By Paul Kent
I am a strong believer in the power of relationships. I regularly find myself out of the office meeting with people in our community. These connections often lead to business opportunities, partnerships and most importantly long-standing relationships.
Halifax’s ability to grow is dependent on attracting and retaining talent. Our city attracts thousands of students and immigrants each year which is a real competitive advantage. Where we fall short is on retention. Although Nova Scotia attracts more international students than any other Atlantic province, fewer choose to stay here.
For newcomers and new graduates who have few connections in Halifax, it’s challenging to build a professional network, enter the job market, and settle successfully in our community. Maintaining their interest in this city means reaching out to them, connecting with them, and showing them what Halifax has to offer.
The Greater Halifax Partnership’s Connector Program offers us a chance to do just that. The program is a simple yet effective referral process that connects local businesses and organizations with immigrants, international students and young and emerging talent who want to build a career in Halifax.
Since the program’s start, over 130 participants have found jobs. Many others have gained valuable contacts and knowledge about the job market in Halifax – essential things for people new to a community.
This would not have been possible without the help of over 360 local business people, civil servants and community leaders who volunteer as Connectors. These are people who are in the habit of making introductions and connecting people to opportunities. Connectors meet one-on-one with participants, at their office or for coffee, to share their knowledge about their organization or industry sector and current labour market demands. And then they give the participant referrals to three other contacts in their network.
The demand for this successful program, which recently won two top international economic development awards, is growing and now we need even more Connectors from various industries to sign-up. Businesses benefit by having access to local talent, raising awareness about their company, and knowing they are opening doors for people and helping them succeed in Halifax.
The program’s reach goes far beyond the two people who initially meet for coffee. It’s helping to build our talent pool and create relationships that strengthen social capital and foster economic growth in our city and region.
I encourage you to become a Connector. If you are interested, please visit www.greaterhalifax.com/connector for more information on how to get involved.
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Author: Paul Kent