New ISANS program tries to help immigrant women advance careers

New ISANS program tries to help immigrant women advance careers

A new program through the Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS) aims to help immigrant women in professional fields advance in their careers.

The project, called “Moving Up Underemployed Professional Immigrant Women,” will use about $187,000 in federal government funding to study what barriers immigrant women employed in high-skilled fields, like medicine and engineering, face and how those can be overcome.

“Over the next two years we’re going to be working with professional immigrant women who are both already in the workplace and those who are trying to get into the workplace, and employers to kind of identify what are some of the obstacles and challenges,” said Claudette Legault, director of programs and services for ISANS.

"Sometimes they are able to get into the workforce, but ... they're not promoted to supervisor, they don't become project managers. So what is it about that?"

Kellie Leitch, federal minister of the status of women, was in Halifax to announce the project’s funding.

“We know that these women have enormous talents and they’re an untapped resource and what we’re doing here is facilitating that access to allowing large companies and smaller companies to know what their talents are so that they take them up,” said Leitch.

ISANS has not yet confirmed the immigrant women or companies with which they’ll be working. The goal is to establish working groups to look at what skills immigrant women need to get promoted in their professional fields, as well as identifying what companies could do better to facilitate this process.

With funding now secured, ISANS plans to move ahead with the first stages of the program in the coming weeks.