Job Skills is a non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing people’s capacity to participate in the labour market, thereby contributing to the economic and social viability of our community.

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About Job Skills

EmploymentNewcomer | Business

Unemployment strikes in a variety of ways. Whether an individual has been affected by company restructuring, needs skills upgrading, doesn't know where to look for work, or wants to pursue self-employment, Job Skills can help.

Job Skills, a non-profit, community-based employment and training agency, began offering employment training in northern York Region in 1988.

Today, the Agency provides Employment, Newcomer and Business Services and Programs in York Region, Bradford West Gwillimbury, Dufferin, Halton, Peel and Toronto. Job Skills has expanded over the years and currently maintains locations in Keswick, Newmarket, Markham, Mississauga, Brampton and North York.

The services, programs and training delivered by Job Skills are designed to meet clients' individual requirements, as well as being flexible enough to respond to the needs of the community, changing employment conditions and shifts in the labour market. Special initiatives undertaken by Job Skills to build on community capacity or support a specific target group complements the Agency’s core business.

Clients come from a variety of backgrounds: from youth at-risk of diminished life outcomes — to the 'over 45' worker who is looking for work or considering self-employment for the first time — to the newcomer to Canada who brings a strong educational background but needs current, Canadian work experience.

Job Skills has proven to be reliable and effective in providing services and programs and has earned a reputation for excellence that is client-centered yet results-oriented.
Over the years, Job Skills' Staff of qualified professionals has served the full diversity of clients seeking supports and assistance in finding employment or initiating small businesses.

Job Skills’ Employment Ontario Employment Service (EOES) Centres in Brampton, Keswick and Markham are available to all residents wanting to access local community information, employment services and Employment Ontario-funded programs. Job Skills offers individualized assistance to job seekers through the creation of an Employment Service Plan. This plan may include activities such as career exploration, coaching, and job development or referral to specific Employment Ontario funded services, such as Second Career or self-employment training. Services are also available to those who wish to job search independently. In addition, all individuals have access to computer workstations with Internet access, job boards, daily newspapers, telephones, fax machines, photocopiers. Workshops and information sessions are offered on a variety of topics related to job search and career exploration.

Job Skills also has experienced staff available to assist employers with the challenges of hiring in today’s business world. Specific Employer Services include: workforce planning, recruitment services, facilities for job fairs, apprenticeship information, financial support opportunities and much more.
Job Skills also offers Smart Start, a specific employment program designed to support unemployed residents of York Region as they obtain the skills and certification necessary to compete for employment in the Food Services sector or Customer Service. Support for Smart Start is made possible through York Region Community and Health Services Department’s Community Development Investment Fund.

To complement its Employment Services Division, Job Skills created a new Division – Employment Services for Newcomers – in recognition of the specialized employment needs of newcomers/immigrants to Canada.

In the Fall of 2011, Job Skills received three year funding from the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration for a bridge training program. Bridge to HR was launched to support internationally trained individuals in the Human Resources sector by providing an opportunity for participants to fast track the achievement of the Certified Human Resources Professional (CHRP) designation. The program also offers work placements, mentoring and ongoing coaching supports to help individuals transition into the Canadian workplace.

Job Skills has also played a key role as one of five lead agencies involved in developing the new Welcome Centre Immigrant Services model for York Region, funded by Citizenship and Immigration Canada. The Welcome Centre is designed to offer a broad range of services and programs for newcomers and immigrants – all under one roof. Job Skills manages the new Welcome Centre in Markham North, one of five in York Region. Job Skills also is responsible for providing Employment Support Services at all five Welcome Centres and delivers the Job Search Workshops (JSW) Program in Vaughan, Markham North and Newmarket.

In 2003, Job Skills spearheaded the launch of Practice Firms in southern Ontario providing invaluable, real hands-on experience to unemployed individuals in a simulated work environment. This workplace skills initiative was particularly valuable for newcomers seeking current Canadian work experience. Job Skills operated three Practice Firms in the Greater Toronto area until the Spring of 2012.
From 2010 - 2012, Job Skills operated Immigrant Information Services (IIS) with funding from Citizenship and Immigration Canada. Along with enhancing the referral process for newcomers/immigrants, IIS also supported settlement sector staff in York Region by providing Professional Development opportunities for front-line staff, as well as producing and distributing Immigrant Connections – a valuable resource manual for service providers in the sector.

In an effort to support clients who want to pursue self-employment as an option, Job Skills offers the Ontario Self-Employment Benefit (OSEB) program (offered in York Region, Dufferin, Halton and Peel, and Toronto) provides mentoring and coaching as well as workshops for those eligible participants who need support to turn a business idea into a profitable venture.

A Youth Entrepreneurship Program (YEP) supporting youth-at-risk between the ages of 15 and 30 is a 24-week program offering business development support, coaching and mentoring. The program has been operating in Keswick since 1988 and in Brampton from 2009-2013.

To address the gap in services for newcomers interested in entrepreneurship, Job Skills has received funding to deliver a mobile program in York Region that helps this client group explore the idea of starting a business in Canada.

In the Spring of 2012, Job Skills also launched a new Division called DevelopU. This new Division has been created to provide individuals, businesses and organizations in our communities with increased learning and personal and professional development opportunities. DevelopU is a Social Enterprise Initiative created by the Agency to be able to offer services to individuals that are not eligible for current programming as well as filling the gap in continual learning choices not offered through funded programs and services.

Over the years, Job Skills has earned the reputation for being able to develop special initiatives to meet the needs of specific target groups. The Agency has proven expertise in developing effective and creative marketing strategies, and has taken the lead in creating region-wide marketing material for several programs and services.

Throughout its years of operation, Job Skills has established a strong community presence and continuously works to strengthen its relationships with Employment Service providers, social service agencies, the business community, educational institutions, municipalities and all levels of government. These relationships make it possible to assist clients to reach their employment goals, achieve economic self-reliance and participate in community life.

Job Skills’ Programs and Services are provided at no cost to unemployed individuals and are funded by the Government of Canada as well as the provincial and municipal governments and the United Way of York Region. Funds are also generated through special initiatives.


Job Skills is committed to improving accessibility for our customers with disabilities. As such, we would like to hear your comments, questions, and suggestions about the provision of our goods or services to people with disabilities. Click here.

Job Skills puts its clients first and therefore takes any complaint very seriously. If you would like to file a complaint, please complete this form and submit it to the employee’s immediate Supervisor.

© Job Skills 2014 Job Skills is a United Way of York Region Member Agency.   Unless otherwise indicated,
 Employment and Business Programs and Services at Job Skills are funded in part by the Government of Canada
Employment Ontario