ASCEND Partner Newsletter: Quarter 3, October to December, 2023

By , On , In News

With spring on the horizon and the last of the Q3 ASCEND cohorts completed, we’d like to share this short newsletter, in which we introduce 4 new program partners and share a new feature highlighting program delivery tips and wisdom from one longest-term partner organizations, Women’s Enterprise Skills Training of Windsor Inc. (WEST).   


  • Across the country, 25 ASCEND cohorts were offered by 17 unique partners organizations
    • 198 clients across Canada enrolled in ASCEND
    • 19 Francophone clients took ASCEND in French
    • 274 students from Northeastern University registered for ASCEND
    • The total program completion rate across all clients in the quarter was 73%, and has averaged 74% across the fiscal year


Four organizations joined as new ASCEND partners in the quarter!

Polycultural Immigrant & Community Services (PIACS)

Serving clients from seven locations around the GTA.

Rural Manitoba Immigrant Employment Council 

Providing rural Manitoba employers with solutions, tools, and resources they need to attract, hire, and retain qualified immigrant talent.

Association des francophones du Nord-Ouest de l’Ontario (AFNOO)

Working to ensure the development and influence of the French-speaking community in Northwestern Ontario.

Association des Francophones de la Région de York

Meeting the needs of the Francophone community in the York Region, in all its diversity.


Q&A with
Women’s Enterprise Skills Training of Windsor Inc. (WEST)

We are happy to include a new feature for the newsletter where we shine spotlight on one of our amazing partner organizations. Our hope is that through the questions and answers shared here, other partner organizations offering ASCEND will be able to learn some tips and suggestions that may be of use in their own delivery of ASCEND.

Women’s Enterprise Skills Training of Windsor Inc. (WEST), located in Windsor Ontario, was developed in 1984 as a response to disproportionately high levels of unemployment among women and the difficulties experienced by women attempting to enter the workforce. WEST has been an ASCEND partner since ASCEND launched in 2020.  In that time, multiple ASCEND cohorts have been offered at WEST. We wanted to celebrate this by taking a minute to catch up with Gloria Ledi and  Maha Majdalawi, who deliver WEST’s Empowering Women for Employment (EWE) program which includes access to ASCEND.

1–Could you briefly describe WEST’s EWE program, and any other WEST program(s) that provide ASCEND to WEST clients?

The EWE program is a comprehensive 13-week training program that consists of 8 weeks of in-class sessions and 5 weeks of invaluable work placement experience. Our program offers a holistic approach, focusing on key areas that are in high demand across various industries. The EWE program aims to create a supportive and inclusive environment where women can thrive and grow.

2–How does WEST promote ASCEND to potential clients?

We share copies of the ASCEND participants FAQ for the potential clients to have an idea about the ASCEND Curriculum and as a team we encourage clients to go through the questions and to contact us if they have any inquires.

3–Has client ‘word of mouth’ been useful in getting new clients interested in ASCEND?

Positive recommendations from our satisfied EWE clients build trust and credibility, potentially attracting new clients. Word of mouth is indeed a valuable source of new clients.

4–Over the years we have noticed consistently high completion rates from WEST clients that enroll in ASCEND. We have also noticed that many clients complete the program quite quickly (in less than 7 weeks).

Could you share how ASCEND is structured and delivered at WEST? For example, do clients complete the entire program independently on their own time, or is some of the material shared or discussed in class? Are WEST clients encouraged to complete the program within a specific time to align with other content or programming that WEST provides?

Clients complete the entire program independently in their own time. We have 10 slots in our schedule for the EWE participants to work on the self-led ASCEND modules. Each slot is around 2 hours. EWE participants have access to the laptops provided by WEST and to internet to make it easy for them to complete the modules.

Utilizing technology enhances the learning experience and makes the curriculum more dynamic and accessible.

5–Do you have any tips you could share on how WEST has been able to maintain a consistently high level of commitment and engagement in your clients completing ASCEND?

Clearly communicate the objectives of the Applied Skills curriculum and the benefits participants can gain from completing it. This helps in setting expectations and motivating individuals to actively participate.

6–How does ASCEND complement the other employment services that WEST provides to women?

ASCEND curriculum typically focuses on practical skills that are directly applicable to real-world work situations. By incorporating such a curriculum, WEST empowers newcomer women with the specific skills needed for the job market and enhancing their employability. ASCEND goes beyond entry-level skills and includes elements that promotes continuous learning and career advancement. This long-term perspective helps women not to secure initial employment but also progress in their careers over time.

7–Have you received any client feedback on ASCEND that left a positive impression on you?  

The ASCEND modules are very helpful to support the EWE clients for their future careers in Canada. Clients mentioned how informative the modules and scenarios were, this has helped them to learn about the Canadian workplace culture and they will be implementing this new knowledge when they start working in the future.

Thank you to WEST-EWE for sharing these details with our ASCEND partner network!


Where are our partners located?

On the ASCEND website there is an excellent partner reference map that showcases where ASCEND partners are located across Canada. You can access the map here:

How can you benefit from this map?

  • It allows clients interested in ASCEND within your area to find and contact you
  • It helps you identify ASCEND partners in your region, Province or Territory, which may:
    • Support a community of practice among existing ASCEND partners, and identify potential organizational partners for future funding opportunities;
    • Allow other organizations within your area to contact you directly should they have questions on your work and/or how ASCEND supports it
  • It demonstrates to funder(s) that your organization is involved in cross-Canada partnerships supporting immigrant employment


We ask each client that completes ASCEND to share their thoughts. Here is a representative sample of what we heard in Q3:

“I am very grateful to have the opportunity to participate in this program and learned a lot of valuable information about employment and workplace, especially how to balance work and life.”

“This is a very useful program, especially as I am currently looking for a job. It has uncovered many mysteries for me. For example, I had never heard of informational interviews before. When I learned about them from ASCEND, I discovered this valuable tool. At a recent workshop, I heard one of my peers talk about conducting informational interviews and achieving amazing results. Inspired by their experience, I am now eager to try the same approach.”

— Central Vancouver Island Multicultural Society (CVIMS) clients

“This course was very important for me to understand some particularities of the organizational culture of companies in Canada. Through the information I learned in this course, I am able to redefine my strategies to obtain a position in my field and achieve my professional goal in Canada.”

 Lethbridge Family Services (LFS) client

“The ASCEND program is a wonderful tool to help new immigrants finding a job and be success in their professional journey in Canada.”

 English Online client

“Great content, easy to read and understand accompanied with fun games and quizzes. Each module is equipped with pretty detailed information and exercises making learning interesting.”

 ISS of BC client

“The perfect program focused on improving newcomers’ communication and interpersonal skills in Canada. I knew pieces of information so this course helped me research Professional areas, improve my knowledge, and find a mentor.”

 Pacific Immigrant Resources Society (PIRS) client

“I must say that the Program is truly enlightening and empowering. It provides a comprehensive and insightful understanding of the Canadian job market and culture, which is immensely valuable for anyone looking to succeed in their career in Canada.”

“I really enjoyed the ASCEND program because beyond providing information about how vast and diverse the Canadian population is, and preparing me for a smooth transition into the Canadian workforce, it was a time of self reflection to identify my strength, pay attention to my weaknesses and be able to map out achievable goals towards self improvement.”

— Douglas College clients

“The ASCEND program offers a fantastic opportunity for new immigrants to enhance their employability and job skills in Canada. With a focus on personal development, career growth, and effective job strategies, this program equips participants with the tools they need to succeed in the Canadian job market. The emphasis on self-driven career growth and a comprehensive curriculum make ASCEND a valuable resource for those looking to thrive in their new professional journey.”

 Northeastern University Student

“The course is highly beneficial for new immigrants as it provides a realistic insight into the Canadian environment, culture, and society. It has been instrumental in equipping me with fundamental knowledge, enabling me to pursue employment that aligns with my abilities and expertise. Additionally, the course has enhanced my essential soft skills, ensuring not only the sustainability of my current job but also fostering opportunities for advancement in both work and career.”

 NPower client

“The ASCEND program is of high overall quality. It addresses in a pragmatic way all the technologies and topics relevant to the job search in Canada. It also goes further by providing us with valuable tools to adapt and evolve once in office, which is very significant.

The structure of the program: presentation of techniques, scenario and questions is excellent, as is the duration of the modules. In conclusion, ASCEND is a very beautiful initiative, which brings real keys to success, gives confidence and can allow to make beautiful meetings within the group of participants.”

Le Relais Francophone clients

“This training helped me a lot to learn that I am not starting from 0 in this country but that all the path I have traveled has value. This program gave me very valuable tools to apply at work.”

 Working Women Community Centre (WWCC) client

“As an ASCEND participant, I want to express my immense satisfaction and personal enrichment. This program offered me an exceptional opportunity for professional growth and skills development.”

 SDECB client

“A “Must” program for newcomers aspiring for a professional career in Canada. Will help not only in landing a suitable job, but also in career progress.”

 Progressive Intercultural Community Services (PICS) Society client

“I am trying to come back to the professional world after a long gap of 10 years. ASCEND help me understand Canadian culture and what to expect from or how to behave in work place. I loved the way it was explained in short chapters. The push to complete 1 module each week kept me going to finally complete the module on time.”

 Regina Immigrant Women’s Centre (RIWC) client

“I am incredibly grateful for the invaluable experience I gained from participating in the ASCEND program. Having lived in Canada for the past two years, I thought I had a good understanding of the employment landscape, but ASCEND opened my eyes to the intricacies of navigating the Canadian professional environment.

One of the most significant takeaways for me was the emphasis on networking. The program provided practical insights and strategies on how to build meaningful connections in the Canadian business world.

ASCEND also delved into the importance of understanding and adapting to organizational culture. This knowledge has been instrumental in helping me understand seamlessly into different work environments, which will contribute to my success in the Canadian job market.

Moreover, the program’s focus on effective communication skills has been transformative. I learned how to provide constructive feedback without causing offense, a skill that has improved my relationships both personally and professionally. The emphasis on articulating my career achievements in a way that aligns with my career goals was particularly enlightening, giving me the tools to showcase my accomplishments strategically.

In essence, ASCEND has not only broadened my understanding of the Canadian employment landscape but has equipped me with practical skills that have significantly accelerated my career development. I highly recommend ASCEND to anyone looking to not only survive but thrive in the Canadian professional world.”

— Clients Multicultural Association of Fredericton Inc. (MCAF)


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