May 23, 2019 | 10:00am - 11:00am EST

Collaborating for Success: Refugee Training Programs Built with Industry Insights

Thursday, May 23

10:00am-11:00am (EST) | 4:00pm-5:00pm (CEST)

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 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 Director, Emma’s Torch

Edric comes to Emma’s Torch with former research experience on issues of forced migration. For one of his award-winning undergraduate theses, he conducted ethnographic fieldwork while coordinating mental health and legal aid to asylum seekers living in the streets of Paris. Currently, he is also working to develop a Patient Navigator Program for refugees and asylees in New York City. Past roles have included advocating for Asian American political awareness and inclusion, and working as a Social Impact Designer to make affordable housing more accessible for low-income, immigrant communities in New Jersey. Edric graduated summa cum laude from Princeton University, with election to Phi Beta Kappa. He studied Anthropology and Creative Writing.


Devon Franklin, Project Manager, Hire Immigrants


In collaboration with Cities of Migration, the Immigrant Futures project presents a 3-part webinar series to bring to life the recently released report, Investing in Refugee Talent: Lessons Learned in Labour Market Integration. Read the report, and tune in 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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