This structured service learning program for professional and skilled immigrants will provide opportunities for newcomers to make community connections and gain experience in Canadian workplaces, all while improving language and intercultural communication.
Over two years, this project will develop content in response to the current gap in service learning opportunities for newcomers to Alberta and will build on provincial recommendations and findings from previous research (i.e. Cruz & Giles, 2000; Desmond et al, 2011). Participatory action research and developmental evaluation approaches will be used.
The project will benefit service learning participants and community organizations. The learners, mostly unemployed or under-employed newcomers with professional, vocational, or educational skills, will improve their language proficiency and intercultural communication skills. Thus, they will be better positioned to succeed in the workplace. Community and settlement organizations will benefit from assistance and contributions from the service learners while increasing their organizational capacity. This is also an opportunity to increase awareness of settlement services and community resources.
The project will include two pilots:
- Pilot 1: January-May, 2023
- Pilot 2: September-December, 2023
After each pilot, data collected will be analyzed and a research report will be produced. Some service-learning participants, both learners and organization employees, will be invited to a co-creation team to help interpret findings and make recommendations. This program incorporates intercultural communication, language development, and service learning.