ADED 3P41 Community Development

MicroSkills

About

Community MicroSkills Development Centre is a multicultural, non-profit, community-based organization that has served communities in Toronto and surrounding areas since 1984. One of the most challenging things for immigrants is make a new place “home.”  They help immigrants assimilate by providing settlement, employment, and self-employment services, with priority to the needs of immigrants, youth, visible minority people, and low-income women.  The programs in their key service areas help the client community achieve economic self-sufficiency, participate actively in community life, and make a productive contribution to Canadian society.  The programs focus on developing clients’ skills, increasing their information base, and facilitating opportunities for them to transfer their skills and knowledge to the Canadian workforce.

 

Vision & Mission

MicroSkills’ vision is to help individuals build a better future.

This goal, as stated on their website, is achieved by:

  • Leading the way with relevant, quality services to clients.
  • Maintaining service excellence and conducting business with integrity.
  • Continually developing and motivating staff.
  • Constantly growing and improving programs.
  • Developing and maintaining relationships in the community.

Recognizing barriers that immigrants, racial minority, youth and women face in their efforts towards self-sufficiency, MicroSkills training, counselling, support and referrals to enable them to participate more fully in Canadian society and assist them in acquiring the skills needed to achieve self-determination and economic, social and political equality.

 

Services

In the quest to achieve their stated vision and mission, MicroSkills provides assistance in the the following service areas to their client community:

Women’s Services.  The clientele includes immigrant, refugee, and racial minority women with little or no work experience; underemployed women; single mothers on social assistance; women with little or no income; women who have been out of the workforce; Immigrant women whose credentials are not recognized; and women who have experienced violence. They help these women to improve their career and life opportunities and achieve financial self-sufficiency and self-reliance.  The following programs, training and workshops are designed to facilitate these goals:

  • Information Technology
  • Self-Employment
  • Women in Trades
  • Horticultural Technician
  • Employment Services
  • Support Services
  • Business Expansion

Newcomer Services.  This program makes it easier for newcomers to integrate socially and economically into Canadian society. Immigrants, refugees, recent arrivals to Canada and longer-term residents are able to access the services at multiple locations to help them participate fully in their new surroundings.  The program includes English Language training programs, job search assistance, mentorship and a bridge to work program for those who are internationally trained and must meet Canadian criteria for their profession.

 

Employment Services.  This program is designed to help clients find sustainable employment. It offers resources, supports and services to guide individuals on the path to higher skills training and employment.

Youth and Children Services.  This program provides child minding, youth drop-in and group homework help, and guidance to youth in identifying goals, selecting education or training options and looking for employment.

 

Community Development & Resident Engagement.  Through a program called Action for Neighborhood Change (ANC), MicroSkills helps residents in Rexdale work towards change in their community that matters to them.  They plan community events and provide leadership skills and opportunities to those who are interested.  Through the ANC residents can secure funding to initiate and support resident-led neighborhood projects.

 

Relation to the Definition of Community

Brown and Hannis (2012) states that “when our communities are not strong, individuals feel weaker.  Conversely, when communities are strong, individuals can feel more powerful.  The relationship between individuals and their communities is a symbiotic one; they nurture each other continuously (Lee, 199)” p. 3. The area that MicroSkills support is quite diverse with a lot of immigrants, people who have left homes to make a new place their home.  An important part of this transition is a sense of belonging, independence and feeling fulfilled because you are able to make a positive contribution.  The vision, mission and programs of MicroSkills work to facilitate these achievements for their clients.

As a community-based organization, MicroSkills builds up individuals who then build up the community in this symbiotic relationship.  The organization’s support system helps to prevents the loss of positive self-image and a feeling of helplessness and loss of power that often causes degradation in communities (p.3).  As a “collection of people who have become aware of some problem or some broad goal,” MicroSkills serves to “achieve the formulated group objective” of empowering its client community.

The objectives and programs of MicroSkills also help to form social capital of bonding, bridging and linkage.  Through their network of activities, training,mentorsip, counselling, supports and referrals, they foster relations within the community; they form ties with other communities; and they form alliances with other institutions (Brown and Hannis, 2012, p.4).

 

Political Ideology

“In its classic sense, conservatism includes a commitment by a government to look after the social and economic well-being of its people” (Brown and Hannis, 2012, p. 32).

This is the mandate of the MicroSkills organization, to ensure there is no social or economic lack in the community so that they may be positive contributors to their society.  After all, our country is a reflection of our communities, and our communities are a reflection of the individuals that make it up.

 

Principles of Adult Education

“Education as a key to social change” is instrumental in the operations of MicroSkills.  Their support of the community is steeped in training that provides empowerment and enablement to clients —  from the young to the old (Brown and Hannis, 2012, p. 37).  This is achieved through facilities such as the childminding programs, the youth drop-ins and the bridging for the internationally trained professionals who must attain Canadian criteria for certification.

 

New Inclusion and Surrounding Community

My review of MicroSkills shows that its arm is far-reaching.  The not only serve one locale but they have several locations across the GTA.  In each station they provide the same type of service to the diverse population that need their services.  They have several locations — East, West and Central that operate with the same mandate and are strategically placed where there is a diverse ethnic community that need their services to make Canada home.

 

References

Brown, J.D. & Hannis, D. (2012).  Community development in Canada.  Toronto, ON.  Pearson Canada Inc.

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