When it first opened its doors in 1945, Jewish Vocational Services (JVS) was primarily aimed at Canadian war veterans returning home and displaced persons arriving from Europe, who were seeking employment. But it wasn’t long before JVS became a leader in career training, job placement and professional development services—and was also ahead of the curve when it came to recognizing the evolving socio-economic needs of the community they served.
For instance, in the 1970’s a mature worker program was created with federal funding to support unemployed persons over the age of 45. A mature women’s career counselling program was also developed to support the increasing number of women (many of whom were single mothers) entering or re-entering the workforce. Staff at JVS learned to adapt to the specific cultural, linguistic and practical needs of different Jewish populations. It’s something our staff—in what is now Ometz Employment Services—continue to do to this day.
As you’ll learn from this issue of Onews, whether you’re a new immigrant looking to gain work experience, an entrepreneur seeking mentorship advice or someone with an intellectual disability ready for your first career challenge—you have come to the right place.
But we can’t do it alone. It is thanks to our generous partners at Emploi-Québec that we are able to offer employability programs for people 45 and over, as well as those with mental health diagnoses, learning and intellectual disabilities and autism spectrum disorders. And we are grateful to our friends at Community Foundations of Canada who support our latest initiative, Destination Avenir, an internship program aimed at young adults with significant employment barriers due to unstable education, lack of work experience and personal life struggles.
The ultimate goals for these programs and the many other services we offer are to help ease the path to full-time employment and encourage self-sufficiency. It’s working. In the last two years since we introduced the Ometz Employment Internship Program, 81% of our interns have secured full-time permanent employment.
We thankfully have come a long way since we first opened our doors, but our mission here at Ometz remains the same: to be a source of strength and help our clients find the courage to reach their full potential. Whether supporting a student who is struggling at school, a family in crisis, an individual coping with mental illness, a person looking for a new career or starting a new life in Montreal, our clients are better equipped to cope with life’s challenges because we work together as a community.