Alumna creates program to connect internationally-trained professional women immigrating to Canada with employers

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Woman with dark curly fair smiling wearing a black top and necklaceAfter working in journalism for more than two decades, Alma Betancourth, MEd ’22, stumbled upon a new career path.

Betancourth is currently a Manager of Employment Initiatives, a position that sees her working with both sides: job seekers from local communities, and employers who are looking for good candidates. She guides the process for both sides, providing them with resources, information, training, and even one-on-one coaching, to give job seekers a better chance at succeeding and staying on their job.

Betancourth researched University options for her master’s across Canada, including Ontario where she lived, and she found she kept coming back to the Master of Education offered by the Okanagan School of Education.

“The program had the three elements I felt would be best applied to my work: a focus on diversity issues, digital learning — which was important to me coming from broadcast and online journalism — and leadership,” says Betancourth. “I felt those three elements would be the best formula to further the work I wanted to do as an Employment Counsellor and Trainer/Facilitator, and also design better programs and curriculum for our job seekers.”

For her capstone project, Pathway to Employment for Internationally-Trained Professional Women, Betancourth designed a hybrid program to guide internationally trained professional women, who arrive in Canada as new immigrants, to best strategize their job search for suitable employment. The program includes a practicum component with an employer in their field to assist with creating connections and enhancing their learning.

“It pained me to see how qualified and experienced these women were, and even if they were the ones who had better qualifications compared to their spouse — if they were immigrating as a couple — there were little or no opportunities for them,” says Betancourth.

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