Taskforce making significant progress in efforts to attract newcomers
SARNIA, December 14, 2023 – Members of the Sarnia-Lambton Immigration Taskforce say the group has made significant progress in their efforts to help attract newcomers to the region.
Reflecting on the past year, the 35-member Task Force Steering Committee, which consists of local leaders, industry representatives, and individuals with lived experience, says they are starting to see the impacts of their work in areas of high priority including increasing the local population, driving economic development, enhancing diversity, and aiding in skilled worker shortages.
“On behalf of the Taskforce, I’m proud to say there have been some substantial developments in the foundational work necessary to prepare our community and employers to grow with the addition of skilled newcomers,” said Judith Morris, Chair, Sarnia-Lambton Immigration Taskforce. “In particular, we have taken essential steps in economic development, capacity building for employers, and newcomer engagement.”
A couple of notable highlights from the past year include:
- The Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership (SLEP), a partner organization of the Taskforce, supported the Taskforce’s strategic goals through the creation of the Newcomer Connection Program, funded by the Ontario government’s Skills Development Fund. The Newcomer Connection Program connects candidate-seeking employers with qualified newcomers and has filled 29 jobs in the community.
- SLEP further supported employers by offering two full-day Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) training sessions for local small-to-medium-sized businesses, which provided resources for creating welcoming workspaces. Forty-nine area employers took part in the training. An EDI model for the community is also in development to help attract and retain the best talent for local industries and businesses.
“Driving economic growth and sustainability requires driving change in all systems and sectors, and collaboration with industries, institutions, and entire communities,” said Cari Meloche, Economic Development Officer at SLEP and a member of the Taskforce. “I’m heartened by what the Sarnia-Lambton Immigration Taskforce achieved this year, and I’m looking forward to building on this progress with continued advocacy, funding opportunities, and strategic developments.”
Members of the Taskforce have also been advocating provincially with Queen’s Park and the Minister of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development to raise Sarnia-Lambton’s profile and advocate for an immigration pilot project for the community.
Talented newcomers with goals of finding employment and hoping to establish themselves as contributing members of the community also took strategic steps towards building their futures.
Earlier this year, students at Lambton College formed the International Business Professionals Club, which offers students educational and networking opportunities with local employers in collaboration with the Chamber of Commerce. International students enrolled at the College also prepared to further invest themselves in the community by attending a volunteer fair in November. More than 200 students showed up at the College’s campus to learn more about volunteer opportunities with 12 local not-for-profit organizations.
For full highlights and details from the Year in Review, visit the Sarnia-Lambton Immigration Taskforce webpage.
For continued news and updates, be sure to follow the Sarnia-Lambton Immigration Taskforce on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.