A skills development program at Schulich ExecEd that bridges the gap between employer needs and newcomer women’s skills was recently highlighted by the provincial government.
On Oct. 3, Schulich ExecEd joined Newcomer Women’s Services Toronto (NEW) in a meeting with the Minister of Labour, Immigrant, Training and Skills Development, Monte McNaughton, where the topic of discussion was the Sister2Sister Advanced Leadership Program (ALP).
The Sister2Sister Advanced Leadership program (ALP) is a skills and leadership development program that bridges the gap between employer needs and newcomer women skills through an intensive training in soft and hard skills capped by a paid internship. Offered in partnership with Schulich ExecEd, a strategic business unit within York University’s Schulich School of Business.
The centrepiece of the program is a foundational Project Management certificate – a highly condensed certification that provides go-to strategic market plans, employment readiness, career coaching and a paid internship. Graduates of this program earn a micro-credential from a top-tier Canadian business school.
Earlier this year, NEW and the Sisters2Sisters ALP received funding from the ministry through its $90-million Skills Development Fund program.
The Oct. 3 meeting included feedback from program participants, who shared their experiences with the unique and interactive program structure. 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.
“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,” said McNaughton.
Funding from the ministry enabled support for 75 immigrant and refugee women through comprehensive skills and leadership development training, said Sara Asalya, executive director of NEW.
Sandi Martyn, a Schulich ExecEd instructor, said: “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.
“I met so many intelligent, courageous, dedicated and hard-working women,” continued Martyn. “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.”
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 per cent of the pilot program graduates securing employment in line with their previous skills.
NEW and Schluch ExecEd will be using the funds from the last round of ministry funding to expland the program and align it with the target audiences, described as “people with prior involvement in the criminal justice system, at-risk youth, those with disabilities, Ukrainian newcomers, and others facing barriers to employment.”
The Sisters2Sister ALP is now accepting applications for its third cohort. Visit the website for more information.