Special Issue 2019, Article 2 from Series of 5: Empowering African-Canadian Career Excellence

CEDEC CEDEC
International Journal of Community Development and Management Studies  •  Volume 3  •  2019  •  pp. 131-155
Aim and Purpose:
The African-Canadian Career Excellence (ACCE) initiative was developed to address the loss of highly-educated, English-speaking Black youth from the Greater Montreal Area (Quebec, Canada) facing issues of unemployment and underemployment.

Background:
The ACCE initiative partners – African and Caribbean Synergic inter-organizational Network of Canada (ACSioN Network), Black Community Resource Center (BCRC) and Community Economic Development and Employability Corporation (CEDEC) – worked to mitigate the exodus of educated Black youth through building their professional capacities to attain meaningful, sustainable local employment; encouraging their contribution to Quebec’s vitality, and assisting employers to diversify their workforce.

Methodology:
The Black undergraduate students of African descent who were surveyed were English-speaking youth from the Greater Montreal Area; these included Canadian citizens, landed immigrants and temporary and permanent residents. Survey respondents will be referred to as Black African undergraduate students for the remainder of this article. In the 2011-2012 academic year, Black African undergraduate students from five Montreal post-secondary institutions were surveyed. On-campus promotion and in-person solicitation resulted in a non-random convenience sample of 92 individuals. Data from the 34 categorical and open-ended questions in an English-language online survey were analysed using SurveyMonkey, Microsoft Excel and SPSS.

Contribution:
Montreal's English-speaking Black African undergraduate students represent an under-documented demographic in migration studies, specifically in terms of career plans, workplace skills, career path, employment resource awareness and discrimination.
This portrait highlights the experience and career expectations of Montreal Black African undergraduate youth and is relevant within the contexts of Black history, community development, skills and career development, education and employment.

Findings:
These results suggest that English-speaking Black African undergraduates expected to follow an appropriate career path in their desired field by attaining meaningful and sustainable local employment commensurate with their skills. Many of these youth were not able to access the same career opportunities as their peers, and therefore left before fully participating in Quebec’s economy.

Recommendation for Practitioner:
This article suggests that businesses seeking to diversify their workforce can collaborate with public institutions and civil society organizations to better prepare and integrate Montreal’s skilled Black African youth. It is suggested that career-advancement training focus on addressing job security and skills gap concerns, in addition to awareness of discrimination in the workplace and strategies for identifying and redressing the situation.

Recommendation for Researcher:
Future research could be conducted within the same Montreal population to compare the findings a decade later. Subsequent outreach to targeted employers might reveal progress and additional recommendations in diversifying their workplace.

Impact on Society:
Collaboration among public institutions, private businesses and civil society organizations can lead to increased integration of Black African youth into the labor market.
African-Canadian, Black-African youth, multiculturalism, Quebecers, English-speaking, discrimination, systemic discrimination, employability, workforce development, labor force development, community economic development, labor market, skills gap, diversify, diversity, recruitment strategy, public policy, African issues
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