A city without immigrants is a city by name only. Immigrants bring forth an irreplaceable contribution to the dynamic of what makes Hamilton the city we’ve grown to know and love. They introduce diversity to our cultural spheres. They create a noticeable boost in jobs. And they are a crucial component to a growing mid-sized city. That is why it’s so important the city ensures it not only attracts immigrants, but also retains them.
“Immigrants go where opportunities are, and if Hamilton’s not really attracting immigrants, either they’re not aware of the opportunities or we’re failing as a city. So we always need to be focusing on how we’re connecting with newcomer population because that’s where a lot of the future population and labour force growth will come,” said Sarah Wayland, Project Lead for Global Hamilton at City of Hamilton.
There are about 5000 international students living in Hamilton at any given time, and a group of young professionals are working to ensure they have the tools and incentives necessary to succeed. 8 young Hamiltonians hailing from across the globe launched Global Hamilton Connect in October. Their goal: “to enable international students and young newcomers to be fully aware of and have access to opportunities in order to live, work, and play in Hamilton.”
“We just came together to forge ideas on how to better bridge international students to the community. And we talked a lot about our experiences living in Hamilton, going to school in Hamilton, and graduating and trying to find work, and becoming a part of the community,” said Huyen Dam, Co-Chair of Global Hamilton Connect.
“Our goal is to get students to think outside of their campuses so that when they’ve graduated, they have people to connect with.”
The group works to host events each month that allow students to engage in various aspects of the city, as well as the community. Their first event, held last month, connected students to the wild roots of Hamilton’s Bruce Trail.
This month, the group hosted a workshop featuring guest speaker Ryan Moran, the former chair of Hamilton HIVE. The event narrowed in on building and managing your network to optimize personal branding and increase opportunities in the labour market.
Further information on GHC can be found on Facebook, or on their website at globalhamiltonconnect.ca.