Grey and Bruce Counties are joining forces to address newcomer integration and employment needs in the region. The two counties have received funding through Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada to form a Local Immigration Partnership and hire a coordinator. The partnership will help create a more welcoming environment for newcomers by bringing together various settlement programs and institutions to share knowledge and develop resources. Melissa Avedesian will begin in the coordinator role on July 6, 2020.
“Newcomers to Grey and Bruce bring skills and knowledge to our communities and they are an important part of our future,” said Grey County Warden Paul McQueen. “As our population continues to age out of the workforce, it’s important that we have resources available to help our newcomers settle in our region and call Grey and Bruce Counties home.”
“Bruce County and Grey County have many of the same opportunities and challenges with newcomer attraction and retention,” said Bruce County Warden Mitch Twolan. “By working together, we can pool our resources and networks to develop a responsive and successful partnership.”
Newcomers have unique needs that can be challenging for service providers. The Local Immigration Partnership will offer support to local employers, school boards, healthcare centres, boards of trades, professional associations, ethno-cultural and faith-based organizations, social services sectors and other service providers. Specifically, the project will focus on developing community-based partnerships, enhancing access to services, improving access to jobs and local training opportunities, and promoting the benefits of diverse and multi-cultural communities. The Grey Bruce Local Immigration Partnership will also be involved in local youth retention initiatives to ensure youth newcomers have opportunities and support they need to find employment in our region.
Organizing the project will be up to the newly hired Local Immigration Partnership coordinator, Melissa Avedesian. Ms. Avedesian understands local labour challenges well, having worked previously for the Four County Labour Market Planning Board and the Town of Hanover.
"I'm excited to work with Grey and Bruce counties on such an important project. I look forward to building on the current successes in the community, while also supporting new initiatives,” said Avedesian. “In my experience working in the area, I’ve loved collaborating on projects with numerous businesses and organizations in Bruce and Grey counties. I look forward to continuing to work with these community partners in a new capacity, as well as building new relationships."
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