Edmonton Region Immigrant Employment Council: programs for tomorrow’s workforce

Doug Piquette
Executive Director, Edmonton Region Immigrant Employment Council

Formally established in 2008, the Edmonton Region Immigrant Employment Council (ERIEC) is an industry-led, not-for-profit organization dedicated to ensuring immigrants are welcomed and participate in the economy to their fullest potential. Foreign-trained, experienced professionals now making the Edmonton region their home want to contribute their skills to our economy, but many lack the local knowledge needed for a successful job search. ERIEC provides a unique and effective bridge between employers’ labour needs and globally-trained new residents so that these new residents can find work in their profession.

Our Mission

Integrate skilled immigrants into our labour market at a level that utilizes their skills, training, experience and education.

ERIEC believes that bringing employers and skilled immigrants together is critical to challenging employment issues and barriers and that it will help to build bridges within the Edmonton region. One of ERIEC’s key approaches is to align and work with a broad cross-section of community stakeholders.

This mission is carried out by providing programs that:

  • Increase employers’ awareness of the economic advantages of hiring immigrants;
  • Help skilled immigrants understand the Alberta work environment and increase their readiness for employment;
  • Augment the efforts of other stakeholders working to increase the employability of immigrants; and
  • Are designed to meet employers’ needs for a skilled workforce.

This work is carried out in partnership with the three levels of government, education providers, professional associations and immigrant-serving agencies.

Brainstorming session

Goals

Goal #1: Immigrants become increasingly integrated into the Edmonton Region labour market.

ERIEC Career Mentorship Program – Occupation-specific mentoring for skilled newcomers has proven to be an effective tool in providing access to professional advice and networks that improve access to the labour market. The Career Mentorship Program is a collaborative effort between ERIEC, immigrant service providers and corporate partners that brings together professional newcomers (mentees) and established Canadian professionals (mentors) in occupation-specific mentoring.

The program provides an opportunity for professional newcomers to develop an understanding of Canadian workplace culture, build professional networks and gain knowledge of how to better integrate into the local labour market. Increasing access to mentoring improves employment opportunities for professional newcomers, which in turn addresses labour market issues and results in greater value added to the regional economy.

Connector Program – The National Connector Program is a simple yet highly effective networking program that helps local businesses and organizations connect with talented immigrants who want to build a career in Edmonton. We put pre-qualified Connectees directly in touch with local business people, civil servants and community leaders who volunteer as Connectors. Connectors share their knowledge of the current labour market situation as well as the demands and the skills required in their profession. After the meeting, the Connector may be able to provide the participants with three other relevant contacts in their industry. Each of the contacts will be asked for three more referrals, essentially creating a basic business network or web of connections.

 

ERIEC Networking Events

  1. Speed Career Networking (SCN) – Speed Career Networking is an event that focuses on information sharing and time-efficient networking between local professionals (mentors) and internationally-trained professionals who have recently settled in Edmonton and are “job ready” (mentees). This is not a recruitment event or a job fair. The mentees who attend these events recognize this and are expected only to expand their professional networks and learn more about pursuing careers in Canada. Mentors (employers) benefit by being exposed to some of the international talent available in Edmonton and the global perspectives these professionals can bring to our marketplace.
  2. SmartConnections – The SmartConnections model helps internationally-trained professionals create sustainable career paths, whether within or outside their field of expertise. ERIEC usually offers these sessions twice a year.
  3. Edmonton Annual Global Talent Conference – The Edmonton Annual Global Talent Conference is an event organized by ERIEC to facilitate learning, networking and the exchange of information between internationally-trained professionals from the finance, engineering and information technology sectors and Edmonton’s business leaders, professional association representatives and members of various levels of government. The objective of this annual conference is to bring together business leaders from the greater Edmonton area and immigrant professionals who have successfully found employment to provide support, advice and professional development to recent foreign-trained immigrants who are looking for work in their professions.

Goal # 2: Employers address labour shortages through appropriate use of immigrant labour skills.

ERIEC participates and collaborates with different levels of governments and business organizations to increase awareness around policy and programming issues concerning the attraction, retention and integration of internationally-trained professionals.

Goal #3: Edmonton region is aware of the benefits of skilled immigrants to the regional economy.

  1. EMCN RISE Awards Gala – The EMCN RISE Awards Gala is a collaboration with the Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers to recognize the work of individuals, community organizations and employers in the successful integration of immigrants into Edmonton society.
  2. ERIEC Business Leaders Annual Breakfast – The ERIEC Business Leaders Annual Breakfast is an event that enables business leaders to present to other business leaders the business case of workforce diversity and inclusion practices and examples of why it is important for employers to hire, integrate and retain skilled immigrant professionals.

For more information about ERIEC and our programs, find us online at eriec.ca.

Doug Piquette, Executive Director, Edmonton Region Immigrant Employment Council

Doug Piquette

Executive Director, Edmonton Region Immigrant Employment Council

Doug Piquette is the Executive Director of the Edmonton Region Immigrant Employment Council. Doug has been with ERIEC for 10 years and in that time has worked to establish, manage and advance the strategic priorities and direction of this Edmonton based organization.

Doug is a founding and current board member of the Edmonton Business Diversity Network (EBDN) and the current Chair of the Work Force Development Committee with the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce. Doug can be reached at dpiquette@eriec.ca.

ERIEC | LinkedIn

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