Webinar: Collaborating for Success: Refugee Training Programs Built with In...

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Immigrant Futures Presents: Collaborating for Success: Refugee Training Programs Built with Industry Insights

May 23, 2019
9:00 CDT in Chicago
10:00 EDT in Toronto, New York
15:00 BST in London
16:00 CEST in Berlin, Barcelona

While employment is the primary indicator for economic inclusion, ultimately, employment fosters long-term integration in the broader receiving community. Through employment, refugees begin to develop important relationships with colleagues, build their soft skills and cultural knowledge through daily interactions and acquire the financial resources necessary to participate in the community outside of work. Despite the pivotal role employment plays in integration, employers and industry are often excluded from refugee program development.

The role of employers and industry is critical to ensure refugee employment programs are training refugees for available employment opportunities and the skills they develop meet the needs of industry. In our upcoming webinar, we will explore two exceptional examples of program development that captures the needs of both refugees and industry alike to create pathways to employment.

Join us on May 23, 2019, to learn about two refugee training programs that were built with industry to ensure seamless transition from training to employment. From New York City, Edric Huang will share the Emma’s Torch initiative launched in June 2016 to support refugee employment through a culinary training and licensing program. From Toronto, Merissa Preston will present the refugee training program focused on creating a talent pipeline to fill trade-related occupations.

In this webinar, you will learn about:

  • Developing partnerships with industry to ensure training programs match industry needs
  • Creating training programs that are practical and prepare refugees for the labour market
  • Lessons learned and strategies for overcoming barriers as a training facilitator and organization


Merissa Preston, Training Liasion, LiUNA Local 506 Training Centre

Merissa has over 15 years’ experience assisting persons with barriers to enter into employment, with a focus on apprenticeship and construction. Merissa started her career with JobStart in 1999 as a summer student and held various positions from frontline staff to management. In 2010 Merissa became the Coordinator of the Hammer Heads Program that supports youth from the 13 priority neighbourhoods in the City of Toronto. In 2013 Merissa joined LiUNA Local 506 Training Centre as the Partnership and Business Development Lead. Merissa works with the Training Centre team to build capacity, increase apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs and provides training to various community groups throughout the GTA. Merissa is currently on the Board of Directors of the Toronto Community Benefits Network and the Dovercourt Boys and Girls Club and is an alumnus of the Governor General’s Canadian Leadership Conference

Edric Huang, Program Associate, Emma’s Torch

Edric joined Emma's Torch as a Princeton Project 55 Fellow with research experience in refugee resettlement in France. For one of his undergraduate theses, he volunteered with two humanitarian NGOs to provide mental health and legal aid to asylum seekers living in the streets of Paris. Past roles have included advocating for Asian Americans and working as a Social Impact Designer to make affordable housing more accessible for low-income, immigrant communities in New Jersey. A native New Yorker, he is ready to uphold his home's rep as the city where dreams do come true. Edric just received his Bachelors from Princeton, where he studied Anthropology and Creative Writing.


Devon Franklin, Project Manager, Hire Immigrants

This webinar is produced in partnership with Hire Immigrants at Magnet, Ryerson University.

Technical Requirements: No cost to participate. You will need a computer with internet access and speakers. Pre-test System Requirements. Adobe Connect requires the Flash Player plugin, download version 13.0 or above to run.

Any questions? Email:

The Immigrant Futures project presents the second event in a 3-part webinar series to bring to life the recently released Hire Immigrants report,Investing in Refugee Talent: Lessons Learned in Labour Market Integration.

Tune in and come prepared with questions for the industry leaders who can help you realize the benefit of integrating refugee talent into your workplace, and your community!

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