More UWindsor graduates will launch their careers right here in Windsor-Essex thanks to a new job-placement program that offers grants to help offset salaries.
The University of Windsor is partnering with Invest WindsorEssex and the Canadian Career Apprenticeship Initiative on the program to help undergraduate students in the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences land their first jobs upon graduation.
Invest WindsorEssex will recruit employers wanting to hire a FAHSS grad into a full-time, permanent position, and UWindsor’s office of Career Development and Experiential Learning will match students to those positions. The Canadian Career Apprenticeship Initiative will donate up to $16,000 per placement to cover one-third of the first year of salary.
To be called the Windsor-Essex Career Apprenticeship Program, the project has multiple benefits, said Cheryl Collier, dean of FAHSS.
“This program helps enable our students to land their first skilled jobs upon graduation and it helps employers in the area attract and retain talent,” Dr. Collier said. “We are thrilled to be part of this program. It’s a win for our students, for local employers and for the region’s economy.”
In this first year of the program, Invest WindsorEssex will recruit only enough local employers to offer placements to 10 FAHSS grads. A not-for-profit organization supported by the City of Windsor and County of Essex, Invest WindsorEssex finds ways to grow and sustain prosperity in the region through economic development.
“Retaining and attracting young talent is critical to the economic stability of our region,” said Stephen MacKenzie, president and CEO of Invest WindsorEssex.
“Invest WindsorEssex is proud to be partnering with the University of Windsor to offer the Windsor-Essex Career Apprenticeship program to our community. Supported by the Canadian Career Apprenticeship Initiative Foundation, this program will help to establish careers for new graduates while ensuring a strong talent pipeline for Windsor-Essex companies.”
The program has been successful in other cities where pilot programs have been launched, said Alan Rottenburg, founder of the Canadian Career Apprenticeship Initiative.
“Arts graduates across Canada face a difficult challenge in securing their first career full-time job. At the same time, many of our communities are desperately seeking to retain and attract young talent,” Rottenburg said.
“We at CCAI have been successfully addressing these issues through our apprenticeship model and we know that the pilot launched by the partnership between the University of Windsor and Invest Windsor-Essex will be an important step in supporting the Windsor-Essex region in doing the same.”
Employers and graduates commit to a placement of at least one year and the Canadian Career Apprenticeship Initiative covers four months’ wages. The hope is the employer will keep the graduate on after the year, or the graduate will move on with a stronger resume to another local company.
Students must be graduating from an undergraduate program this spring and be legally eligible to work full-time in Canada. Workplaces must be located in Windsor-Essex and have at least seven employees.
About 1,000 students graduate from FAHSS each year. As is the case with many universities in mid-sized cities, those graduates often move to larger centres to find work. This apprenticeship program aims to boost local opportunities by helping employers hire UWindsor grads, said Kerri Zold, acting co-executive director of experiential learning.
“With the creativity, communication, and critical thinking skills they develop in UWindsor’s FAHSS programs, these future young professionals have a lot to offer,” Zold said.
“We’re thrilled to be part of this initiative to build awareness among local employers about this career-ready talent pool while supporting our graduates to launch their careers right here in Windsor-Essex.”
The Office of Career Development and Experiential Learning will co-ordinate the job posting and matching process through the mySuccess website. Zold said students can get help with resumes, cover letters, and interview preparation. Grads placed through the program will also have access to a mentor from outside the company that hired them.
For more information about the program, visit the program website at www.uwindsor.ca/career-development-experiential/1064/wecap.