Women immigrants get help to land jobs in tech sector

Updated:March 16, 2023, 8:20 A.M.

Vancouver, B.C.

$1.1 million funding will assist them in job placements, mentorship, counselling

By Charmaine Y. Rodriguez

In time for Women’s Month, the Government of Canada announced that internationally-trained women with Information Technology (IT) backgrounds will have more chances of finding a job under a program designed for racialized newcomer women.

Marie-France Lalonde, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship (IRCC), announced Wednesday that the YWCA of Metro Vancouver will receive up to $1.1 million over two years, under the Racialized Newcomer Women Pilot, to support the Tech Connect program for newcomer women.

Tech Connect helps prepare racialized newcomer women in the Greater Vancouver Area who are internationally-trained professionals with IT backgrounds. It connects them with professional networks and training that will help them to understand the unique workplace culture in Canada’s IT sector and to find jobs related to their skills, education and experience more quickly and easily, the IRCC said in a press release.

The Racialized Newcomer Women Pilot was designed to support the labour market access and advancement of racialized newcomer women through work placements, mentorship and women-only employment counselling.

Funding a programs like Tech Connect is the government’s way of demonstrating its commitment to support racialized newcomer women so they will find meaningful work in Canada and progress in their careers, the statement added.

“Racialized newcomer women face significant challenges in entering the workforce. We are working to break down these barriers to ensure all immigrants can work in jobs that align with their skills and experience. Programs like Tech Connect are taking important steps to combat gender- and race-based discrimination, giving women important opportunities to reach their fullest potential. I’m proud that the Government of Canada can be a partner in this work,” Lalonde said.

The YWCA of Metro Vancouver is among the many settlement programs that received funding under the Racialized Newcomer Women Pilot, and the Government of Canada is expected to announce funding for many more organizations across the country in the coming months.

“We are delighted to receive a two-year extension of the YWCA Tech Connect employment program from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. This grant will enable our program to support more newcomer women to secure rewarding careers in the tech industry. Thank you to the Government of Canada for recognizing this innovative and impactful program,” said Erin Seeley, the Chief Executive Officer of YWCA Metro Vancouver.

In December 2022, the Government of Canada announced up to $5.8 million in renewed funding through 2025 for 10 projects supported under the program. This funding is in addition to the $15 million over 2 years that was allocated in Budget 2021 to extend support for this pilot.

The program was designed to address the barriers faced by racialized newcomer women, including gender- and race-based discrimination, unstable employment, and lack of affordable childcare. This initiative contributes to greater opportunities for racialized newcomer women to participate equally and fully in the economy.

The pandemic significantly exacerbated existing labour market barriers—and created new challenges—for racialized newcomer women. Labour Force Survey data from January to June 2021 shows that a significant unemployment gap persists between recent immigrant women and Canadian-born women (15.2% versus 8.0%), the IRCC statement also said.

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