• Category: SmartCity

Leaving it all behind

One of Halifax’s greatest challenges in the next decade is attracting and retaining highly skilled and educated talent.  Over the past few years, the Partnership, in collaboration with many of you, has used its Halifax Connector Program to help immigrants and newcomers find their way to gainful and appropriate employment here in the City. 

This is the sixth of seven stories showing what you have made possible.


Leaving it all behind There are many reasons people leave their countries and decide to make Halifax their new home.  Some are familiar, like marrying a Canadian, or just wanting to go someplace new and exciting to live and work.  Others are more urgent.

Maya Moscovich and her daughter were on the way to the mall in their car in southern Israel when a bomb dropped about 100m in front of them.  Although unhurt, every time a police siren wailed afterwards, her daughter would say, “Momma, we have to find a shelter!” Maya thought, this is not a normal thing for a three year old to be saying, and in that moment she knew they had to leave.

Maya and her husband, Isaac, had no friends, family or jobs waiting here for them in Halifax when they decided to come. They discovered on the Internet that the local Jewish community was looking to increase its numbers and had done the legwork for potential Jewish immigrants to become permanent Canadian residents upon arrival.

“We didn’t know where Halifax was, although we knew generally where Nova Scotia was.  We looked at reviews and photos and thought, this looks good!”  In July 2009, Isaac arrived.  Maya and their two children arrived one month later.  Immediately they began looking for work.

They sent Isaac’s resume around the city first.  Within a month, he had an interview with Norex’s Brandon Kolybaba.  Unknown to the Moscoviches, Brandon was one of the Partnership’s Connectors and because Norex wasn’t hiring, Brandon officially referred Isaac to the Connector Program – which got Maya connected, too.

Maya’s Connectors were “really nice” people who gave her tips, helped her learn how to introduce herself and how to build a resume.  In the end, Maya found a local job through the Internet, “but I was really grateful to have this network of people who embraced me and were helping me.”

Once Isaac’s resume landed on Project Coordinator Cindy Dean’s desk, she immediately thought of Pat D’Entremont at Nicom IT Solutions, the Program’s first Connector.  Cindy reached out to Pat and at the same time, an Immigrant Settlement and Integration Services (ISIS) employment specialist who knew Isaac said, “Isaac needs to meet Pat!”

Turns out, Pat was looking for someone with Isaac’s expertise and three days later he was hired.

“It was all a circle and so amazing how it all worked out,” said Maya.  Thanks to the networking opportunities with the Connector Program, both Isaac and Maya are working in jobs in their fields of expertise.

Maya and Isaac’s young children are already speaking fluent English and will continue speaking Hebrew.  “Inside our home, they will always have their Jewish part – their language and traditions – but we are happy to be here and to let them adjust to living in Nova Scotia just as it is.

 

Kelly1blog Kelly Hennessey, ABC, is an accredited public relations writer and consultant.

You can find Kelly at http://ca.linkedin.com/in/kellyhennesseyabc or contact her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/SmartcityBlog/~3/oyXvxAxAKWE/leaving-it-all-behind.html

  • Category: SmartCity

CityThink 2011

Earlier this month, the results of the third CityThink (for which the Greater Halifax Partnership is a co-sponsor with Metro Halifax and MarketQuest-Omnifacts) were released in a series of Metro Halifax articles. Previous surveys were in 2007 and 2010.

For those who wonder what CityThink is, its tagline is “MarketQuest-Omnifacts talks to the people in your neighbourhood” and it does what it says on the box; it’s a survey of 600 randomly sampled adults in Halifax about their community, their leaders and the hot topics of the year.

The economy is, of course, one of the key topics surveyed and the results mirrored how the economy is actually doing, I think. 53% feel positively (excellent or good) about the economy and 38% think it is fair. If we compare that to the Q1 2011 snapshot, we see that year over year, good or fair is a realistic assessment. Real GDP growth in 2010 was about 3.3%, which was 8th out of 27 cities measured by the Conference Board of Canada. That’s pretty good.

While confidence in the future is measured (67% believe the economy will be about the same next year and 20% believe it will be better); this is consistent with slow growth, post-recession. Overall the year-over-year view is that the last 10 years of economic growth, residential and commercial development have been good for Halifax.  This is promising as we begin work implementing the 2011-16 economic strategy; residents approve of the foundation that we’re building on and the direction that the city is headed in.

Consistenty, Halifax residents report a high quality of life and incredibly high levels of satisfaction (91% satisfied or very satisfied); from quality health care, leisure activities, public education and affordable living, Halifax residents like living here and are planning on staying here. 

What I’m most excited about for next year is the number of game changers currently sitting in the pipe for Halifax; the various development projects that are on the doorstep and Irving’s great shot at building the next fleet of combat ships (an opportunity so big, it’s really hard to overstate it) mean we could be surveying an entirely different Halifax in future editions of CityThink.

David Fleming

David is the Research Coordinator for the Greater Halifax Partnership. He studied Economics and Philosophy at the University of Prince Edward Island, and has experience working with private, public and non-profit organizations. He maintains the economic data section of the website and provides economic analysis on key issues relating to Halifax. 


Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/SmartcityBlog/~3/C8A5uawaFK0/citythink-2011.html

  • Category: SmartCity

Atlantic YES!- Transforming Ideas into Economic Opportunities

I am still supercharged from the inaugural Atlantic Youth Entrepreneurship Summit-Atlantic YES! held at St. Francis Xavier University from May 13-15.

I met young promising entrepreneurs from Atlantic Canada, listened to their dreams and successes, and learned about their challenges and frustrations. This summit is all about helping young entrepreneurs succeed by transforming their ideas into economic opportunities.  

Youth Entrepreneurship Group Photo A variety of keynote speeches, panels an d workshops helped participants strengthen their entrepreneurship skills and create economic growth for their community and region through leadership and innovation.  The youth delegates talked about issues like lacking connections, networking and employment opportunities.

The last day of the summit, each province developed an action plan to foster entrepreneurship and help youth realize their potential. The Nova Scotia delegation came up with a plan that included priorities like communication & awareness, collaboration, and youth retention and attraction.

As one of the presenters of the Nova Scotia Action Plan, I shared some of the great strategies and programs from Halifax that could be replicated in other cities and provinces to keep the best and brightest young people:

  • Fusion is also about the "next generation" in Halifax. Created for young people, by young people, this group works to capture the voice, spirit and engagement of 20-40 year olds in shaping the future of Halifax and to inspire active citizenship, create dynamic networks, develop new friendships and generate great ideas in everything from business, to arts and culture to sustainable communities.  Why not a Fusion Sydney or Fusion New Glasgow?
  • The Y2E Project  - led by Partnership staff in 2008 - worked with local employers, youth and service providers like the YMCA employment centre, to develop a strategy that would make the business connection between priority youth and employers in Halifax.  The result was the Y2E Framework - a model that could be implemented by other cities looking to improve young people's employment prospects and connections to the community.

    I was truly inspired by the young entrepreneurs’ passion to make a difference, their love for their communities and their hunger for success.

    Together we can build a better Nova Scotia and region!

    Jackie Jackie Guo is the Coordinator of International MBA Student Connector Program.

    Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/SmartcityBlog/~3/JcYeY50uvtQ/atlantic-yes-transforming-ideas-into-economic-opportunities.html

    • Category: SmartCity

    2011 ALLIES Mentoring Conference: Learn +Lead

    Earlier this month, I attended the 2011 ALLIES Mentoring Conference in Calgary where over 150 delegates from across Canada came together to collaborate ideas, share best practices, experiences and explore new opportunities to build a stronger Canada by using the talents of skilled immigrants. 

    The focus of the conference was mentorship, and how it can strengthen the fabric of Canadian society by connecting people with one another.  I had the opportunity to present the Connector Program to conference delegates and once again there was a buzz among other cities to implement a similar program in their regions. 

    As Kelly mentioned in the most recent Connector story posted this week, the program is considered a best practice and four other cities have duplicated it Montreal, North Bay, Niagra, and Waterloo.

    The ALLIES Conference reiterated that everyone has a role to play with immigration. It takes time, but we need to begin to invest in our own capacity to connect immigrants to opportunities in our communities. This will make Halifax more diverse and vibrant and bring practical, tangible benefits for our economy.  You can do your part today by This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. !

     

    Cindy Dean is  Cindy Project Coordinator for the Halifax Connector Program, a Greater Halifax Partnership Initiative. Program partners are the Nova Scotia Office of Immigration, The Maytree Foundation and the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation

    Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/SmartcityBlog/~3/tzKnTl0c9As/2011-allies-mentoring-conference-learn-lead.html

    • Category: SmartCity

    Networking …cubed

    One of Halifax’s greatest challenges in the next decade is attracting and retaining highly skilled and educated talent. 

    Over the past few years, the Partnership, in collaboration with many of you, has used its Halifax Connector Program to help immigrants and newcomers find their way to gainful and appropriate employment here in Halifax. 

    This is the fifth of seven stories showing what you have made possible.
     
     
    Networking …cubed Since July 2009, the Halifax Connector Program has helped 118 immigrants and newcomers to Halifax and of these, 40 have found gainful and appropriate employment.  This program is considered so successful that it has been recognized as a best practice by the Conference Board of Canada and four entities have duplicated it:  the Montreal Board of Trade, North Bay’s Mayor’s Office on Economic Development, Niagra Immigrant Employment Council, and the Waterloo Greater Chamber of Commerce.

    But it’s impossible to do anything well without help from the right people in the right places offering their expertise and – no surprise – their own networks, too.

    Two other organizations in addition to the Partnership play key roles in the Connector Program’s success.  One is the Nova Scotia Office of Immigration (NSOI), which provides funding and has an agreement with the federal office of immigration to ‘fast-track’ nominations for permanent residency here, and the second is Immigration Settlement and Integration Services (ISIS).

    “ISIS is a well-rounded service agency that offers immigrants a menu of programs,” said Emilie Coyle, a consultant with ISIS and its mentorship program.  “We look at the immigrant’s experience, skills for work and determine if there are gaps in their expertise to meet Canadian requirements.”  ISIS also offers an in-depth mentorship opportunity, “matching immigrants with people established in the same profession.”  Sound similar to the Connector Program?

    “Yes,” said Emilie, “with one key difference: the mentorship program needs a mentor who can commit to an immigrant over a longer period of time.”  Connectors, on the other hand, are only asked to donate 30 minutes of their time, and offer an immigrant at least three qualified leads in their field of expertise.

    “I would love for everyone to be a mentor,” said Emilie, “and I also see the value of people opening up their professional networks, especially since so many immigrants have everything they need to succeed – except contacts in their fields.”

    ISIS is the Partnership’s key source for labour-qualified immigrants, ready to enter the workforce – if they could just reach the right people.

    Getting Immigrants in "the loop"

    “I discovered that a large percent of the available jobs in Halifax are not advertised – even in the local business community.  It’s all done by referral and word-of-mouth,” said Michael Johnson, Director, Programs and Corporate Initiatives, NSOI.  “That’s why we like the Connector Program so much.  It gets immigrants inside the loop and it helps us reach our strategic goal to retain talent once it’s here.  We need to be very proactive about keeping people here for our economic growth and to shore up our declining population.”

    NSOI is one of the Connector Program’s critical sources of funding, along with partners The Maytree and the J.W. McConnell Family Foundations.  The Toronto based foundations jointly fund ALLIES (Assisting Local Leaders with Immigrant Employment Strategies).

    As Connector Jamie Welsh of Deloitte said, “It is hard to put into words, but helping immigrants find meaningful work in Halifax is hugely rewarding.  It’s a little thing for us, to connect a person to a few others in our network.  But it means the world to them.”

    The network support of ISIS and NSOI means a world to the Partnership, too.

     

    Kelly1blog Kelly Hennessey, ABC, is an accredited public relations writer and consultant.

    You can find Kelly at http://ca.linkedin.com/in/kellyhennesseyabc or contact her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

     

    Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/SmartcityBlog/~3/amK_Uw6Kc4k/networking-cubed.html

    • Category: SmartCity

    Networking … cubed

    Since July 2009, the Halifax Connector Program has helped 118 immigrants and newcomers to Halifax and of these, 40 have found gainful and appropriate employment.  This program is considered so successful that it has been recognized as a best practice by the Conference Board of Canada and four entities have duplicated it:  the Montreal Board of Trade, North Bay’s Mayor’s Office on Economic Development, Niagra Immigrant Employment Council, and the Waterloo Greater Chamber of Commerce.

    But it’s impossible to do anything well without help from the right people in the right places offering their expertise and – no surprise – their own networks, too.

    Two other organizations in addition to the Partnership play key roles in the Connector Program’s success.  One is the Nova Scotia Office of Immigration (NSOI), which provides funding and has an agreement with the federal office of immigration to ‘fast-track’ nominations for permanent residency here, and the second is Immigration Settlement and Integration Services (ISIS).

    “ISIS is a well-rounded service agency that offers immigrants a menu of programs,” said Emilie Coyle, a consultant with ISIS and its mentorship program.  “We look at the immigrant’s experience, skills for work and determine if there are gaps in their expertise to meet Canadian requirements.”  ISIS also offers an in-depth mentorship opportunity, “matching immigrants with people established in the same profession.”  Sound similar to the Connector Program?

    “Yes,” said Emilie, “with one key difference: the mentorship program needs a mentor who can commit to an immigrant over a longer period of time.”  Connectors, on the other hand, are only asked to donate 30 minutes of their time, and offer an immigrant at least three qualified leads in their field of expertise.

    “I would love for everyone to be a mentor,” said Emilie, “and I also see the value of people opening up their professional networks, especially since so many immigrants have everything they need to succeed – except contacts in their fields.”

    ISIS is the Partnership’s key source for labour-qualified immigrants, ready to enter the workforce – if they could just reach the right people.

    “I discovered that a large percent of the available jobs in Halifax are not advertised – even in the local business community.  It’s all done by referral and word-of-mouth,” said Michael Johnson, Director, Programs and Corporate Initiatives, NSOI.  “That’s why we like the Connector Program so much.  It gets immigrants inside the loop and it helps us reach our strategic goal to retain talent once it’s here.  We need to be very proactive about keeping people here for our economic growth and to shore up our declining population.”

    NSOI is one of the Connector Program’s critical sources of funding, along with partners The Maytree and the J.W. McConnell Family Foundations.  The Toronto based foundations jointly fund ALLIES (Assisting Local Leaders with Immigrant Employment Strategies).

    As Connector Jamie Welsh of Deloitte said, ““It hard to put into words, but helping immigrants find meaningful work in Halifax is hugely rewarding.  It’s a little thing for us, to connect a person to a few others in our network.  But it means the world to them.”

    The network support of ISIS and NSOI means a world to the Partnership, too.

    Kelly1blog Kelly Hennessey, ABC, is an accredited public relations writer and consultant.

    You can find Kelly at http://ca.linkedin.com/in/kellyhennesseyabc or contact her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

     

    Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/SmartcityBlog/~3/amK_Uw6Kc4k/networking-cubed.html

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