Developing Skills, Building Relationships: The Social and Employment Outcomes of ISANS’ Immigrant Youth Employability Program

Researchers: Catherine Bryan1, Serperi Sevgur1, Temitope Abiagom1 and Nabiha Atallah2
Affiliation: Dalhousie University1 and Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS)2
Research Partner: ISANS
Keywords: newcomer youth, refugee youth, labour market integration, employment, training, support, youth employment program, mixed methods research
Jump to: Full infographic, Methodology, Findings, Recommendations, Publications & Reports


Overview: This study evaluated the outcomes and benefits of ISANS’ Immigrant Youth Employability (IYE) Program —an innovative newcomer youth employment program offering a mix of classroom learning and on-the-job training. 

Objective: to gain a better understanding of who IYE participants are and what their rationales are for participating in the program; to explore the experiences of IYE participants (youth and employers); to provide a robust account of the program; and to identify ways the program can be strengthened.

Research Justification: Though anecdotally evidenced, the success of the IYE program had not been systematically demonstrated. Generating qualitative and quantitative data, this study provides a robust account of IYE, its outcomes, and benefits, while identifying ways it can be strengthened.

Infographic Excerpt

Full Infographic

Executive Summary


This study used a mixed methods design. A quantitative survey was distributed to 101 potential participants who had previously attended the IYE Program. 26 people participated in the survey, which corresponds to a 25.75% response rate, considered high for electronic surveys. Respondents’ ages ranged from 19 to 32, with the average being 25.5 years. The majority of respondents were female (73%). Time elapsed since their graduation from the IYE program ranged from 5 to 30 months, with the average being 15 months.

In-depth, in-person qualitative interviews were conducted with seven youth and four employers who had participated in the IYE Program. Interview data was analyzed using an open-ended coding approach.


Impacts of the IYE Program

Motivations to Participate in the IYE Program

Strengths of the IYE Program

Recommendations for Employment Programs

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