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.
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.