Newcomers’ economic integration is not only impacted by their opportunities and barriers but also by their career goals and how these change through their settlement process. Past research at NorQuest College has shown that students’ career goals change from their point of registration to when they exit the program. These career goals define LINC alumni’s steps after LINC, influencing their economic outcomes. However, there is limited research into the common trajectories of career goal changes and into what factors influence the change process among immigrants in language training programs. This research aims to answer these questions by identifying and analyzing the career goal pathways of LINC students at NorQuest College and other LINC providers in the Edmonton region.
Research objectives: First, to understand the common pathways of newcomers’ career goals as they progress through the LINC program. Second, to identify common pathways changes for newcomers as they progress through LINC and the settlement process. Third, to identify how the LINC program and other factors impact goal pathways. Our research questions are: (1) What are the different types of pathways of newcomers’ career goals? (2) How do these pathways differ across newcomers in different stages of the settlement process? (3) How does the LINC program and other factors influence the pathways of students’ goals? (4) What areas (services, programming, etc.) help students through the process of setting/changing goals? (5) Does the rate of language acquisition have an influence on student goal changes?
Methodology: We will employ both qualitative and quantitative research methods to answer our research questions. First, we will examine existing data from LINC records, which track students’ goal careers from the moment of registration and throughout the program. Using National Occupation Codes (NOC) for each occupation provided by students, we will measure the extent at which students’ career goals change and how they increase or decrease in terms of educational requirements. The availability of data at different points in time will also allow us to identify patterns in students’ goal career changes and establish a map of common patterns.
Second, we will gain an in-depth understanding of these different pathways by conducting detailed interviews with current and past LINC students about their career goals and the factors that caused them to retain or change their career goals. To ensure a high quality of the data collected, interviews will be conducted in the primary language of the participants and then translated into English. Data from these interviews will be analyzed using A. Frank’s narrative inquiry approach. Narrative inquiry will allow us to identify both the typologies of newcomers’ goals pathway changes (i.e., common stories of pathway change experiences) and the meaning making behind when goals change or why they remain the same.