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diversity : Innovation + Job News

47 diversity Articles | Page: | Show All

Chinese-born Toronto chemist earns his 100th patent at Xerox

This month, GTA chemist Nan-Xing Hu reached a research milestone when he earned a U.S. patent for a new book-binding process for colour production printers: it was his 100th patent. For the lab manager with the Mississauga Xerox Research Centre of Canada, the professional achievement carries personal gratification. "Having the ability to create a useful product that makes a difference in people's personal or professional lives gives me a great sense of accomplishment," Hu says.

The Chinese-born Hu, who spent time in Japan before resettling in Canada, says that Xerox's commitment to diversity and to research -- explored by Yonge Street in a profile of company VP Hadi Mahabadi last month -- helped him reach this impressive milestone. "I am constantly driven by technical challenges and external competition. The diversity of Xerox's culture and its people are a great inspiration, as is our management's strong commitment to fostering innovation."

Mahabadi added that Hu's accomplishment is an example of how those policies pay off for both the country and the company. "Nan-XIng is an extremely talented chemist. His talent not only improves Xerox's competitive offerings, but has added to the fabric of Canada's entire scientific landscape."

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Laura Mergelas, Xerox Canada

Vital people awards gives $5,000 leadership legs-up to non-profit superstars

Applications are now open for Toronto's most innovative and passionate non-profit leaders to receive $5,000 grants to further their pursuit of leadership and management skills. The Toronto Community Foundation's Vital People grants aim to support people who are the driving force behind community organizing in the city.

"Every year the Toronto Community Foundation publishes the Vital Signs report, which diagnoses the issues that most need to be addressed in Toronto, and then most of the rest of our time is spent addressing those issues" says Toronto Community Foundation President and CEO Rahul K. Bhardwaj. "These grants go to the people behind those programs that really make a contribution."

The grants, Bhardwaj says, are used for a variety of purposes to further professional development, from leadership and management training to attending international conferences.

Applications are being accepted for this year's Vital People grants until September 29.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Rahul K. Bhardwaj, President and CEO, Toronto Community Foundation

Social innovation in St. James Town aims to build community, skills and engage youth

A new $550,000 program in St. James Town called "Recipe for Community" will see the construction of sporting equipment, the beautification of parks, skills development programs, recreational leagues and small business support for residents of the at-risk community.

The program was announced last week by Mayor David Miller and Councillor Pam McConnell of the city, alongside partners from the Toronto Community Foundation (TCF), Toronto Community Housing (TCH) and Maple Lead Sports and Entertainment.

TCF Vice-Chair John B. MacIntyre, in the announcement of the program, said that it "will help make St. James Town a more vibrant neighbourhood -- a place in which residents are proud of where they live and feel connected to each other and their community."

The innovative social project in St. James Town is the extension of a pilot launched by TCF, TCH and the City with other community partners in Alexandria Park last year. Addressing a need for a sense of belonging and safety in communities that was articulated in the TCF Vital Signs Report in 2008, the program aims to use ideas from local residents to create a sense of pride and ownership in a community while building the skills of local residents and the livability of the neighbourhood.

The city says that the project at St. James Town will be evaluated as part of the city's Tower Renewal project, a legacy initiative long heralded by Mayor David Miller to improve the social and environmental conditions of concrete apartment towers across the city. If the St. James Town program is successful, a city release says, the model could become part of the Tower Renewal program all around Toronto.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: City of Toronto

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New YWCA employment programs will help 1,400 unemployed women

The YWCA Toronto, long a provider of job and life skills training and assistance to women, has announced the opening of two new employment programs in Toronto that will offer "one-stop shopping" for services for the unemployed.

Eva Pakyam, manger of employment programs with the YWCA Toronto, says that a minimum of 1,400 women per year are expected to be served by the programs, which will work one-on-one with women to address their needs, from career assessment to childcare to job readiness and search skills, and will create an individualized program to "finding sustainable employment opportunities."

The programs being launched are funded through the province of Ontario's Employment Ontario initiative that will fund programs across the province.

Anyone interested in finding out more about the programs should call 416-269-0090.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Eva Pakyam, Manager, Employment Programs, YWCA

Got an Innovation & Job News tip? Email [email protected].

City of Toronto micro loan program will give 15 young, at-risk entrepreneurs a $5K start

A new City of Toronto pilot program with give enterprising young people in some of the west end's poorest neighbourhoods access to business capital and support.

The Youth Micro Loan pilot, announced earlier this month, will provide life skills coaching, business mentorship and loans of up to $5,000 to unemployed, out-of-school entrepreneurs aged 18 to 24 who live in the neighbourhoods of Jane and Finch, Weston-Mt. Dennis, Jamestown-Rexdale, Lawrence Heights and Westminster Branson. In addition to the capital, the youth will also qualify for support in the form of things like childcare and TTC tickets.

City of Toronto spokesperson Claudia Coore says that 15 young entrepreneurs are expected to participate in the pilot project.

"Together, we have created a culturally relevant, real-world form of business development support that will help these young entrepreneurs generate prosperity," Mayor David Miller said in a release announcing the program. "We are committed -- through the Youth Micro Loan Pilot project -- to helping our youth develop the skills, capital, access and networks needed to successfully launch their own businesses."

The program will be run in conjunction with the Toronto Community Foundation, Toronto Community Housing, Alterna Savings, UrbanArts Community Arts Council, Knowledge Equals Youth Success, Dixon Hall, Urban Financial Services Coalition and Money Minds & Common Cents.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Cher Jones, Senior Coordinator, Promotions and Communications, City of Toronto

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$1.9 million federal grant will help 1,000 Toronto youth prepare for employment

Two City of Toronto agencies who aim to help prepare more than 1,000 youth overcome barriers to entering the labour market were on the receiving end of $1.9 million in federal funding this week. Federal MP Mike Wallace announced the funding on behalf of the Ministry of Human Resources and Skills Development July 8, saying, "in today's environment, it is more important than ever that youth develop the skills they need to participate and succeed in the job market."

The funding will go to two programs: the Toronto Youth Job Corps, which helps unemployed, out-of-school youth with a combination of training and job placement (while paying them for participating); and Youth Employment Toronto, an outreach program that sees workers find youth in places they congregate and refer them to appropriate resources to help them find employment and training.

Mayor David Miller said in a statement that the funding will "provide young people with the resources and work experience they require to get started on their chosen path."

Both of the programs aim to serve youth who are, in the words of the federal government, "facing barriers to employment, such as single parents, Aboriginal youth, young persons with disabilities, recent immigrants ... youth who have dropped out of high school."

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Michelle Bakos, Press Secretary, Office of Minister Daine Finley

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Federal government will accept 10,000 more skilled immigrants this year

On June 26, Federal Immigration Minister Jason Kenney announced at a press conference that Canada would accept more skilled immigrants -- those applying under the "economic" category -- this year than initially planned. In his speech, he described the decision as a response to the need for economic stimulus following the recent recession. "When I met with my provincial colleagues last week, they all stressed the importance of economic immigration," he said. "As we recover from the recession, increasing economic immigration will help ensure employers have the workers they need to supplement our domestic labour supply."

According to Citizenship and Immigration Canada media spokesperson Kelli Fraser, Canada will admit approximately 10,000 more economic immigrants than it did last year -- bringing the total number of economic immigrants to roughly 163,500, of a total number of immigrants in the neighbourhood of 265,000.

At the same time, the federal government also announced changed to the process, capping the number of new applications this year to ensure that all are dealt with promptly. And the government also proposed to double the economic asset requirements for the investor class of immigrants to a net worth of $1.6 million. A list of the new requirements and proposals is available at the Citizenship and Immigration website.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Kelli Fraser, Media Spokesperson, Citizenship and Immigration Canada

Got an Innovation & Job News tip? Email [email protected].

After 75 years, Goodwill keeps creating new jobs -- Etobicoke store opens, hires 30

Most people know the organization Goodwill for its second-hand stores -- places where you can donate old clothes and household goods rather than landfilling them, and places where you can find bargains on used goods, too.

But for the 75 years of its existence, the charitable organization has been primarily in the business of employment -- it was created with a mandate to "create work opportunities and skills development for people facing serious barriers to employment." Those barriers, according to Goodwill's Toronto communications advisor Julia Dyck, can include lack of experience, youth, language barriers, disabilites and a host of other obstacles.

As it celebrates its diamond anniversary, the charity opened a new store and drive-through donation centre in Toronto this week in Etobicoke, at 871 Islington Avenue just south of the Queensway. The story will create 30 new jobs in the community.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Julia Dyck, Advisor, Communications and External Relations, Goodwill Greater Toronto

Got an Innovation & Job News tip? Email [email protected].

Steamwhistle, Capgemini among recent employers taking advantage of immigrant Job Developers Network

Valentina Nekozachenko has a three-year graduate diploma in accounting and finance from Russia -- and experience in accounting administration with a restaurant firm overseas and a non-profit here in Canada. Recently she was hired to join the Steamwhistle Brewing company as an accounting coordinator.

That fits in well with Steam Whistle's track record -- according to a Financial Post article last year, "Steam Whistle's devotion to diversity in the workplace saw it win the Immigrant Success Award in 2008 for hiring skilled immigrants and it has twice been nominated for Canada's Most Admired Corporate Cultures." Nekozachenko's hiring was thanks to the assistance of Skills for Change, a non-profit employment agency that is part of the CASIP Job Developers Network.

The Job Developers Network is perhaps an under-appreciated tool for employers. According to the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council [TRIEC] -- which founded the network -- it "provid[es] GTA employers with cost-effective and coordinated recruitment and human resources services for hiring skilled immigrants." The developers share job postings across a network and give employers access to a large pool of pre-screened talent, and work with company HR departments and hiring managers to find candidates for job openings quickly, filling a role that might otherwise be performed by a costly headhunter. Employers pay no fees to the non-profit agencies in the network.

According to information supplied by TRIEC, Capgemini has recently hired three network referrals: a supply chain specialist, a senior IT analyst and a help desk agent. Capgemini also prides itself on a track record of diversity -- it's website claims, "Diversity at Capgemini is one way we recognize the value and strength found in the individual perspectives and life's experiences that each of us brings to share."

Writer: Edward Keenan
Sources: TRIEC; Financial Post, LinkedIn, Steamwhistle Brewery, Capgemini

Got an Innovation & Job News tip? Email [email protected].

Samtack's award-winning diversity (90% immigrant-staffed) means $130 million in annual revenue

With a staff of just over 100, Markham-based technology distributor Samtack punches above its weight -- in 2009 it saw over $130 million in revenue. And according to company President Royson Ng, a lot of that success can be attributed to the fact that more than 90 per cent of his staff are immigrants to Canada.

Samtack was recognized this week at the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council Immigrant Success Awards, on a stage with companies many times their size. The award, the RBC Immigrant Advantage Award shared with fellow winner Pitney Bowes, recognized how the company "leveraged skilled immigrant talent to respond to changing needs of mass merchant customers; increased market share with smaller, local, diverse retailers and purchased parts from overseas suppliers."

Samtack was founded in Markham 20 years ago but has seen business boom significantly since it went public on the Hong Kong stock exchange six years ago. It now has 27 per cent of the Canadian market in computer parts, supplying such giants as Best Buy and Wal-Mart.

Ng says that hiring people who are immigrants to Canada helps a company to better do business in an international environment. "Immigrants, regardless of where they come from, have a better understanding of local markets around the world," he says. That has helped Samtack set up supply chains and source parts from various global locations, especially China.

And the company isn't about to rest on its laurels. Currently, according to Ng, Samtack is looking to crack South American markets, and so is looking to hire people who speak Spanish.

Author: Edward Keenan
Source: TRIEC; Royson Ng, President, Samtack

Got an Innovation and Job News tip? Email [email protected].

National Society of Black Engineers brings convention to Toronto, projecting $30 million impact

When the National Society of Black Engineers brings its conference to Toronto March 31-April 4, it expects to contribute up to $30 million to the local economy (including 9,000 hotel room nights).

The Toronto conference is the first time the 33,000-member US-based organization has held its annual meet-up outside the United States. The society's Pamela Sharif says Toronto was chosen because of the large number of the organization's members in Canada, and because the key corporate partners of the organization -- cutting edge engineering employers -- generally have offices in Toronto. "The fact that Canada -- and Toronto in particular -- is an international leader in the technology sector is a huge factor," Sharif says.

During the conference, local high school students from Mother Theresa and Cardinal Newman Catholic schools in Scarborough will have the chance to participate in hands-on activities (including, Sharif says, robot and car design and construction) meant to introduce them to the profession.

Author: Edward Keenan
Source: Pamela Sharif, Media Relations, National Society of Black Engineers

Got an Innovation and Job News tip? Contact Edward Keenan at [email protected].

Bridging program for internationally-trained engineers graduates 45 participants with 70% placement

The Professional Access and Integration Enhancement program held a ceremony March 23 to celebrate the graduation of 45 internationally-trained professional engineers from its bridging program. The program, just completing its fourth year, gives Canadian newcomers with international training and experience in environmental engineering a chance to gain Canadian contacts and experience through, among other things, a year-long paid training work placement with Canadian employers.

The program is run by the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority and funded by the provincial and federal governments. Authority CAO Brian Denney said in a statement that the program brings an experienced, global perspective to technical environmental challenges here in Toronto. "The inclusion of sustainable communities and social equity ... is a testament to our role as a leader and innovator within the environmental field."

TRCA media relations supervisor Rowena Calpito says that while the final, firm numbers are not available, it is expected that around 70 per cent of the program's participants have secured work in the field.

Author: Edward Keenan
Source: Rowena Calpito, Supervisor of Media Management, Toronto and Region Conservation Authority

Got an Innovation and Job News tip? Contact Edward Keenan at [email protected].

CIBC opens or expands 6 GTA locations this spring and summer, hiring

On March 10, CIBC announced a plan to open or expand six bank branches in the GTA over the spring and summer of 2010, among 20 new or expanded branches across Canada. The bank notes that this is an ongoing expansion program as they have added or expanded 16 branches in the Toronto area since 2008.

In an announcement, CIBC VP of Retail Markets for central Canada Larry Tomei said the new branches mean new jobs. "In addition to increasing our physical presence across the GTA, we are also hiring great people to join our team. We encourage exceptional candidates to visit our online career site to apply."

A spokesperson for the bank, contacted by phone, was unwilling to say exactly how many jobs would be available, as every branch will be different. He did note that CIBC aggressively hires those able to reflect the city's diversity -- some branches offer full banking services in up to 10 diffferent languages. "CIBC will be hiring staff from the local community that speak the preferred language of our clients -- which will reflect the diversity of our clients," is the company policy read over the phone.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Doug Maybee, Director of External Communications and Media Relations, CIBC

Toronto Cyclists Union wins US-based innovation award for newcomer initiative

On March 9, the Toronto Cyclists Union was honoured for the 'Innovation of the Year' at an awards ceremony in Washington, DC hosted by the Alliance for Cycling and Walking. The group was recognized for its Partnership for Integration and Sustainable Transportation, which it runs in conjunction with Culturelink Settlement Services.

"We're honoured to be accepting this award on behalf of our partnership," says Yvonne Bambrick, Executive Director of the Toronto Cyclists Union who received the award in Washington. "This project is helping us to grow roots in Toronto's diverse communities, and to exchange knowledge about sustainable habits here and around the world."

The recognized program involves workshops around the city in 16 different languages, a handbook and a poster campaign.

The union was formed in Toronto in May 2008 to promote cycling as a viable form of transportation and to provide services and information to the city's bike riders.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Yvonne Bambrick, Executive Director, Toronto Cyclists Union

Art Starts opens 4th community arts hub, relocates headquarters

Art Starts is a not-for-profit organization with a mandate to "build healthier communities using the arts." It runs neighbourhood cultural centres in at-risk neighbourhoods where artists of all ages can find "relevant creative opportunities."

In an email to supporters, Managing Director Liz Forsberg recently announced the opening of the org's fourth neighbourhood hub, located in Lawrence Heights. Also, Art Starts is moving its headquarters to the Yorkdale Community Arts Centre at Yorkdale Mall as of March 18, a move that Forsberg writes, "is a very exciting opportunity for us; not only will it allow us to share a state-of-the-art facility with all four of the communities we work with, but it will also give us the opportunity to begin developing and offering fee-for-service programs as a means of providing some sustainable funding to our free programs in underserved neighbourhoods."

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Art Starts
47 diversity Articles | Page: | Show All
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