Humber Community Employment Services works to help the unemployed in North Etobicoke

by | Feb 6, 2015 | News

The North Etobicoke Branch of Humber Community Employment Services strives to help people in the community find work. (Photo By Eric Wickham)

The North Etobicoke Branch of Humber Community Employment Services strives to help people in the community find work. (Photo By Eric Wickham)

Eric Wickham
News Reporter

Ontario may have faced a downturn in the economy over the last few years, but Humber Community Employment Services is still working to help the unemployed and underemployed.

HCES has five locations across the GTA, including Brampton, North York, North Etobicoke, Central Etobicoke, and in Corso Italia in west Toronto.

Elena Lewis, manager of HCES, said the agency is open and accessible to anyone allowed to legally work in Canada.

“The goal of the program is to find sustainable employment for people in the community,” said Azieb Musa-Habtu, the site supervisor at the North Etobicoke location near the Humber College North campus.

The mentorship program is a particular point of pride for HCES. It matches unemployed and underemployed professionals that have recently moved to Canada with skilled volunteers that work in the client’s field of expertise.

HCES is not limited to only helping trained professionals. It also help clients of all ages and experience find sustainable employment, provide grants to laid-off workers looking to switch careers, and facilitate workshops to build a client’s employability.

Musa-Habtu said HCES provides a variety of services to help clients find training and employment, as well as connecting with employers and finding placements.

Kabir Salimi, an employment advisor at HCES’ North Etobicoke location, said the work they do is based on client needs, situations and goals.

It could be a general labour type of job for one person, or it could be a high-end office job for another individual,” he said.

Salimi has worked at HCES for 14 years, and enjoys helping people reach their employment goals.

“My favourite part is to work with individuals struggling to get employment who need help. When they land the job it gives me the satisfaction I need,” he said.

Musa-Habtu recalled a young engineer who could not find work in his own field.

“Our job developer assisted this client, and found him a job that pays $65,000 a year,” said Musa-Habtu.

She said this client initially couldn’t find a job because of his lack of work experience.

Not everyone will land his or her dream job right away. Sometimes a client’s expectations won’t match realistic job opportunities.

“That’s why we always have a ‘Plan-B’ with our clients,” said Salimi.

Musa-Habtu said HCES’ success lies in its “straightforward approach.”

“We do a very brief intake, just to see what you are looking for,” she said. “After that you would be meeting with an employment advisor to discuss your vocational background, your skills, your interests, your long and short-term goals, and what is preventing you from finding employment.”

Musa-Habtu said that HCES doesn’t tell people how to find a job, but rather asks them what they would like to do.

“We encourage them to come up with a plan of action for their job search, and we follow up with the plan,” she said.

For 2015, HCES plans to continue assisting their clients with a wide array of approaches.

“We sometimes do interviews on behalf of our clients. Some people have difficulties with interviews, this does not necessarily mean that they cannot do the job,” said Musa-Habtu.

To find out more about HCCES, visit their website at