$1.4-million awarded to help employers attract and integrate skilled immigrants

VANCOUVER, Feb. 21, 2013 /CNW/ - The Immigrant Employment Council of BC (IEC-BC) today announced the awarding of $1.4 million from the Employer Innovation Fund (EIF) for 11 innovative projects to assist employers, industry and business associations in developing initiatives and resources to integrate skilled immigrants into BC workplaces. Funded by the Government of Canada and the Province of BC through the Canada-British Columbia Immigration Agreement, the Employer Innovation Fund was announced at the 2012 Leaders' Summit on Immigrant Employment hosted by IEC-BC in the fall.

"I'd like to congratulate the 11 organizations that were selected to receive funding through the Employer Innovation Fund," said Pat Bell, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour. "Employers understand the challenges in hiring, retaining and integrating immigrants into their workplaces, and these projects will help employers engage in the development of programs, resources and tools to allow them to better facilitate immigrant employment in meeting labour market challenges."

EIF projects, which are employer-led, employer-driven and address employer needs to effectively attract, hire and retain skilled immigrants in BC workplaces, were funded in all regions of the province and in six key industry sectors to employers, sector organizations and business associations.  Funded projects include the creation of resources to assist employers in assessing foreign qualifications, an onboarding program that helps employers integrate skilled immigrants into the workplace and outreach campaigns to recruit and retain skilled new immigrants to a community and industry.

"The EIF is a unique fund that will help connect employers seeking skilled talent and BC's skilled immigrants who are not working or who are under-unemployed," said Kelly Pollack, Executive Director of the Immigrant Employment Council of BC. "These projects will go a long way to helping BC employers develop new and innovative ways to address labour skills shortages and facilitate the integration of skilled new immigrants into their workplaces."

With more than one million job openings in the next decade due to an aging workforce and economic growth, skilled immigrant talent is needed to address the labour skills shortage and demand for skilled workers in BC.

"Businesses of all sizes and all sectors across this province are beginning to understand how times have changed in terms of hiring human resources," said John Winter, President and CEO, BC Chamber of Commerce. "Now more than ever before, employers are looking to sources of immigration to fill their needs, and there is a clear role for IEC-BC in helping them do so."

In the awarding of EIF funding, priority was given to projects that impact more than just one employer, show the potential for sustainability post-project, focus on hiring and retaining immigrants who are permanent residents of BC, and demonstrate a direct benefit to small and medium-size businesses.

For a complete list of EIF-funded projects, visit www.iecbc.ca/our-initiatives/employer-innovation-fund

Learn More:  The Immigrant Employment Council of BC stimulates the integration of skilled immigrant talent into the province's workforce by fostering solutions, building connections and being a champion to help employers attract and retain immigrants.

SOURCE: Immigrant Employment Council of BC

For further information:

Karen Zukas
Communications Manager
Immigrant Employment Council of BC
Direct:  604 630-5018
Cell:  604 218-3487

Media Relations
Ministry of Jobs, Tourism
and Skills Training and Responsible for
250 387-2799

Connect with the Province of BC at: www.gov.bc.ca/connect

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Immigrant Employment Council of BC

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