Skills for Change and CIBC present 18th Annual New Pioneers Awards

TORONTO, Feb. 22 /CNW/ - Skills for Change is honouring six newcomer award recipients at the 18th Annual New Pioneers Awards (NPA) on February 25, 2010, at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel. CIBC has been the lead sponsor since the award's inception in 1993.

"We are very excited to be presenting the New Pioneers Awards once again, with CIBC as our lead sponsor," said Jane Cullingworth, Executive Director, Skills for Change. "This is our 18th year of honouring immigrants and refugees who have excelled and continue to make a difference in the community, as well as our 18th year receiving great support from CIBC as lead sponsor."

"CIBC is proud to continue our support of the New Pioneer Awards, in recognition of the extraordinary accomplishments of newcomers to Canada," said Colette Delaney, Senior Vice-President, Mortgages and Lending, CIBC Retail Markets, and board member of Skills for Change. "It's rewarding to see the success stories that result from the training and employment programs that Skills for Change provides, and we look forward to honouring this year's recipients at the New Pioneer Awards."

Today, the New Pioneers Awards have become the GTA's "Oscars of Diversity." The awards are community-driven - members of the community nominate worthy candidates, volunteers conduct the selection process, and a diverse cross-section of the community gathers at this gala to celebrate with the NPA Award recipients.

In 2008, the New Pioneers Awards team received the Newcomer Champion Award presented by the Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration, an honour recognizing those who contribute to the understanding and sharing of Ontario's cultural diversity.

New this year, is the NPA Diversity @ Work Leadership Series, also sponsored by CIBC, which will be held on February 25, 2010 at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel before the NPA gala. In keeping with the goal of the New Pioneers Awards, which seek to positively increase awareness and celebrate the success of newcomers, the series starts with a Leadership Panel of past award winners, corporate and community leaders, including Ratna Omidvar, Executive Director of Maytree Foundation and past Executive Director of Skills for Change, and Raza Hasan, Senior Vice-President, Retail Lending and Wealth Risk Management at CIBC. The second half of the series will feature interactive workshops to demonstrate how successful organizations are harnessing the power of diversity at work.

About Skills for Change

Established in 1982, Skills for Change is a non-profit organization providing learning and training opportunities for immigrants and refugees to access and fully participate in the workplace and wider community.

About CIBC

CIBC is committed to supporting causes that matter to our clients, our employees and our communities. We aim to make a difference in communities through corporate donations, sponsorships and the volunteer spirit of employees. With a strategic focus on youth, education and health, and employee commitment to causes including the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation CIBC Run for the Cure, the CIBC Children's Foundation and United Way, we are investing in the social and economic development of communities across the country. In 2009, $26.8 million was contributed through the CIBC group of companies to charitable and non-profit initiatives in Canada, supporting a wide variety of national, regional and local organizations. To learn more, visit www.communitymatters.cibc.com.

SOURCE CIBC

For further information: For further information: Jane Cullingworth, Executive Director, Skills for Change, Tel: (416) 658-3101 ext 202, cullingworth@skillsforchange.org; Doug Maybee, Director, External Communications and Media Relations, CIBC, Tel: (416) 980-7458, doug.maybee@cibc.com


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