Over time, Sage has become recognized as having expertise and programming that specifically addresses the needs of low-resourced seniors with complex needs. Low-resourced seniors are defined as those experiencing marginalization or who are hard to reach, including seniors who are: homeless or near homeless; living with a physical or mental disability; are new to Canada or are from ethno-cultural communities; providing caregiving; have limited access to family and social supports; are living with a low income or are financially challenged with limited disposable income and limited access to financial resources. There are barriers to accessing programs and services for many seniors and these issues are more pronounced for those with low resources.
The Multicultural Seniors Outreach Program has been a unique partnership between Sage and MCHB since 2006. The primary goal of the program is to seek out, reach, and enhance the well-being of at-risk immigrant and refugee seniors. It has, at its core, the intent to address the deep marginalization that immigrant and refugee seniors are experiencing within Edmonton. It is a culturally responsive form of outreach that pairs MCHB with staff and supports at Sage to help address the complex issues, including deep poverty, housing insecurity, isolation, and serious physical and mental health concerns faced by newcomer seniors.
Over the last 10 years, we have successfully illustrated a model of highly effective outreach to the most marginalized, at risk, and multi-barriered seniors of immigrant and refugee background. Through the unique connections and trusting-relationship network that the team of Multicultural Health Brokers have within their respective communities, we are able find the most invisible and isolated seniors.
Over the several (2013) years, Gateway has developed significant experience in employment for people living with disabilities. Their approach is not only to find employment for individuals, but to support both the job seeker and potential employer in building the foundation for a strong working relationship, by providing a unique set of resources and supports to the job-seeker and the employer independently, leading to successful brokering between the two groups.
They also leverage and develop the natural supports available within the workplace to ensure a real and lasting connection for the job seeker, they support an inclusive work environment. They help both employees and employers maintain long-term employment by providing ongoing support mitigate any problems as soon as they arrive. Often, a small miscommunication that might otherwise lead to the termination of employment can be easily resolved when employers and employees know they have a third-party resource to whom they can turn.
We have a three-part strategy for our employment initiative:
1. Exploration – We get to know the job seeker, discovering their likes, dislikes, skills, talents, barriers, and accommodations through a series of meetings.
2. Job Search – We find the industry that is in need of the job seeker’s skills.
3. Maintenance – We follow the job seeker and maintain communications with the job seeker and the employer. We trouble shoot and brainstorm any issues and make recommendations.We invite you to participate in sharing information about our program with your friends and family. If you have any questions please contact us.
We are proposing an innovative proof-of-concept employment brokering project for newcomer seniors, to be delivered collaboratively by the Multicultural Health Brokers Cooperative, Gateway Association and Sage Seniors Association. This project will help newcomer seniors enhance their work search skills, develop workforce connections, and secure customized employment opportunities that are responsive to the unique abilities and contexts of newcomer seniors.
What makes this a unique proof-of-concept project is that we will be taking the highly individualized and person-centered Discovery employment process developed in the developmental disability field (Callahan et al., 2001), and applying it to employment work with newcomer seniors. To the best of our knowledge, there are no programs in the province of Alberta providing employment supports that are specifically targeted to the unique needs and aspirations of newcomer seniors: there is a lack of employment and career services for seniors in general (City of Edmonton, 2017), and newcomer seniors are often at particular risk of marginalization. We are not aware of any other organizations applying the disability sector’s intensive employment process to support the employment goals of newcomers or seniors. Thus, our project will fill a gap in service for newcomer seniors, as well as test a new service delivery model for this population.
This project will involve two primary activities:
1) individual employment Discovery and job carving support for newcomer seniors,
2) cross-cultural education and bridging between newcomer seniors and employers, which includes:
- Using the person-centered approach of the Discovery model to assess the cultural knowledge that the newcomer seniors already have related to workplace culture, and helping them to transfer this knowledge to the Canadian context;
- Identifying key (workplace-related) cultural barriers and knowledge gaps, and targeting personalized training and support to address them;
- Designing and providing cultural competence training to interested employers regarding the pre- and post-migration realities, strengths, and skills of the newcomer seniors;
- Developing, with the seniors and employers, strategies for overcoming language barriers, and minimizing cross-cultural misunderstanding;
- Mentoring and coaching support to help both the newcomer seniors and employers
Outcomes for this project include:
- increased economic independence for employed newcomer seniors;
- reduced financial pressure on adult children/family members of employed newcomer seniors;
- improved intercultural understanding and workplace diversity, including increased openness to leveraging the strengths of newcomer seniors as employees.
For more information contact Oussama Youssef, Employment Broker with Newcomer Seniors Partnership Program. 780-454-0701 ext 126