In 2018 kdc/one Knowlton, (Knowlton Development Corporation) a manufacturer with some 900 employees, was in a crisis. “We desperately needed workers. I sounded the alarm at MRC Brome Missisiquoi. The resources they made available to us were key to enabling us to solve the problem,” confided Kim Gobeil, the Human Resources specialist at kdc/Knowlton.
Thanks to that help, Mrs. Gobeil succeeded in attracting about forty immigrants, mostly Nigerians, to work at the plant: “With the MRC, the SERY
(Solidarité ethnique régionale de la Yamaska), several community organizations and obliging residents, we helped them get settled, found schools for their children, lodging and so on. We set up new means of transport, suited to their work schedule, between Cowansville and Knowlton, because we lack housing rentals here in TBL. And now they have access to French language courses, also tailored to their work schedule, at the Brome Missisquoi campus in Cowansville.”
To attract new workers, the company did not hesitate to increase salaries and benefits (including a new dental insurance program) and organize new training programs. “We can no longer recruit in the traditional way,” points out Mrs. Gobeil. “For example, these days I wouldn’t try to entice an employee away from my competitors; they need them as much as I do. So I look elsewhere, outside our region and even Quebec. The MRC can help businesses in this process. The help I received from their team of advisers really exceeded my expectations!
“The advice that I would give entrepreneurs and merchants is to seek help from non-traditional resources. Above all, do not be ruled by your fears. It’s true that a migrant who arrives from the United States via Roxham road may, after a while, have to return to where he came from. But it’s also true a worker from our region may decide to quit his job after several months. So, we need to take risks, and it works out well most of the time.”
The statistics are encouraging. According to Frey Alberto Guevara, General Manager of SERY Cowansville, “Eighty percent of the immigrants who choose to settle in the region remain here.
Those who return to large cities like Montreal generally do so to follow their children enrolled in university or join members of their family.”
Translation Tam Davis