Like a LinkedIn for immigrants, the new Web directory for the Toronto area could become a national platform.
A new online network with the goal of connecting immigrants with jobs is set to go live tomorrow, according to the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC).
With funding from Citizenship and Immigration Canada and Scotiabank, the Web site will highlight existing networks of professional immigrants, and showcase them in front of Greater Toronto Area (GTA) employers. The new site is located at NetworksForImmigrants.ca, says Racquel Sevilla, manager of program development at TRIEC.
“It’s one way for employers to find the talent out there,” she says. “Especially for a niche role. This allows them a broader talent pool they haven’t looked into before.”
The Web site’s goal is to raise awareness of immigrants with professional skills that are looking for jobs. It will focus on collaboration between the various immigrant networks in the Toronto area already trying to do this along industry and ethno-cultural lines.
Immigrant networks are typically volunteer-run, membership associations that are created to help connect newcomers with quality jobs. Examples in the GTA include the International Doctors Network, Hispanotech, and the Association of Filipino Canadian Accountants.
A survey conducted in 2009 of immigrant networks found 70 such groups in the GTA, and the Web site is launching with more than 30 of them in a searchable directory. The public site will allow employers to search through associations by alphabetical listing, profession, or ethno-cultural group. It will also feature news stories and success stories.
The members-only version of the site will provide a place for network leaders to talk on discussion boards and with a messaging function. “It’s kind of like LinkedIn,” Sevilla says. “I could use the messages to make a job posting for free.”
There will also be a free classifieds section and a community calendar on the site, she adds.
Almost one in five employers in the Greater Toronto Area has hired a skilled immigrant specifically to target local cultural communities to find new business opportunities, according to an EKOS poll conducted for TRIEC in spring 2011. Also, one in five employers brought an immigrant on board to diversify their company’s global client base. The vast majority of employers agreed that their immigrant employees were effective at meeting these objectives.
Funding provided by the government and Scotiabank is part of a $100,000 budget provided to The Professional Immigrant Networks initiative. PINs was launched in 2009 with a mandate to work with immigrant networks and help them connect skilled immigrant members with jobs, according to TRIEC.
TRIEC will be reaching out to its counterparts in other areas and offering use of the platform, Sevilla says. It has the potential to become a national destination.