Employment Support - DW JobNet
(Data collected from all 874 clients served from March 2016- April 2017. Approximately 80% of clients who got their first job from SAWRO show labour market progression)
Alleviating Community Poverty
An extensive community need assessment was carried out by SAWRO workers in East Danforth neighborhoods during 2009-11. Low labour force participation and employment among the women of Bangladesh immigrant families was identified as the underpinning for the poor settlement outcomes being experienced by the families, including many women being home-bound and isolated.
In 2012 SAWRO, in collaboration with COSTI Immigrant Services, launched Danforth Women’s Job Network (DW jobnet) to address the problem. The program design responded to women who said, “I need help finding a job I can immediately qualify for.” It also recognized that many women needed to find an accessible job market entry point to begin accumulating the work experience, practical labour market knowledge and job search skills which they lacked. Most importantly, SAWRO workers strategized that finding a job, even a low-paid precarious job, would enable women to begin breaking out of being home-bound and isolated.
DW jobnet provides women with all the supports they need to get a foothold in the job market, including direct hiring connections with cooperating employers. Enhanced job skills training and computer literacy/access supports are provided post-employment. The program has been a great success, with 1,200 women connected to one or more job starts since 2012. 80% of all participants have improved their labour market position over their original entry point.
Follow-up contact is maintained with program participants and repeat job connections provided when needed. This contact also enables DW jobnet workers to provide clients with counselling, information and support in accessing the other services they require to achieve their settlement and integration goals.
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.