International Women’s Day
By Jamal Hamadani
The International Women’s Day is being be celebrated with an awards gala on March 8.
The gala is a celebration of the 30th anniversary for Women’s International Skills Training. According to a press release, WEST provides women in Windsor-Essex with support and programs to aid them in securing employment and enhance their skills, along with providing immigrant women with services to help them integrate into Canadian culture. Awards include the Share the Light award, Woman of the Year award and the Community Service award, plus many more.
“The L.E.A.D. (Leadership, Employment and Development) program and the computer training that we offer, Employment Ontario and Employment Services are open to anybody so it just depends on your status,” said Stephanie Lyanga, a program manager at WEST.
Some of the programs which this agency offers to women include language and skills training, support services and research partnerships, among several others. These programs help women gain skills they have not yet acquired.
“WEST is a non-profit agency, we are funded both from federal and provincial grants,” said Lyanga.
WEST exists to provide training for severely employment disadvantaged visible minority women in order to improve their employability in the workforce and to further their education. They also have a Canada-Ontario job grant to help employers train staff.
“We have Microsoft Office and Excel certified training. We also have the L.E.A.D. program, which is 10 weeks of in-house training and then eight weeks of a work placement,” said Lyanga.
This organization was developed in 1984 as a response to disproportionately high levels of unemployment among women.
“It is very important for WEST to be connected to the community,” said Rose Anguiano Hurst, executive director of WEST. “We participate in area committees as partnerships to serve the community.”
WEST hopes to continue to offer these programs and is hoping to expand in Windsor and Essex County.