18 Newcomers ready for employment in Canadian financial services sector after graduating from CIBC Connection to Employment(TM)

    VANCOUVER, May 28 /CNW/ - Today, 18 newcomers in the Greater Vancouver
Area are on their way to starting a career in the Canadian financial services
industry after graduating from CIBC Connection to Employment(TM), a free,
unpaid, five-week job readiness training program for qualified newcomers.
Since April 20, they have learned about the business culture and
banking-specific information relevant in Canada. Professionals from the YMCA
and CIBC led the training which was held at the YMCA of Greater Vancouver's
offices at 1166 Alberni Street in downtown Vancouver.
    "The program has definitely exceeded my expectations," said Nicholas D.
Hay, formerly of Trinidad & Tobago. "At first I thought it would just be a
reiteration of what I knew, but it was so much more. I can now plan a future
for myself in the financial industry, I understand how the system works and
the opportunities that are available. I am very excited about the future and
my new life in Canada, thanks to CIBC and YMCA."
    "For most newcomers to Canada, finding a job is one of their most
important first steps," said Christina Kramer, Executive Vice-President, CIBC
Retail Markets. "We are pleased that the CIBC Connection to Employment program
has been able to help give newcomers the skills and information they need to
get a job in financial services. On behalf of CIBC, we offer our sincere
congratulations to the graduates. We hired many of the graduates of the
inaugural CIBC Connection to Employment program in Toronto last year and hope
to do the same with this promising class of graduates."
    "What an exciting time for these newcomers," said Bill Stewart, CEO of
the YMCA of Greater Vancouver. "The YMCA is here to help people reach their
fullest potential and this program gives people the necessary knowledge to go
out there and create opportunity for them to find a job. This program is a
great example of how the YMCA and its partners achieve this goal."
    CIBC YMCA Access to Opportunity(TM) builds on CIBC's continued focus on
addressing the distinct needs of newcomers through a diverse employee base,
relevant product solutions like a newcomer mortgage and credit card as well as
our broad multicultural capabilities across our branches, call centres, ABMs
and website.
    For more information, visit www.cibcymcanewcomers.ca.

    Additional Quotes from Program Participants

    "This program came as a ray of hope in my life as I was completely
unfamiliar with what exactly the banking sector in Canada is looking for in an
employee," said Muhammad Ali Nadeem Al-Qadri, formerly of Pakistan. "It helped
me network not only with CIBC and YMCA employees but also with people who are
highly qualified and searching for jobs from different countries in my field.
This program helped me to realize and overcome my weaknesses, greatly improve
my public speaking and interpersonal communication skills. It also helped me
to build confidence in myself and think positively."
    Dali Shi, a recent immigrant from China, said "The CIBC Connection to
Employment program not only met but far exceeded my expectations. It provided
me with the industry knowledge I needed to become confident enough to cope
with challenges in this new country. I can now say when the opportunity comes,
I will be ready. This program has also helped me to adapt to local life faster
through the relationships I've built with the other program participants. They
are a group of intelligent and diversified professionals. I wish other
newcomers may have the opportunity to benefit from such a program."

    About YMCA

    The YMCA of Greater Vancouver's mission is to support the growth of
people in spirit, mind and body and to foster a sense of responsibility to
each other and the global community. As a values-based charity dedicated to
building strong kids, strong families and strong communities, the YMCA of
Greater Vancouver served over 64,000 people of all ages, cultural backgrounds
and economic circumstances across the Lower Mainland in 2008. The YMCA offers
diverse programs at 138 locations throughout the region including child care,
health and wellness, camps, employment, and international and community
development. To learn more, visit www.vanymca.org.

    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 World Markets Children's Foundation and United Way, we
are investing in the social and economic development of communities across the
country. In 2008, CIBC group of companies contributed more than $36 million
worldwide to charitable and nonprofit initiatives. Of this, more than $27
million was invested in Canada to support national, regional and local
organizations. To learn more, visit www.cibc.com/pas

For further information:

For further information: YMCA: Signi Solmundson, Senior Manager,
Communications, (778) 558-8845, signi.solmundson@vanymca.org; CIBC: Doug
Maybee, Director, External Communications and Media Relations, (416) 980-7458,

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