City of Montreal Professional Mentoring Program
City of Montreal
Each year, this program offers 50 paid six-month internships to applicants who are qualified in terms of their education and experience but who are having difficulty integrating into the workforce. Since 2006, 380 people have completed internships in various city departments and boroughs. The interns are supported by mentors who hold positions in the same line of work. The completion of the internship program is marked by a ceremony, during which officials present certificates to everyone who has taken part.
The program is aligned with the City of Montreal’s commitment to taking concrete actions that address challenges and issues related to workforce integration of groups targeted by equal-access policies. In 2016, in conjunction with the tenth anniversary, the City expanded the program by assigning it a corporate budget. This budget will enable it to keep running and double the number of interns.
The program has three goals: -To meet new immigrants’ need for relevant work experience in Canada -To prepare a new generation of Montreal civil service employees with diverse skills -To make workplaces more aware of the contributions that immigrant workers can make to improving services for residents.
In the early 2000s, highly educated immigrants were identified as having trouble finding their first job in Canada. In addition, many immigrants with university-level education faced the risk of deskilling if they accepted non-specialized jobs. In keeping with the spirit of the Montreal Declaration for Cultural Diversity and Inclusion adopted on March 22, 2004, the City of Montreal, as a major employer in the region, decided to create the Professional Mentoring program as a way of taking concrete action to address this issue.
Making a Difference:
Of the 380 interns who have participated in the program, 214 found a job soon afterward. What’s more, as of July 31st, 2006, 163 of the City’s employees were former participants in the program! Since 2006, 296 municipal employees have agreed to take part in the program as mentors. These employees underwent training in coaching and intercultural relations and learned to respect and benefit from diversity in the workplace. This has helped them to become leaders in their respective workplaces.
We have modified the program over the years to help it better reach its goals. We revised the eligibility criteria for participants to ensure that priority was given to job seekers who were having real difficulty integrating into the Canadian labour market. We improved the training offered to both mentors and interns to promote interaction that favours diversity and the development of immigrants’ skills. The program is presented to our partners so that they will view it not as an obligation, but rather as a means of skill development and workforce integration aimed at job seekers who are experiencing difficulties recognized by Emploi-Québec.
Vision for the Future:
Interns who have become City employees will be asked to share their experience and career path with various groups. Some will be featured in a video celebrating the Professional Mentoring program’s tenth anniversary (to raise public awareness of the benefits of workforce diversity in Montreal).
In order to better reflect the diversity of its population, the City of Montreal applies a preferred appointment rate when recruiting interns which favours groups that are likely to suffer from discrimination. As indicated in its posters, the five target groups are women, disabled people, First Nations people, visible minorities and ethnic minorities.
Montreal is the largest francophone city in North America. With 25,000 employees and 3,000 different types of job, the City of Montreal is the largest employer in the region, with the most diverse scope of operations.