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Every individual has opportunities for employment

By ADMIN - February 16 2021
Every individual has opportunities for employment

How JVS Toronto’s vision is changing lives, one person and job at a time

How JVS Toronto began.

JVS Toronto was founded in 1947 by a group of Jewish business leaders to provide employment and vocational services to Holocaust survivors and veterans of the Second World War.

When JVS Toronto opened their doors more than seventy years ago, Holocaust survivors and Jewish immigrants faced prejudice and restrictive hurdles to employment and training in Canada. Workplace discrimination was high and society lacked sympathy and understanding for those who desperately needed to rebuild their lives. The need to support Holocaust survivors, Jewish immigrants and veterans of the Second World War in their search for meaningful employment was significant and urgent at the time.

JVS Toronto’s mission and leadership eventually evolved while maintaining their vision for the future – that every individual has opportunities for employment.

JVS Toronto today.

Building on their success in serving the Jewish community and the value of helping others, JVS Toronto expanded their outreach to serve the broader community.

This shift in service delivery is representative of one of JVS Toronto’s greatest strengths as an agency, and has been a key factor in helping to continuously uphold their vision 74 years later. Through the years, they have consistently identified evolving needs in the community, and rapidly adjusted service delivery to address these needs as they emerged.
Today, JVS Toronto’s success is primarily rooted in the ability to identify gaps in service delivery early on, adopt innovative solutions, and commit to continuous improvement. With each passing decade, the focus on employment services remains unchanged, and only deepens with economic fluctuations, globalization, rapidly changing technology; upping the skills and education job seekers need to stay competitive. One person and job at a time, JVS Toronto remains dedicated to changing lives through the power of employment.

What JVS Toronto accomplished last year.

Last year, JVS Toronto helped over 13,000 new individuals from various backgrounds and experiences gain access to meaningful employment. JVS Toronto has built a reputation in the community as a leader in employment services for individuals with disabilities, newcomers to Canada, at-risk youth, and mature workers. A team of dedicated, experienced and multi-disciplinary professionals are reaching out to and providing individualized service to clients facing a variety of complex barriers.

Over the past year, JVS Toronto has:

  • Served 7,350 new individuals originating from over 100 countries around the world
  • Served 3,573 youth across all programs
  • Served 992 individuals across our Jewish community funded programs
  • Delivered 459 assessments and counselling sessions in our Career, Education and Psychology division
  • Served 145 individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities in specialized employment and inclusion programs.
  • Grew their database to 6,022 employers
  • Grew their partnerships to 311 organizations internationally

Achievements and setbacks during COVID-19.

The COVID-19 pandemic is a crisis that will have a lasting impact on JVS Toronto’s clients, employees and community for years to come. As changes are forced upon all aspects of our lives, the labour market and the delivery of employment services has been significantly impacted.
At the best of times, job searching is much more than just finding the right position; it’s about overcoming a variety of barriers that stand in the way. With the many additional challenges brought on by the pandemic, individuals walk through JVS Toronto’s doors feeling demoralized, making the difficult task of finding a job even harder. For those that were already vulnerable, this crisis will bring about even greater challenges. JVS Toronto’s clients are more susceptible to stress, trauma, and fear than ever before.

However, JVS Toronto’s commitment to strengthening their services, adapting to unprecedented needs, and meeting people wherever they are in their journey to employment continues to be critical.
JVS Toronto responded quickly at the onset of the pandemic. They developed a strategy to ensure uninterrupted delivery of services virtually while protecting the health and well-being of their employees and clients. The agency quickly adopted new technology, committing to transparency, and introduced new ideas to meet client needs. This experience, while incredibly challenging at times, has been critical to JVS Toronto in building resilience as an organization. They continue to find ways to navigate new problems, be innovative in their solutions, and become stronger because of it.

As a leader in employment services, JVS Toronto is also paying close attention to the rapidly changing labour market that resulted from the pandemic and the long-term impacts this will have on the future of workplaces. While job loss is one unfortunate reality of COVID-19, many individuals in the workforce are not just doing their regular jobs, but have transformed their roles and taken on different responsibilities. The need for new skills has become apparent, particularly around technology and remote work, and this change is here to stay. With the strength and support of the community, JVS Toronto has been able to pivot and deliver new and different programs to meet new and different needs.

To ensure that the right content would be offered to assist clients throughout the pandemic, the organization introduced new and relevant workshops including Mental Health & Wellness for Teens, Start a Business from Home, Learning to Pivot: Skills for Career Adaptability to Emerge Stronger, Career Resilience in Uncertain Times, and Stress & Self Care During COVID-19. They also created blog posts that were specific to situations that people were experiencing to increase readership and followers.

Looking to the future.

As a multi-service agency with general and population specific programming, JVS Toronto participates in knowledge sharing, capacity building and research on a wide range of topics in the community. Through multi-sectoral collaborations, they ensure research in the community, program evaluation etc. is shared broadly, and that they maintain a client-centered focus to promote the interest of the target population in their community. In addition, JVS Toronto is committed to ensuring that employees across their locations relate to clients with their own lived experiences.

JVS Toronto contact information.

JVS Toronto has 9 locations across Toronto and York Region. Interested job seekers can visit www.jvstoronto.org/new-clients, contact 416-787-1151 or services@jvstoronto.org.

Volunteers can visit
www.jvstoronto.org/give-back/volunteer, contact 416-649-1636 or volunteering@jvstoronto.org.

Donations can be made at www.jvstoronto.org/donate, by phone at 416-649-1666 or email donations@jvstoronto.org.

We value your opinion. Please let us know what you think about this column. Send comments to learningcurves@hotmail.com.

The Tailor Project, JVS Toronto, 1947

Kim Coulter, JVS Toronto’s current CEO & President


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