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Do you know a Champion of Immigrant Employment? Are you one?

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If you answer yes, apply or submit a nomination for a TRIEC Immigrant Success Award, sponsored by RBC.

Nominations are now open for the TRIEC IS Award: RBC Champions of Immigrant Success. Up to four winners will be selected for: 1) their extraordinary leadership in immigrant employment; 2) the positive impact of their work on both skilled immigrants in the GTA and their own or other businesses; and 3) the sustainability of their initiative(s).

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The CEO Blog selected as favourite working life writers of 2013

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BrighterLife-Award-Working-Life_500pxThe CEO blog was just selected as one of the winners of the 2013 Working Life Award, presented by Sun Life Financial’s Brighter Life Likes! As Career Edge’s resident blogger, I am delighted to have our blog receive this recognition – what a great way to start a new year of blogging! I would like to extend a big “Thank you!” to the inspiring individuals and organizations that I have had the honour of writing about in 2013. Read on to learn more about the Brighter Life and our fellow award winners…

“Our mission at Brighter Life is to create and share useful information about the topics that matter the most to Canadians – their finances, health, families, careers. As part of that task, we track down good reading from reliable sources on the Internet and, each Friday, we share our recommendations in the Brighter Life likes column.

With the year drawing to an end, we have gathered our favourites for working life in 2013. We hope they will help encourage and inspire you to live a successful, brighter life. Check them out, and follow them on Twitter:

  • n-gen. Follow Giselle Kovary, a specialist in managing generational differences in the workplace:@ngen_training

The Cutting Edge to Great Talent. Guaranteed.

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As a result of its ongoing commitment to help highly motivated, well-qualified interns connect with leading Canadian employers, Career Edge is pleased to announce the launch of its new business model and service enhancements, planned to simplify the hiring and retention process for employers seeking top talent through paid internships.

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Career Edge celebrates 500 internships for recent graduates with disabilities

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Career Edge is celebrating over 500 interns placed through Ability Edge, a paid internship program for recent graduates with self-declared disabilities.

Ability Edge was launched in 1999 by the Canadian Bankers Association (CBA) along with five of its member banks (TD, RBC, Scotiabank, BMO, and CIBC) to increase the employment of people with disabilities (PWDs). In partnership with Career Edge, the CBA piloted an internship program for recent graduates with disabilities interested in working in the financial services sector. Since the official end of the pilot, Career Edge has continued to manage the program to provide meaningful work opportunities for PWDs pursuing careers in Finance, Marketing, Human Resources, Technology, Engineering, Business Operations, and more.

As the Ability Edge program grew within the financial services sector, the CBA and its member banks were quickly joined by a number of other leading organizations seeking talent with a diverse range of abilities. Many employers across the private, public and not-for-profit sectors have partnered with the Ability Edge program, including Deloitte, MaRS Discovery District, the City of Markham, the Ontario Ministry of Government Services, and Loblaw Companies Limited.

With the support of Career Edge’s internship model, employers provide inclusive and accessible workplaces that allow the interns they hire to gain meaningful work experience that aligns with their education and professional aspirations. As interns are given a foot in the door at reputable organizations, employers benefit from their qualifications and high levels of motivation while adding greater diversity to their workforce.

“At Deloitte we have set out to be recognized – internally and externally – as a diversity leader,” says Sarah Boon, Senior Manager of Talent Advisory at Deloitte. “We can’t do this alone, so our relationship with Ability Edge is very important.”

To help connect more new graduates with disabilities with employers like Deloitte, Career Edge maintains a number of strategic partnerships with organizations that share its commitment to supporting the employment of this group of talented new graduates, such as the Ontario Job Opportunity Information Network (JOIN).

As one of Canada’s leading organizations specializing in the recruitment of new graduates with disabilities, JOIN has strongly collaborated and supported Career Edge in promoting full inclusion of this talented group, and to provide expertise on disability in the workplace. As part of this partnership, Naguib Gouda, President at Career Edge, was recently appointed as a member of JOIN’s Board of Directors.

“We are incredibly proud to have made a difference in the employment of recent graduates with disabilities,” says Gouda. “Our partnerships with employers and like-minded organizations have significantly contributed to inclusion in Canada’s workforce, while creating over 500 successful, career-launching experiences in the process.”

Hands-on experience through internships can be the best of teachers

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Article republished from Canadian Immigrant:

Farhana Naznin, Career Bridge program internFor Bangladeshi-born Farhana Naznin, it was a bit of a shock to be asked if she had Canadian experience, especially since she had worked in Australia as a software developer. “Everywhere I applied, I was asked for Canadian experience. Just about when it was getting to the point that it was getting frustrated, I heard of the internship program at Career Edge Organization,” says Naznin, who, along with her husband, had studied in Japan and worked in Australia for three years before immigrating to Canada.

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“It is a wise business decision to consider paying your interns, and paying them fairly.”

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In the October 7, 2013 issue of Canadian HR Reporter, News Editor, Liz Bernier, spoke with Career Edge President, Naguib Gouda, about the unpaid internship debate that has once again heated up in the Canadian business community. As a follow-up to this story, HR Reporter produced a video that investigates the issues related to unpaid internships. In the video, Naguib outlines four key reasons why paying your interns is good for business:

1. Reputation and Ethics

Unpaid internships have a bad reputation. They can be seen as exploitative and even unethical, and businesses seldom want to be associated with either, risking their reputation and ethical standing.

2. Socio-economic Responsibility

Many people – including talented newcomers, persons with disabilities and recent university or college graduates – simply cannot afford to accept a job without pay. This is a concerning thought because it means that unpaid internships cut a significant population out of the workforce.

Organizations could be systematically filtering out the dedicated, hardworking candidates who have to financially support themselves. It’s our social responsibility to help these people find work that reflects their education and qualifications to allow them to be prosperous, successful and productive citizens.

3. Motivation

While we are aware that money isn’t the single most important form of motivation, compensation is still a factor in getting the best results from your employees. If workers do not feel that they are getting compensated fairly for the work they do, they may not be giving you 100%.

You get what you pay for. Top talent are willing to work hard to get that much-needed first experience, but you’ll get the most if you pay them fairly.

4. Retention

If you do bring on an unpaid intern, it may prove difficult to keep them. First of all, your unpaid intern may have to work a second job just to stay afloat – after a while they may find the balance too difficult.

Even if the person is being financially supported by family or loved ones during the internship, it may not be long before they start looking at job boards. Promises of potential paid opportunities “down the road” may not go very far either, as so many unpaid interns have been strung along by companies in the past, they may not take the bait.

The Ontario Job Opportunity Information Network (JOIN) Welcomes Naguib Gouda as Board Member

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The Ontario Job Opportunity Information Network (JOIN) has appointed Naguib Gouda, President of Career Edge, as a member of its board. This solidifies the organizations’ mutual goal of promoting bias-free hiring practices for persons with disabilities in Canada.

“The partnership with Career Edge means strengthening our ability to present strong talent to our Business Leadership Networks, subsequently finding sustainable employment for university students with disabilities,” says Dauna Jones-Simmonds, Executive Director of JOIN. “It also allows us to collaborate in ways that would earn us credibility and respect in the business environment, and to be more competitive in the marketplace.”

In 2006, Statistics Canada reported that people with disabilities were underrepresented in the workforce, a stark contrast to the greater percentage of people without disabilities who were employed. The study noted that 75 per cent of people without disabilities were employed compared to 51 per cent of those with disabilities. Career Edge and JOIN believe that this partnership can help increase the employment rate of persons with disabilities in Canada.

“JOIN is raising the profile of the talent that resides with our 26 Service Providers,” continues Jones-Simmonds. “As we embark on initiatives such as Virtual Career fairs that target university and college students, we believe that a partnership with Career Edge would help us to penetrate this environment.”

Career Edge has been a member of JOIN since December 2010 and has worked closely with the organization through its Ability Edge program to connect university and college graduates with self-declared disabilities with leading employers of all sizes through paid internship opportunities.

As President of Career Edge, Gouda brings C-level executive experience to the JOIN board of directors. His far-reaching background encompasses experience in senior executive positions with the Alzheimer’s Society of Canada, The Ontario Medical Association, York University and Manulife Financial. He has also been a senior volunteer with such organizations as- The Toronto Distress Centre, The Learning Partnership and The Schulich School of Business. Through his recently acquired board membership, Gouda will help strengthen the collaborative relationship between the two organizations.

“JOIN’s partnership with Career Edge reflects our shared commitment to removing employment barriers for graduates with disabilities. Our Ability Edge program gives employers access to highly motivated, high quality talent and is closely aligned with JOIN’s mandate,” says Gouda.

Career Edge celebrates 2,000 internships for IQPs

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Last week marked another milestone in Career Edge’s history, as the Toronto-based social enterprise celebrated the placement of its 2,000th internationally qualified professional (IQP) through its Career Bridge paid internship program.

Career Bridge was launched as a pilot project led by the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC) in 2003, and has since grown into an effective, low risk hiring and retention solution for leading Canadian employers.

“When [Career Bridge] started its work with immigrants, it was our hope that through internships many immigrants would find suitable employment,” says Ratna Omidvar, President of Maytree, the founding organization behind TRIEC. “Career Bridge has been instrumental in providing a pathway to employment for over 2,000 internationally trained immigrants.”

In collaboration with employers of all sizes, across the private, public and not-for-profit sectors, Career Edge facilitates the employment of IQP candidates in paid internship positions that complement their level of education and experience. RBC, Bell, St. Michael’s Hospital, City of Toronto, and the Ontario Public Service (OPS) are among the hundreds of companies that have leveraged the Career Bridge program to find well-qualified talent, demonstrating leadership in bias-free employment.

Participants of the Career Bridge program are those who have been in Canada for less than three years and have between 5 and 10 years of work experience abroad. Although they meet or exceed the qualifications for many job opportunities in Canada, a lack of Canadian experience has been a substantial barrier to employment for these job seekers.

Employers that offer meaningful work opportunities through Career Edge’s internship program for IQPs are committed to removing the “Canadian experience” barrier. This enables program registrants to compete for employment opportunities on a level playing field.

“As an internationally trained professional and a new immigrant to Canada, I faced a lot of challenges in my career planning, one of which was getting Canadian workplace experience required for engineering licensing,” said Yaghoub Norouzi Banis, an intern at the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. “The internship program provided me with an exceptional opportunity to overcome this challenge and I had the good fortune of being welcomed at the Ontario Parks for this position.”

Career Edge maintains strategic alliances and partnerships with a number of industry associations, post-secondary institutions, government agencies, and community organizations to help bridge the gap for IQPs like Yaghoub. Partners like the Canadian Immigrant Integration Program (CIIP), TRIEC, Toronto Region Board of Trade, Maytree Foundation, and York University have expanded the capacity and augmented the impact of the program in Ontario and across Canada.

“With the support of a vast network of leading Canadian employers and partnering organizations, I’m proud that Career Edge has helped to successfully launch the careers of 2,000 IQPs,” says Naguib Gouda, President of Career Edge. “This proves that paid internships truly represent a sustainable and optimum path to permanent employment for internationally qualified professionals.”