professionals to make those contacts that are essential to progressing in their careers. Expanding their networks should better situate them in the job market. We’re very excited to be piloting this program in the GTA.”
“Through Connector, we want to support more internationally educated professionals to make those contacts that are essential to progressing in their careers. Expanding their networks should better situate them in the job market.”
While Connector offers many advantages to immigrants, the volunteer connectors also benefit from signing up to the program, TRIEC said. Being a connector gives those industry leaders the chance to diversify their own professional networks, as they gain access to top-tier talent they may not find through traditional recruiting channels. Taking part also gives them the chance to pay it forward, supporting others just as they were once supported on the path to success.
“I am eager to be a Connector because I want to hire the best talent with the best international experience,” Peter Hawkins, a managing director at Mississauga-based Mellowhawk Logistics, was quoted in the statement as saying. “This program gives me the opportunity to connect with high-potential immigrant professionals, bringing value to my company and expanding both my client and supplier networks. Supporting skilled immigrants supports my bottom line.”
TRIEC said leaders in the GTA interested in taking part or promoting this opportunity are encouraged to visit triec.ca/our-initiatives/connector to reach out.
The pilot is funded by the Metcalf Foundation, a private family foundation, based in Toronto, dedicated to advancing innovative approaches to sustainability, equity, and creativity.