February 2017  NEWSLETTER
Dear Reader,

After the hustle and bustle of the holidays, much of January was spent energizing for 2017 activities! Skills for Change is planning a slew of events and activities for 2017, including the Diversity@Work conference.

Our new pre-apprenticeship program launches today! We are looking for youth, Aboriginal persons, women and newcomers who have a strong aptitude towards a career in skilled trades (specific career areas are listed below). Once you've expressed interest, we will be holding information sessions. Detailed information about this program can be found on our website.

We are so excited to be hosting our 8th annual conference on Thursday, February 23rd at St. James Cathedral Centre. Diversity@Work is an annual professional conference dedicated to building inclusive and productive workplaces. Our 2017 conference will bring in 200 attendees, and will focus on "The Changing Faces of Workplace Diversity." We have an excellent line up of speakers, including The Globe and Mail's Denise Balkisson, who will be delivering our keynote address. Topics this year include Faith in the Workplace, Legal Perspectives on Diversity, Neurodiversity and Mental Health, Boosting Youth Employability, Multigenerational Workplace Diversity and much more! Go to diversityatwork.org for more information about the conference or diversityatwork2017.eventbrite.ca to purchase tickets.

On behalf of Skills for Change, we'd like to thank our community partners for this event - Ryerson University's Chang School of Continuing Education, First Work and New Horizons Media; as well we'd like to thank our sponsors - Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario, DLA Piper LLP and Employment Ontario.

In this issue, you will read about events that took place earlier in January, our upcoming events and class dates, and much more. We hope that you take some time to read through the newsletter to see more details about our programs and services, and we encourage you to contact us at communications@skillsforchange.org for more information about our work.

Warm regards,

Surranna Sandy
Chief Executive Officer

Skills for Trades' NEW Pre-Apprenticeship Training Program
Skills for Change's NEW Pre-Apprenticeship Training Program is designed for youth, Aboriginal peoples, women and newcomers with strong aptitude towards a career in the following skilled trades: General Machinist 429A, CNC Programmer 670C, Tool and Die Maker 430A. This sector-specific program provides aspiring tradespersons technical training, paid work experience placements, and mentoring and employment services. Contact preeapp@skillsforchange.org or 416.658.3101 ext 263 for more information.

Career Fairs at our Employment Ontario locations
Skills for Change's Employment Ontario locations continue to develop successful partnerships with employers who value diversity in the workplace. Our January Career Fairs provided clients great opportunities to network and apply for different positions. EO East had two hiring events, one for Atlas Cargo, a freight company and another for Civil Arsa, a civil engineering company. EO West had an information session about workers rights with lawyer Sheila Cuthbertson. Click here to learn more about our employment services.
Settlement Services Information Session
As a continuous effort to provide our settlement clients with all the information they need to successfully settle in Canada, Skills for Change delivered an information session on January 24th about employment insurance benefits, CPP, old age security, job bank and other similar topics. This program was in partnership with Service Canada,  For more information about our info sessions for settlement clients, please contact Melike Gokce at mgokce@skillsforchange.org.

From the Ground Up: Entrepreneurship Workshops
As part of our entrepreneurial initiatives, we continue to deliver From the Ground Up: a workshop series designed to help aspiring entrepreneurs to start their own business by relying on the experience and expertise of senior entrepreneurs. This workshop enrolled 20 participants in January, and takes place every Wednesday at our Toronto Central location. For more information about this initiative, please contact Jacqueline Smith at jsmith@skillsforchange.org.
Career Skills Winter Open House
Career Skills is a social enterprise which offers courses in Accounting, Finance, IT, Project Management and others to ramp up your career in just 4 to 10 sessions.
On January 14, Career Skills had its first Open House of the year. It was attended by 25 plus clients. It was a successful event wherein the clients got the opportunity to interact with the instructors of the various courses to have better insight of the program and make smart decisions in choosing their path to success.
Stay tuned for the next Open House in April Click here  for more information about our Career Skills courses or contact Radhika Sharma at  rsharma@skillsforchange.org .
Seniors Community Hub: Health and Wellness Program
Skills for Change successfully ended the 8-week Health and Wellness Program in January, which focused on building and recovering strengths in the hands and the arms of seniors through art therapy, at a long term care centre. Over the course of these eight weeks, seniors who were unable to attempt to complete an art therapy activity began to pick up crayons and colour images, improved their abilities to distinguish the different colours apart and most importantly, completed the program with the discovery of a new hobby. For more information about our seniors programs, please contact Grace Ryu at gryu@skillsforchange.org.

New Class Sessions for February & Other SfC News
ESL/Medical Terminology, CLB 7/8 
This ESL program will help learners develop specific communication skills necessary to work in a medical environment. Curriculum includes the introduction of essential medical terminology along with basic concepts of medical science and practice, while also enhancing the participant's proficiency in medical English.

This program is 20-weeks long, Saturday's, 9:00 am to 1:00 pm. English as a Second Language classes are offered on a continuous intake.

For additional information and to register contact: 416-658-3101 ext. 0.

Are you new to Canada and looking for settlement advice in the GTA? Our Settlement Workers will be happy to meet with you and your family to discuss your settlement needs, refer you to services and appropriate support, and prepare an action plan to ensure you are on track to reach your settlement goals.

Contact one of our Settlement Workers:

Lynda Davey-Longstreet at ext. 232,

Melike Gokce at ext. 290,

Refugee Youth
Are you new to Canada and between the ages of 16-29? Skills for Change facilitates the integration into the Canadian society and workplace culture through workshops, networking activities, information and counselling sessions covering topics such as educational/professional development, financial literacy, health and wellness, and Canadian culture, among others. 

For more information contact:
416-658-3101 ext. 0.

Mentoring for Change
Have you completed an employment preparation program? Need to increase your networks? Still having trouble finding employment? Are you an internationally-trained professional? You may consider getting matched with a mentor in your profession. Mentors can coach and guide you through the Canadian workplace culture or answer questions.   

Want to become a Mentoring Champion?
As a Mentor, you can help job seekers in various ways: Enhance communication skills, sharpen job search techniques and provide guidance to access community information and resources. Consider the rewards of helping to develop others through mentoring. 

Contact Rosaline Graham at
or 416-658-3101 x264.

Skills for Trades
The Skills for Trades program is in full swing and we have 18 program participants ready to attend trainings in January & February 2017. 13 participants are Arabic speaking and will attend an Arabic training! We have 6 female participants and continue to seek more. If you know women, ages 18-25, who reside in Hamilton and are interested in working in the skilled trades, please refer them to Banafsheh Rafeh ( brafeh@skillsforchange.org or 289.776.6256).
Trades Win Support Program Update
The Trades Win Support Program provides training and employment support to internationally-trained tradespersons: electricians, refrigeration and air conditioning mechanics, industrial millwrights and plumbers. The program is delivered from our Peel (Brampton) and York (Markham) locations and consists of employment preparation (including occupation-specific language training) delivered by Skills for Change and technical hands-on training delivered by our training partners Humber College or Stanford International College. Additional supports include: mentoring, work experience placements and job development support.

We are currently doing ongoing recruitment for all sectors.
Electricians (309A, 442A), Millwrights (433A), Refrigeration and Air Conditioning (HVAC) (313A, 313D), Mechanics Plumbers (306A)

Contact Details
Peel (905) 595 1679 ext 103
York (905) 764-0202 ext 101
Bridging the Gap Successfully Concludes
Thank you to our community partners, the Dougher Community Fund, the Hamilton Community Foundation and the amazing seniors in Dundas for their support of the Bridging the Gap program!  The program was a resounding success and 60 seniors participated in conversation circles and workshops to learn about technology and how to create digital memoirs.  We exceeded our program goals and have a waitlist for future programming.  We hope to bring the program back to Dundas funding permitting. 
Experience Ontario
The Experience Ontario (ExO) program participants in Brantford and Guelph are now applying to college and university.  They continue to work at paid full time placements in their fields of interest.  We are preparing for the next programming year and have space for 35 Brantford residents and 25 Guelph residents.  If you know a high school student in those regions who is about to graduate from high school and who wants to work for a year, please refer them to Tiffany McMillan for an intake assessment (tmcmillan@skillsforchange.org or 226.920.3470). 
ChangSchoolTalks 2017

2030 Vision: Exploring the Past and Imagining the Future
Join Chang School's third annual professional development and networking event ChangSchoolTalks 2016 - 2030 Vision: Exploring the Past and Imagining the Future Hear from thought-provoking presenters who will challenge us to examine the patterns of history, consider the disruptive nature of technology, and explore new and innovative models for learning.

Find event details, speaker bios, and ticket information at ChangSchoolTalks 2017.

Skills for Change's 8th Annual Diversity@Work Conference
The Changing Faces of Workplace Diversity - Strategies, tools and approaches for the emerging workforce.

When:  February 23rd, 2017  9:00am to 4:00pm
Where:  St. James Cathedral Centre
65 Church Street 
Toronto, ON 

Eventbrite - 2017 Diversity@Work Conference - The Changing Faces of Work Diversity
Skills for Change

       Building Welcoming & Equitable Communities