Manitoba Start provides valuable service

By Flor Marcelino, MLA for Logan

As published in The Times January 16, 2017

A valuable organization, located in the heart of Downtown Winnipeg, Manitoba Start helps new Manitobans find good jobs. Since 2010, Manitoba Start has assisted more than 30,000 newcomers — mostly coming to the province through the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program.

Manitoba Start has always had a strong focus on the labour market, helping people transition quickly so they can hit the ground running. They help new immigrants adapt to our local workforce with resume workshops, career coaching, and tips about workplace culture, along with several great tools to help them settle well.

Newcomers often face unique challenges beyond lining their skills up with the workforce, like learning a new language, culture, and just getting used to living in a very different part of the world. Upon arrival, providing wrap-around support to new immigrants aids in smooth transition to their new life in Manitoba. Manitoba Start maintains a relationship with newcomers, keeps track of their progress and connects them with other organizations when needed.

Manitoba Start also works hand in hand with many of the amazing employers here in Manitoba who have acknowledged that newcomers are hardworking and enthusiastic. It offers employers diversity and culture training similar to what newcomers take during their orientation sessions. Manitoba Start also uses opportunities, like career fairs, to connect employers with prospective employees.

Manitoba has the most successful provincial immigration program in Canada. Across the country, people recognize our nomination program as the gold standard. We have a high 80-plus per cent retention rate, and up to 98 per cent of newcomers are employed within their first year here.

Recently, the government announced it will be introducing a $500 non-refundable fee for applicants to the Provincial Nominee Program. We believe this move, along with other changes to the application criteria, will reduce the number of applicants to the program. Some 130,000 people from many countries of the world have made Manitoba their new home over the past 10 years. The Conference Board of Canada acknowledged that "immigration schemes, such as the Provincial Nominee Program, have been successful in luring workers to settle in places such as Manitoba."

The good folks at Manitoba Start work hard every day provide programming and services to immigrants and refugees to our province. Thank you to the staff and volunteers at Manitoba Start for the positive mark they have left — and continue to leave — on our community.

If you have any questions feel free to get in touch with me at Flor.Marcelino@yourmanitoba.ca or call my constituency office at 204-788-0800.