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More Winnipeg newcomers moving away from survival jobs

16 June 2017
SEED Winnipeg (SEED) has partnered with Community Financial Counselling Services on Prosper Canada’s national Financial Empowerment Champions (FECs) project. They represent one of five FECs collectively working to improve the financial well-being of one million Canadians living on low incomes by 2020. 
We recently spoke with Carinna Rosales, Co-Director of SEED who discussed the success of their Recognition Counts program which FEC funding is allowing them to expand. Recognition Counts is also funded and supported by The Province of Manitoba, The Federal Government (ESDC and IRCC) and the Jubilee Fund.
Striving to reduce barriers 
SEED’s Recognition Counts program helps skilled newcomers make the shift from survival jobs to working in their professional field. Recognition Counts is a program that provides supports to skilled immigrants wishing to work in their fields of expertise in Manitoba. The program offers financial coaching, as well as the opportunity to apply for a loan of up to $10,000 with Assiniboine Credit Union, to help with the cost of having your qualifications recognized in Manitoba and obtaining employment in your profession or trade.
Carinna Rosales, Co-Director of SEED, says that being one of Prosper Canada’s FECs has enabled them to further expand their program so they’re able to reach more clients. “Our role as an FEC has connected us with a greater network of similar service providers. Learning from organizations that are doing similar work has deepened our understanding of the different ways financial empowerment supports are being offered. We’re using these insights to improve the program." 
Newcomers can access up to $10,000
Applying for a loan can be difficult for newcomers. SEED’s Recognition Counts program addresses this challenge by providing newcomers with a simpler process. Through a referral partner, SEED will meet with each applicant individually, and provide an initial coaching session on career path choices, educational direction and financial literacy with a focus on budget management. After a handful of these sessions, SEED counsellors will collect the Permanent Residency number and accreditations or certificates from the client’s country of origin in order to submit an application on their behalf. 
In partnership with Assiniboine Credit Union, SEED clients have the opportunity to receive a loan of up to a $10,000. Loans are flexible in that funds can be used for specific costs such as paying for exams, making tuition payments or to support their living expenses when taking a leave of absence from work to focus on their studies. 
As of March 2017, Recognition Counts has helped 74 individuals gain employment in their intended occupation and 41 in a field related to their occupation. Approximately 60 per cent of these clients possess credentials in the healthcare field and nearly a fifth were engineers by occupation before coming to Canada. 
The completion of the Recognition Counts program fosters a sense of accomplishment and pride for newcomers who access the service. Individuals graduating from the program immediately seek out ways they can contribute back to the broader community. Since the program’s launch many households in Winnipeg have been able to increase their overall household income and have grown significantly less dependent on government aid. 
Learn more about SEED Winnipeg and Recognition Counts.