Global Talent Bridge Partner Blog

News on practice and policy affecting internationally trained immigrants and refugees

Toronto: Signature Event Features Communities, Partners Working Together

Thursday June 20, 2019 | by WES Global Talent Bridge

The 2019 Skilled Immigrant Integration Project convening in Toronto. Photos by Anthony Castro


At a three-day conference in Toronto earlier this month, WES Global Talent Bridge and its national partners hosted representatives from all of the eight 2019 community cohorts in the Skilled Immigrant Integration Program, as well as representatives from some of the 2018 communities. The Toronto setting provided the opportunity for U.S. participants to learn best practices from Canadian partners. Participants shared experiences and attended sessions designed to support them in their work to help fully integrate immigrants into the U.S. workforce.

Members of the Global Talent Bridge team shared some of their impressions from the convening. (Comments from community and partnership participants will be shared in a future blog post.)

“I loved seeing the synergy between the 2018 and 2019 cohorts in the Program. Everyone came eager to learn and share. Those connections are so important to help grow the field of skilled immigrant integration.” – Katherine Gebremedhin, director, Partnerships and Program Development

“The biggest takeaway is how much energy and enthusiasm there is among our community partners. They are keen to identify ways to support the immigrants in their communities and help them find meaningful employment and enable them to contribute fully. And they were really eager to learn from all the experts in the room, as well as from each other.” – Paul Feltman, deputy executive director, WES

“The Program is an opportunity for practitioners who have layered responsibilities to have a focused discussion on skilled immigrant integration. Dialogue on best-practices, brainstorm on practical solutions based on experience and connect with partners across the U.S. and the skilled immigrant integration community of practice locally. Seeing strangers become colleagues over a period of three days is a huge takeaway for me.” – Senay Gebremedhin, program manager

“A highlight of the convening were the group visits to area government and community organizations. My group was wowed by the goings on at the Scadding Court Community Center, where they are encouraging and supporting immigrant integration into the local economies. What an inspiring demonstration of what can happen when people from the various puzzle pieces come together.” – Morris Ardoin, director, Communication and Marketing

“There is such a diverse group of stakeholders in each community! Each person I met brings a wealth of experience to the table coupled with a strong commitment to serving their communities. Those receiving as well as those offering technical assistance learned a lot – we arrived energized and left inspired!” – Stacey Simon, director IMPRINT

“It is amazing to see the growth and expansion of the SIIP convening in just one year and how important the knowledge exchange is in driving the momentum forward for each community. In addition to the participants being eager to learn, they did it with such openness and curiosity, which created a great environment and allowed local communities or state challenges and concerns to be addressed by the collective. The convening allowed delegates to hear and see first-hand examples of successful programs and best practices in both Canada and the U.S. which is a sign that anything is possible if we work together.” – Sarah Hua, program manager

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