The Chang School's Patricia O'Connor to be recognized at TRIEC's Third Annual Immigrant Success Awards

    TORONTO, Jan. 15 /CNW/ - Ryerson University's G. Raymond Chang School of
Continuing Education is pleased to announce that Patricia O'Connor,
coordinator of field programming for the Internationally Educated Social Work
Professionals (IESW) Bridging Program will receive the Toronto Star Immigrant
Champion Award. As part of the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council's
(TRIEC) third annual Immigrant Success Awards, the recognition is given to a
local champion who makes a positive difference by assisting skilled immigrants
with their entry and development in the workforce.
    The IESW Bridging Program provides a range of supports, including
individual consultations, training, mentorship, and supervised work placements
for qualified social work professionals who were educated outside of Canada.
    "Patricia has been the catalyst behind many successful initiatives at The
Chang School," says Phil Schalm, program director for the Gateway for
International Professionals at The Chang School. "Her dedication to helping
students build a professional network has been instrumental in internationally
educated social workers finding meaningful employment and staying connected
throughout their careers."
    Since the program began in 2005, over 90 percent of graduates of the
Certificate in Canadian Social Work Practice have found employment in the
social work field within a year of graduating - everything from child welfare
agencies and women's shelters to hospitals. Graduates are working in many
communities, including London, Hamilton, Brantford, Peel, York, and Toronto.
    "After enrolling in the IESW program, I felt for the first time in a long
time that nobody was judging or doubting me, and I met social workers from
other countries and realized I was not alone. It was a turning point," says
Christine Okech, graduate of the Certificate in Canadian Social Work Practice,
IESW. "I nominated Patricia for this award because of the impact she had on me
and my fellow participants - she is truly an advocate for internationally
educated social workers in Toronto."
    In Toronto, where close to 50 percent of the population was born outside
of Canada, it's important that internationally educated social workers have
the opportunity to be working in their profession as quickly as possible.
    "Patricia's contribution to the Gateway for International Professionals
has helped us solidify our position as a leading provider of university-level
education and workplace training for internationally educated professionals,"
says Julia E. Hanigsberg, interim dean of The Chang School. "Our programs are
proven to help these highly skilled professionals get into the workforce
quickly and at a level that is consistent with their previous experience."
    The third annual Immigrant Success Awards recognize employers and
individuals in the Toronto Region that are leaders in recruiting, retaining,
and promoting skilled immigrants in the workplace. A special awards ceremony
will be held on January 19, 2009, at the Royal Bank of Canada, 200 Bay Street,
South Tower, 40th Floor, Toronto, ON.

    About The Chang School's Gateway for International Professionals

    Ryerson University's G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education
( is at the forefront of developing bridging programs to
help new Canadians enter the labour market more efficiently so they can
contribute to Ontario's growth most effectively. Through funding provided by
the Government of Ontario and the Government of Canada, the Internationally
Educated Social Work Professionals (IESW) Bridging Program is one of several
bridging programs offered by The Chang School. Other programs include
accounting, dietetics, finance, midwifery, nursing, and professional

    About TRIEC

    The Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC) ( is
working to remove the barriers immigrants face when entering the labour
market, while at the same time helping organizations benefit from the talents
and skills immigrants bring with them to Canada. Since 2003, TRIEC has
collaborated with a diverse group of stakeholders to find and implement local,
practical solutions that lead to meaningful employment for skilled immigrants
in the Toronto Region.

For further information:

For further information: Sarah Hall, (416) 929-7740,; or Leah Gaucher, (416) 929-2052,

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Ryerson University's The Chang School

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