DWJOBNET- EMPLOYMENT AND SETTLEMENT SUPPORT
*Data above was collected from March 2018 to April 2019. Data reflects services provided to 404 unique community members, among which 209 members are new participants in the DWJobNet program, and 202 members are returning participants.
Alleviating Community Poverty
SAWRO’s day to day employment and settlement support services are delivered through the DWJobNet program. DWJobNet is a specialized employability and job connection program that is a collaboration between SAWRO and COSTI immigrant services, funded by the Ministry of Citizenship. The program was established based on the extensive community need assessment that was carried out by SAWRO in East Danforth neighborhoods during 2009-11 which indicated that the low labour force participation and employment among the women of Bangladesh immigrant families underpins the poor settlement outcomes being experienced by the families, including many women being home-bound and isolated. DWJobNet provides newcomer women with all the supports they need to get a foothold in the job market and increase their labour force attachment. The program features peer job search coaching, sharing of community labour market knowledge and direct hiring connections with cooperating employers.
Employment services have been expanded to include a growing range of “next step” services for women who face severe underemployment in precarious job sectors. DWJobNet is providing working women with career exploration and counseling; support accessing higher skilled employment and employability service providers. As with other employment services, these expanded services will feature close and ongoing follow-up contact and supports to ensure participant success.
Clients are provided all-round holistic supports over a period of time as they gradually improve their labour force participation and other labour market outcomes. We are also working closely with COSTI and organizations to increase community women’s access to services they need to succeed. In the last year, we provided newcomer immigrant women and their families support accessing housing, legal aid, educational, women/child and other social services.
An Innovative Approach Based on Utilizing Community Assets
While our community has many problems, it also has important assets. SAWRO has always considered the under-utilized talents and abilities of immigrant women to be one of the community’s most valuable assets. Women from the community are deployed in every aspect of the delivering DWjobnet services. Community women are recruited and trained as peer job developers, peer job search coaches, peer instructors and as peer outreach workers.
Another community asset deployed by DWjobnet is the labour market knowledge, hiring information and employer contacts which the community people who are already working have acquired. A key element in the success of the DWjobnet project has been accessing this community knowledge. The project maintains a network of contacts with community women who are working to gather employment and hiring information and to circulate this among the job seekers. Most of our employment hiring information and employer connections come from our contacts among women who are already working. SAWRO’s deep connections and trust among the community people makes this approach possible.