Schulich ExecEd Meets with Minister McNaughton and Newcomer Women’s Services Toronto About the Sister2Sister Advanced Leadership Program

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On Monday, October 3, Schulich ExecEd had the honour of accompanying Newcomer Women’s Services Toronto (NEW) in a meeting with Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development.   

The topic of discussion was the Sister2Sister Advanced Leadership Program (ALP), with participants detailing their experiences and the unique and interactive program structure. NEW received generous Ministry funding through its Skills Development Fund program earlier this year. 

“Immigrants make our province stronger and our culture richer. Our government is proud to invest in programs that give newcomer women the skills to find meaningful jobs in their communities, lead purpose-driven lives, and grow Ontario’s economy for everyone,” says Minister McNaughton. 

The Sister2Sister Advanced Leadership Program (ALP)

The Sister2Sister ALP is a skills development program that bridges the gap between employer needs and newcomer women’s skills. 

“We are thrilled that we have met with Minister McNaughton and his staff today. The Ministry’s generous contribution has allowed us to support 75 immigrant and refugee women through comprehensive skills and leadership development training, as well as offer them pathways to the Canadian labour market through paid internships and job placements. Our program has been a huge success. Its impact on our participants was featured in The Globe and Mail,” shares Sara Asalya, Executive Director of NEW. 

The centrepiece of the Sisters2Sister ALP is Schulich ExecEd’s foundations in Project Management certificate. This highly condensed certification provides go-to strategic market plans, employment readiness, career coaching and a paid internship through Schulich ExecEd’s robust partner network. Graduates earn a micro-credential from a top-tier Canadian business school. 

“Project management training is needed in every industry, and this was an opportunity to provide a skill that would benefit our newcomer women, helping them become confident and settled in our communities,” shares Sandi Martyn, a Schulich ExecEd instructor. “I met so many intelligent, courageous, dedicated and hard-working women. They valued their training and overcame every challenge to attend the sessions. It became so much more than project management training. It became a caring, supportive network of women—truly a Sister2Sister experience. We shared our stories and became friends and mentors to each other.” 

The Sister2Sister ALP is especially relevant today, as a recent study from the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC), titled “Bridging the Gap: Immigrant Women and Their Labour Market Integration in the GTA,” revealed that immigrant women in the Greater Toronto Area face persistent career barriers despite their qualifications. Around 51.2% of respondents considered their lack of Canadian experience a barrier to accessing the labour market, as many employers and recruiters required it. Additionally, between May 2019 to May 2020, the unemployment rate of immigrant women increased by approximately 7%. The increase for Canadian-born men and women was only about 4.5%. Furthermore, University-educated immigrant women experienced a considerable unemployment rate of 12.6% in May 2020, a shocking 7.3% increase from the previous year. Again, University-educated Canadian-born women experienced lower unemployment rates: about 5%, a 2.7% increase from the prior year.  

“This is why our program is focused on building leadership capacity for immigrant and refugee women while supporting their upskilling, upward mobility and economic integration, resilience, and advancement,” explains Sara Asalya. “The program represents a job pathway solution to channel immigrant women seeking employment, especially those who have been severely impacted by the pandemic and continue to face barriers to employment.” 

Through this program, Schulich ExecEd offers racialized newcomer women opportunities to (re)build their leadership capacity. Supporting these women’s upskilling, upward mobility, and economic resilience is in line with our own goal: to enrich and diversify the Canadian labour force for the benefit of all.  

Schulich ExecEd’s Commitment to Diversity 

Over the years, Schulich ExecEd has delivered leadership development and skill-building programs to over 80,000 professionals and 500 top organizations. We have designed over 160 customized development program plans for approximately 250 clients across Canada and the world.  

At the crux of our success is a dedication to diversity and opportunity-giving. Our programs are as wonderfully diverse as the organizations we partner with, from government, NGO and private sector companies to newly minted start-up businesses. This diversity brings richness to every program. It creates an opportunity to learn from those with different identities, experiences, and organizations, allowing new perspectives on how to approach leadership and solve organizational and societal challenges. 

“At Schulich ExecEd, we help organizations build and foster an inclusive, diverse, and equitable workplace culture with a strong emphasis on promoting and developing equity deserving groups. We are incredibly proud to be a part of the Sister2Sister Advanced Leadership Program in partnership with Newcomer Women’s Services Toronto to help immigrant women transition into the job market and develop a successful career in our community,” says Rami Mayer, Executive Director of Schulich ExecEd. “We are thrilled to meet with Ontario Minster Monte McNaughton. Our vision is that together, we can provide the right tools and skills to help a historically underrepresented group in the Canadian labour force kick start their Canadian careers and thrive in our economy.” 

What The Future Holds 

Since the Sisters2Sister ALP launched in the Summer of 2022, Schulich ExecEd has helped create direct pathways to the Canadian labour market for 75 immigrant and refugee women, seeing more than 84% of the pilot program graduates securing employment in line with their previous skills. We look forward to growing our partnership with NEW and the Sister2Sister project.  

With continued support from the Ministry of Labour, Immigrant, Training and Skills Development, and a clear and evolving directive to uplift and integrate historically underrepresented groups into the Canadian economy, this project has incredible potential to deliver impact and create a sustainable and equitable path for newcomer women in Ontario and beyond.

 

For more information or to enrol in the Sister2Sister Advanced Leadership Program, check out this page. All photo credits go to Newcomer Women’s Services Toronto (NEW).

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