Thursday, April 13, 2017

CultureLink: Welcoming Newcomers to Canada Since 1988

By Gelek Badheytsang
WES Global Talent Bridge

Established in 1988, CultureLink Settlement Services and Community Services is a not-for-profit charity dedicated to serving newcomers and the community in the city of Toronto. Their mission is to facilitate the active participation and integration between the newcomers and the broader community.

CultureLink achieves their mission by: 
  • Enhancing skills that promote self-sufficiency, as well as social and economic integration
  • Understanding and promoting positive interaction with newcomer communities
  • Providing innovative programming to meet the changing settlement needs of newcomers and volunteers 
  • Promoting the well-being of all participants
I spoke with Amina Yassin-Omar, Manager of Community Development at CultureLink, to learn more about their work.

What kind of programs and services do you provide for skilled immigrants?
CultureLink offers a range of programs and services for newcomers that support both the successful social and economic integration of immigrants. These include specialized programs for all age groups from children to seniors.

As an example, our Settlement Programs enable professional settlement workers to collaborate with the local government, organizations, and individuals to build stronger communities and better facilitate newcomers' settlement and integration needs.

The overarching goal of our work is to support the successful integration and settlement of newcomers into Canadian society, and also ensuring a more welcoming, inclusive space for them.

Through our Employment Access, Community Connections, Mentorship, and Youth Online Employment Strategy (YOES) programs, CultureLink provides newcomers and other racialized communities with the tools and resources needed to find employment in today’s ever-changing job market. Our clients receive training to write a résumé and cover letter, practice interview skills, learn about the Canadian labour market, receive job search guidance, and learn creative online self-marketing skills. We also connect them with career mentors.

Where do you offer your services?
Most of our services are offered at our head office which is located at 2340 Dundas Street West, Unit 301. However, we offer services in over twenty schools, four public libraries, the Toronto City Hall, Housing Connection, and various parks and recreation facilities.

Are your services free?
Yes, all of our services—including several online training courses—are free.
 
What are some of your upcoming events, project updates?
On Thursday, April 13th, our Youth Online Employment Strategy (YOES) will present Connect & Explore -Youth Networking Evening. The goal of this event is to help young people between the ages of 15 and 29 build social capital in a shifting job market and explore career opportunities in various sectors. We will have professionals from the healthcare, marketing and communications, financial services, and non-profit/community service sectors like you!

Did you know that Tim Owen, WES’ Deputy Executive Director, was a member of CultureLink’s original Board of Directors?
I didn’t. That’s amazing.

Thank you for your time and answers.
Thank you for featuring us!

Thank you for inviting us to the event.
We hope that this is a start of many collaborations to come.

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Gelek Badheystang
Gelek Badheytsang is a Communications Manager for WES Global Talent Bridge Canada.

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