Newcomer Centre of Peel
(3 members – Manjula Gopal, Neil Harris, Tetyana Maksymenko.)
The Rural Employment Initiative (REI) team is a unique team that was created and developed at the Newcomer Centre of Peel 6 years ago to streamline immigrant settlement by assisting rural communities in developing and implementing newcomer attraction and retention strategies and facilitating the movement of immigrants from metropolitan GTA to rural Ontario. This work provides a lifeline to rural communities and their economies.
Settlement is always very complex and rural settlement has even more challenges and it requires the 3 members of the team to work together on every initiative, and to do so successfully, they all have to wear multiple hats and undertake tremendous responsibility to successfully re-settle a person or family and complex groundwork to be laid. Over the last two years the team has made tremendous contributions, getting a daunting amount of work done that goes into each activity/event from brainstorming, planning, collaboration with rural stakeholders, marketing, vetting of clients and a hundred other tasks. Our bus tours for example, take 40-50 newcomers from the Region of Peel, to destinations across Ontario where REI has organized employers and many rural community stakeholders to receive the bus tour visitors and to sell the benefits of their area and why re-settlement in their communities is a positive change. If they are not actively working with clients one-on-one, they are speaking to large groups of internal clients about the advantages of rural life or working with regions to promote the benefits and lifestyle they offer.
All 3 team members work together to make these complex and intimidating events a possibility, so they can give their clients better opportunities to work and live in Ontario. Between 2019 – August 2022 4500+ Clients have received direct rural employment supports and were introduced to opportunities in Rural Ontario. Even through Covid, the REI team continued to be creative and work hard to engage their rural partners and build networks and possible landing spots for the hundreds of clients seeking their services.
The REI team uses all their skills, creativity and determination to build sustainable settlement opportunities outside of the GTA, across all of Ontario for any newcomer client willing to move beyond the borders of the known cities. The REI team does their job so well because of their ability to work together, their passion, dedication and belief in what they do.