ACHIEVING SOCIAL AND PROFESSIONAL INTEGRATION
Successful social integration goes well beyond getting back into the workforce. This is why we use an integrated approach, addressing this issue from the perspective of continuum. A continuum that starts with the women we support and carries through to the employers, whom we make aware of the benefits of integrating people who are minoritized or in vulnerable situations. From (re)building self-confidence or a support network while going through concrete steps to prepare for a return to work, to education or getting a company up and running, a team of guidance, training, employability and psychosocial professionals helps the participants in their journey, either one-on-one or in a group setting.
380 people have participated in one or several programs and initiatives provided by our employability + services.
One major difficulty we faced in offering our online services was the lack of access participants had to adequate technological resources. Thanks to generous contributions from Services Québec, TD Bank and YWCA Canada, all participants in our group programs were able to benefit from new laptops, making it easier for them to participate.
The project Where are you from? — specifically developed as an immersive, in-person experience using virtual reality headsets—was completely redesigned and people who participated in the new iteration confirm it to be an effective tool to raise awareness of unconscious biases that hamper inclusion and diversity at the workplace. Challenge met!
The S’Entreprendre program, after an interruption of a few months, has resumed its activities and has expanded its offerings to include a version in English. As for the Uniqueprogram, even if it actually took off a few months late, it is now up and running, and around ten women of immigrant background were able to start on a customized journey towards autonomy and socio-economic integration.
Unfortunately, we need to emphasize that the Shadow Pandemic* of violence against women, very much present in media coverage, also found its way into our employability services. Several participants confided that they were experiencing domestic violence, a situation rarely reported in past years. The psychosocial services we offer to complement our employability services showed themselves to be more vital than ever.
* Name coined by the UN to identify violence against women during the COVID 19 pandemic.
Even nowadays, women face many types of inequality in the workplace, several of which have been brought to the forefront with the COVID-19 pandemic.
In Montreal, 45% of women earning an income make less than $20,000 per year.1
The most common occupations for women in Montreal and the province of Quebec include administrative assistant, retail sales worker, cashier, early childhood educator and assistant, and nurse2, all occupations which have been greatly impacted by the pandemic.
In Montreal, the employment rate for women has consistently been 8% lowerthan for men for the last 10 years.
In 2017, the employment rate among women reached 57%, as compared to 65.2% for men.3
In 2014 in Quebec, the average total revenue for women working full-time, year-round, corresponds to 71.5% of men’s salaries, and almost 60% of part-time jobs are held by women.4
Since the economic downturn caused by COVID-19, women have been harder hit than men by job losses in Quebec.5
Recovery has been slower in the service sector and the small business community, where women constitute the majority of the workforce.6
Our programs are designed to make a difference in addressing these issues, whether it is through a group process or individual and personalized coaching. From job readiness to starting a business, they are designed to help women on their journey to social-economic reintegration from where they currently find themselves.
Women’s Work Integration Program
This is a 19-week job preparation program which includes basic training, group workshops and a professional internship.
Fringues & Cie
For women who are out of the labour market or have little work experience, this six-month training program in the sales and customer-service industry pays participants and is recognized by the Marguerite-Bourgeoys School Board.
ORIENTATION AND SERVICES FOR EMPLOYMENT (OSE)
One-on-one meetings with guidance counsellors, all members in good standing with their professional association, for women ready to reintegrate into the job market.
S’ENTREPRENDRE – LISE WATIER FOUNDATION
Entrepreneurial program combining intervention, training, individual and financial support.
THE LEARNING CENTRE
Customized solutions for participants looking for further training or professional development. (For example, completing the courses needed to obtain a diploma or a second language certificate for the citizenship exam).
WHERE ARE YOU FROM?
Online participatory workshops to raise awareness of inclusion and ethnocultural diversity at the workplace.
A one-on-one and customized intervention and support model, centred on five components: social protection, stabilizing livelihoods, social empowerment, financial inclusion and health and well-being, to foster socio-economic integration among immigrant women who have experienced difficult living conditions.
English subtitles available
The results of our employability + programs with respect to job placements have increased from last year, but did not reach pre-pandemic levels. Participants in the Women’s Work Integration Program were thus able to do their internship (unlike last year) and 54% of them successfully re-entered the workforce or went back to school. Furthermore, there was an increase in the number of OSE participants who returned to the workforce or to school, which brings the overall placement rate to almost 60% for the year. Lastly, the 10 participants in the first post-pandemic cohort of the Fringues & Cie program all found work.
A number of successes are worth noting for S’Entreprendre and Learning Centre participants. For the Learning Centre, we provided support to 18 women in their efforts to obtain their educational credential assessment, pass their French tests, or obtain their secondary school equivalency certificates. As for S’Entreprendre, we’d like to point out that one person purchased a technology company in the field of early childhood, 9 others participated in a virtual Christmas market, and one of them even won a silver medal in the 2021 Prix Epicures, in the category of best pepper in the world!