Empowering Job-Seekers and Breaking the Cycle of Poverty: International Day for the Eradication of Poverty

By Julia Blackburn, Oct 16, 2023

In a world that continually grapples with socioeconomic disparities, October 17th holds specific significance as the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. This day serves as a vital platform to foster dialogue between individuals living in poverty and the broader society. Today, I want to take a moment to reflect on the challenges faced by those living in poverty, especially in Canada.

Poverty looks different for all Canadians, but it disproportionately affects minority groups. Toronto, where NPower Canada’s headquarters are located, has the highest rates of income inequality between individuals of different races. These individuals find themselves without access to resources and opportunities that could help them to break free from poverty, having to work tirelessly just to make ends meet. Women also face additional challenges to employment and prosperity. According to the Low Income Measure, 10% of women in Canada live on low incomes, often due to unique factors such as sexism, gender-based discrimination, and overrepresentation in low-paying, precarious jobs.

This year’s theme for the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty calls for universal access to decent work, and I am proud to reaffirm NPower Canada’s unwavering commitment to supporting low-income job-seekers facing systemic barriers to sustainable employment. As the cost of living continues to rise, providing underserved individuals with access to education and training becomes imperative in propelling them towards meaningful, sustainable employment. Our aim at NPower Canada is clear: we aspire to be an inclusive, equitable, and diverse organization committed to creating a workforce representative of the communities we serve, and breaking barriers in tech through free digital and professional skills training.

NPower Canada’s workforce development program equips job-seekers with in-demand digital skills, professional development, and job search support, with a focus on individuals from underserved and marginalized groups. Through our partnerships with diverse community organizations, we are also able to connect our participants to wraparound supports to assist them in other areas in their life, understanding our own limitations and ensuring that job-seekers have access to the necessary resources to thrive in both their personal and professional lives.

Over the past nine years since NPower Canada launched, I have seen the injustices and obstacles faced by marginalized people, but I have also seen their remarkable resilience, determination, and motivation to overcome these challenges to create a better future for themselves and their families. These are the stories I want to emphasize today.

Alumni Stories
Sheila had gotten comfortable with the bare minimum, too scared to try something new and start over, and not believing her capability to do so. She could not afford further education; she had used her mom’s death benefit to pay for her undergrad tuition back in Nigeria, and wasn’t sure how to finance another degree. NPower Canada helped her gain new skills and begin to envision a brighter future – and now, Sheila is employed with Scotiabank.

“I moved to Canada 4 months ago and it was such a scary experience. Being a new immigrant is life changing. Through this program, I have been given the platform to meet different people from different backgrounds and this comes with a great wealth of learning. I have made amazing friends and built an international network that would not have been possible without the NPower Canada Junior IT Analyst program.

Joseph, an experienced Data Analyst in Nigeria, faced the frustrating obstacles of having no Canadian work experience or education requirements after arriving here. Desperate to make ends meet, Joseph had to take a job as Fruit Clerk at a grocery store, leaving his career dreams unfulfilled. But Today, Joseph is working as Tech Support Specialist for Isaac Instruments.

“NPower Canada opened the door to tech and towards a first employment in the field. I think with a few professional experiences in tech, combined with additional certifications I can gain, I will definitely be able to achieve my dream job in the next ten years.” – Joseph H. W.

Melina had navigated various career sectors, from retail to banking and education. When the pandemic hit, she found herself unemployed and reliant on income assistance, unsure where to turn next. Today, she is employed as a Tier 1 Technical Support for Eastlink.

“I now have a wealth of new confidence and learned a lot about myself. My ambition has grown exponentially both during and after completing the program. I want to go as far as I can.” – Melina K.

Building a Better Future

Sheila, Joseph, and Melina are just a few of the inspiring job-seekers who have passed through our programs. On International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, NPower Canada acknowledges the challenges faced by countless Canadians, especially those from marginalized groups. More importantly, we celebrate the value in their diverse experiences and their determination to break free from the obstacles they face. We stand beside them, creating pathways to economic prosperity for Canada’s underserved communities. Together, we can make a difference and build a brighter future for all.