Q & A with Connector Program Coordinators and Leaders

Connector Program and Filling Gaps in Services

The Connector Program is an excellent addition to organizations across the country because it fills gaps in offerings and broadens delivery of services for clients.

Connector Program organizations across the country discussed how the program is beneficial for their programming and reputation within their communities. We sat down with coordinators and executive directors to find out exactly how.

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Alida Campbell

Interview by Alida Campbell.

Alida manages the National Connector Program and continues to be inspired by the stories of connection and growth that participants share across the country.


You’ve all had Connector Programs at your organizations. How has this program filled gaps or augmented services in your organization?



The Program itself works so well with our mentorship program and other employment support programs. It helps broaden the offerings from OCISO, thus helping to bridge the gaps for clients who don’t fit other programs.



This program was the next step on making MusicNL a place where musicians go to grow their career in a professional and efficient way. The Connector Program can give opportunities to immigrant professionals to learn more about how to be a producer, manager, booking agent, supervisor, and sound technician in Newfoundland. and close that gap in the music industry.



For our organization, the Connector program helps to fulfill our mission. It provides us with another channel of people who are interested in diversity, equity and inclusion but don’t have time for intensive programs like mentorship. It is also a gateway for other programs, getting people used to the idea of engaging with newcomer talent.



It’s a good program to meet with employers, connectors, and group mentorship opportunities. It’s also an add-on to programs to give individuals more information for their job search. We also take referrals to help people with their job search so the program helps us do this too. The program serves as our donation to the community, to carry people forward with their pre-employment support.



It marries a couple of different linear paths in our organization. It plays a concrete role between workforce development and business attraction. It provides a network of people to validate labour market trends and allow us to test out new ideas and models.



I have a saying “There has to be soldiers on every front.” In this instance, it means there must be support for newcomers at every stage of their journey. There needs to be a continuum of support and Connector Program fits well into that continuum.



How has the Connector Program expanded your reach in the community?



The Connector Program is a channel through which we can expand our linkages to the community, especially the private sector. It helps us to connect clients with those sectors and brings value to our purpose, which is to help people.



Our organization doesn’t do a lot of forward-facing work, so bringing the Connector Program to the organization has given it a place in the community – a profile that it never had before. It’s given people a platform to become involved in what they do. The Connector Program has created an opportunity to take what the organization has learned through their consultations and reports and actually act on it – to apply their own work for the benefit of the community as a whole.



For CECS, the Connector Program offers a different way to connect with employers. When we reach out to employers it’s often to get our clients jobs, but the Connector program enriches the relationship we can have with them and with professionals in the community since we are offering a chance to meet great talent with no expectations.



The Connector Program connects economic development initiatives to the public so that an average person can feel the impact of what Ignite does.



We have been able to create new partnerships with associations that we had never worked with. We are making many organizations work together for the first time towards better serving the immigrant community, especially the musicians who were left out from government aid for many years.



In some ways we are the face of the organization because we are out there, in the community. We can connect new people in the community to other services in our organization so they can benefit from our services and what we do.



The Connector Program allows us to identify incredibly talented people. It also helps us maintain good relationships with our business community because we can point them in the direction of great talent that makes sense to them but they might not otherwise have seen. The program helps us close the loop between talent, business, and the community.



That is all fantastic. How does the Connector Program help with your engagement with community volunteers?



Many Connectees become Mentees within the Mentorship Program and they also become Connectors and Mentors in the programs after they are successful. We work with a whole community who used to be clients but are now volunteers.



Clients value the support they received through the program and they continue to engage with KEYS and the Connector Program. They then want to give back so this benefits both KEYS and the Connector Program.



Having good relationships with Connectors is very valuable to Lethbridge Family Services as it increases our engagement in the community. When someone has a positive experience as a Connector it is a positive representation of our organization in the community.



The Connector Program helps keep people engaged in the organization. If they aren’t ready for a program or are waiting for a program to start, I can engage them in my program and they stay involved. I can also get alumni of many programs to be Connectors and give them a chance to give back to the organization. I never have to struggle to get Connectors!



Those who may not have seen themselves as Connectors in the past have been approached by a coordinator see that they can give their time and they do know people. They learn that is feels good to be involved and share their knowledge, and they might start to do this outside of the program too. This really does begin to build a welcoming and inclusive community.



The Connector Program is such an adaptable program – it fits into programs, bolsters others, and helps to increase engagement and action in your community. If you are looking for a way to better support newcomers and your community you don’t have to look any further than the Connector Program.