New partnership teaching newcomer women to sew and work
Immigrating to Canada comes with many challenges and finding work can be one of the hardest, but a new partnership in Winnipeg is hoping to help recent immigrants find employment.
The Cutting Edge is a program for newcomer women to launch their careers as sewing machine operators and gain work experience.
"This program is about accompanying immigrant women in their search for establishing themselves in Canada," said Anne-Lydie Bolay, operations director at The Cutting Edge.
Women in the program learn to create sewn goods, which are then sold by The Cutting Edge.
"They are learning to do different types of seams. They are learning to do upholstery. They are learning knit products and they are learning to communicate in English to their supervisors," said Bolay.
The goods range from things like drawstring backpacks and makeup bags to items like cloth napkins or headbands.
Ruigin Zhanz, who is sewing in the program, is thankful for the opportunity.
"It give me the chance to [learn] how to sew. With this program, I can get a job," she said.
To help more women, The Cutting Edge is partnering with LITE (Local Investment Toward Employment).
"What The Cutting Edge needs is to create revenue above and beyond any grants they receive. So we are going to buy $25,000 worth of beautiful goods from them," said Tyler Pearce, executive director at LITE.
"We have also given them a $5,000 grant for product development and marketing so they can thrive."
Along with the funds, LITE will be putting goods made by The Cutting Edge in its annual hamper, which is given to 450 very-low income families every fall.
As for Bolay at The Cutting Edge, she said watching the program grow is inspiring to see.
"Every day, I see women who are overcoming their own challenges, who are determined, that are tenacious, and that's pretty cool to see."
The Cutting Edge said it predicts 250 graduates of the program will be working in the local manufacturing industry by 2028.
-With files from CTV's Jamie Dowsett