Since the launch of the Career Bridge paid internship program in 2003, over 1,700 skilled immigrants have gained valuable Canadian work experience consistent with their professional experience and education, with over 80% of interns landing full-time employment in their field post-internship.
At this evening’s Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC)’s 6th Annual Immigrant Success (IS) Awards, we are absolutely delighted to have the Career Bridge program recognized as the winner of the CBC Toronto Vision Award for Immigrant Inclusion. This award recognizes a unique initiative that breaks down employment barriers for skilled immigrants and has the potential to affect change beyond one organization, while also having a wider impact because of partnerships.
While we are very proud to be the recipient of this award, we certainly recognize that this could only have been achieved with the support of our many partners – host employers, community agencies and educational institutions – and senior business leader champions. We have also attributed the success of Career Bridge to the quality of talent and the supportive onboarding that is an integral element of our successful internship model.
One employer highlighted in the TRIEC IS Award video, the City of Toronto, has hired over 80 interns since 2003 as part of its HR strategy to reflect the diversity of Toronto’s communities. Through Career Bridge and related strategies, the City of Toronto is actively embedding best practices on the hiring and integration of skilled immigrants. Career Bridge is now active in 14 divisions at the City, all of whom keep returning to the program because of the quality of the talent it brings them.
Furthermore, Career Bridge has recently partnered with the Canadian Immigrant Integration Program (CIIP), a project that facilitates skilled immigrants’ transition to Canada by starting the process before they arrive. Career Bridge supports and accelerates CIIP’s efforts by virtually pre-screening their clients who are job-ready and Career Bridge-eligible. Through this relationship Career Bridge is able to tap into the CIIP client base to identify talent consistent with our host employers’ needs. Career Bridge has the capacity for national reach as a result of the partnership with CIIP and its community focal point partners. A number of CIIP clients have registered with Career Bridge and have found internships shortly after arriving in Canada.
Looking forward, we hope that more employers recognize and use the Career Bridge paid internship program as an effective hiring and retention strategy for qualified, global talent. With the continued and growing support of employers, Career Bridge will remain a sustainable and optimum path to permanent employment for internationally qualified newcomers.