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Allison Pond

President & CEO, ACCES Employment

Canada goes to great lengths to admit educated immigrants into the country. However, it is these very same, highly-skilled immigrants who encounter a labyrinth of obstacles when they try to find employment in their professional fields. This forces them to settle for lower-skilled positions while employers’ need for skilled talent remains unfulfilled.

Since 1986, ACCES Employment has bridged this gap by connecting internationally-trained professionals and Canadian employers. A non-profit employment organization, it works with more than 32,000 job seekers across the GTA each year by hosting workshops and occupation-specific programs for those in the engineering, financial services, IT, sales and marketing, supply chain, health care, and human resources fields, among others.

“Language and communication barriers, learning how to market their skills, and a lack of recognition by employers of their international skills and experience, are things that can challenge immigrants’ efforts to find work in their fields,” says Allison Pond, the organization’s President and CEO.

Much of its success — ACCES has an 83% placement record for its sector-specific programs — stems from the fact that it engages its business partners as volunteers, mentors, and advisors, allowing the organization to stay abreast of trends, such as the need for electrical engineers and cybersecurity experts, for example. These partnerships also support the development of innovative programs such as the highly successful Speed Mentoring® program, which connects newcomers with Canadian professionals who guide them through the system.

ACCES also works with those in the process of immigrating to Canada by preparing them for the job hunt before they even set foot on Canadian soil. “In a city where newcomers make up half the population, fully integrating internationally-trained professionals into the local job market just makes sense,” says Pond.

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