Ongoing Project:

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

Researchers: Catherine Bryan1, Serperi Sevgur1, 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


Objective: This study aims to provide a robust account of ISANS’ Immigrant Youth Employability (IYE) Program, its outcomes, and benefits, while also identifying ways in which it can be strengthened

Justification: IYE is a 30-week newcomer youth employment program offering classroom learning (300 hours) and on-the-job training (600 hours) across a range of sectors. Though anecdotally evidenced, IYE’s success has not been systematically demonstrated. Generating qualitative and quantitative data, this study will provide a robust account of IYE, its outcomes, and benefits, while identifying ways it can be strengthened. 

Practical goal: to provide systematic support for IYE’s success and provide insight into how employment-focused settlement services support newcomers’ labour market integration.

Primary audience: policy makers, service providers, employers, sectoral associations, newcomers, and community members


This study uses a mixed methods approach to data collection. This involves a close read of existing ISANS’ IYE enrollment and evaluation data, including age, gender, place-of-origin, legal status at arrival, language proficiency, educational background (and interruptions), previous employment experience, and family configuration. A survey circulated to all 108 IYE youth participants will provide quantitative data on participant perception of IYE effectiveness vis-à-vis their employment in Nova Scotia and will trace their employment trajectories before, during, and after program completion. Finally, interviews with youth participants, employers, and key IYE stakeholders at ISANS will provide qualitative detail into the program.

This study asks the following questions:

  1. Who are IYE participants (youth and employers) and what are their rationale for participating?

  2. What are the experiences of youth and employer participants of IYE?

  3. From the vantage point of youth participants, but also as reflected in their employment trajectory, what is the impact of IYE on labour market integration?

  4. Are participants satisfied with IYE?

  5. How can IYE be improved for future learners?

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