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Toronto Community Employment Services can help you succeed and find your place in the growing digital economy.

One of the most pronounced effects of the coronavirus pandemic is the way in which it has dramatically accelerated the shift from in-person services and traditional office workspaces to an online, fully digital workforce. This shift has transformed the employment landscape and while many workers were able to transition to a digital workforce relatively seamlessly, for many Canadians it was a struggle. Not everyone has access to technology and resources that can plug them into the job market. In a digital world, those without computers and internet access can’t find or perform many of the jobs that require online access, nor do they have the opportunity to attend vital virtual networking events or skill upgrade courses.

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented new employment challenges

“Virtual interviews, virtual workshops, and virtual training for virtual tools —despite all of the technologies we have at our fingertips, we still have individuals falling through the cracks,” says Wilfred Tang, a Communications Specialist at Toronto Community Employment Services.

Internet and cellular data plans are unaffordable to individuals with no source of income. There’s a digital divide between those who have access and those who don’t. There are programs to help bridge the digital divide, but the gap grew drastically with COVID prevention measures, which included the closures of libraries, schools, and other community resources where individuals could get access to computers, printers, and the internet.”

Fortunately, there’s a place to turn for GTA job-seekers: Toronto Community Employment Services (TCES). TCES is a non-profit charitable organization that has been serving the employment and training needs of the GTA since 1978. The organization serves diverse communities, assisting individuals with training, finding work, and even helping employers recruit candidates for their businesses.

“TCES acts as a pointer and source of referral for individuals who require access,” explains Tang. “TCES is not just an employment agency for jobs — we take a holistic approach to job-hunting and assist job-seekers in all aspects of their employment needs. These needs can range from training, internet access, professional clothing access, Ontario Works referrals, and Second Career assessments to the usual resume, interview, and job placement assistance.”

Responding to community needs with targeted services

TCES has responded quickly to the new emphasis on digital employment. “We currently have a host of digital job search workshops available to anyone residing in Ontario,” says Dr. Kamuran Tibik, Employment Specialist at TCES. “Due to moving our services online, we’ve now expanded the range of clients we can serve. Before, clients had to live within commuting distance of our office at Yonge and Eglinton, but now we’re able to serve anyone from Oakville or Orangeville to Ajax or Pickering. Once the pandemic is over, we’ll likely continue with our expanded job-seeker range, as virtual work is here to stay.”

Dr. Tibik also points out that TCES has even expanded the breadth and reach of its services. “We’ve expanded and increased our services to individuals who are in the process of getting their refugee status or about to get their permanent residency status, while before you had to have an active permanent residency card in order to access our full employment services,” she says.

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