More than 500 new immigrants and businesses attend one-day networking event
The Regional Municipality of York today hosted The Gateway, York Region’s first Internationally Educated Professionals (IEP) Conference, bringing together hundreds of newcomers, entrepreneurs and local employers.
“Today’s event provided an opportunity for internationally educated professionals to learn and share with one another and connect with the business community,” said York Region Chairman and CEO Bill Fisch. “When employers are connected with this growing talent pool, York Region’s business community benefits through access to global business perspectives and international networks.”
The Gateway featured interactive workshops, keynote speakers and networking opportunities. Held at the Sheraton Parkway Hotel in the Town of Richmond Hill, the day was hosted by CBC News Toronto anchors Dwight Drummond and Anne-Marie Mediwake. Guest speakers included the Honourable Jean Augustine, Fairness Commissioner of Ontario and Idris Mootee, CEO, Idea Couture.
“Despite the high levels of education carried by many newcomers, it can be difficult to find and secure the right employment opportunities to apply their skills and knowledge,” said City of Markham Deputy Mayor Jack Heath, Chair of the Region’s Community and Health Services Committee. “As demonstrated at today’s event, when newcomers are connected with the businesses that need them there are many benefits to the individual, local community and local economy.”
York Region attracts talented and highly educated immigrants from all over the world, making it one of the fastest growing communities in Ontario. With 25 per cent of the aging workforce retiring in the next five years, newcomers will help address York Region’s labour market shortage and maintain its position as an economic and innovative leader.
“Whether you are an entrepreneur or looking to apply your international skills, experience and education to work for a local company, York Region has much to offer,” said City of Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti, Co-Chair of the Community Partnership Council. “By working collaboratively as a community, we can continue to create a welcoming and inclusive environment where all residents and businesses can thrive.”
The Gateway is one initiative developed under the York Region Local Immigration Settlement Strategy, which sets a long-term vision and priorities for the well-being of newcomers. The strategy was developed under the Local Immigration Partnership initiative and funded through Citizenship and Immigration Canada.
The strategy was developed with the advice of the Community Partnership Council, comprised of up to 25 representatives from various sectors, including community organizations, school boards, employer planning tables, local municipalities, police services and all three levels of government. As part of the strategy, Leading Change for a Stronger Community: Community Partnership Council Collective Action Plan 2012-2015 was also launched in June 2012.
“Many newcomers arriving in Canada have professional backgrounds including engineering, finance and accounting, and information technology to name a few,” said Stephen Lam, Director of Immigrant and Community Services, Catholic Community Services of York Region and Co-Chair of the Community Partnership Council. “As many newcomers are looking for work in their trained profession, today’s conference offered some practical and useful career advice to help them succeed.”
The Gateway is funded in part by Citizenship and Immigration Canada and Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities.
For more information on the York Region Local Immigration Settlement Strategy or today’s Gateway Conference, please visit www.yorkwelcome.ca
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Media Contact: Lisa Sposito, Community and Health Services, The Regional Municipality of York
905-830-4444 or 1-877-464-9675, ext. 4106 After-Hours Cell: 905-955-2533 firstname.lastname@example.org