The Far-Reaching Benefits of Continuing Education

A Certificate in Not-For-Profit Management makes life better for new Canadians
By Nicole Laidler

Michael Elias says that earning his Professional Certificate in Not-For-Profit Management from Western Continuing Studies will benefit an entire community

Born in the East African country of Eritrea, Elias earned his BA in Business Management from Asmara University and worked as a teacher and entrepreneur before immigrating to Canada in 2016. Upon arrival, he enrolled in the Middle-level Managers (MLM) with Technical Background Bridging Program at Toronto Metropolitan University, earning his Project Management Professional (PMP) certificate in 2017.

Elias also became involved with the Eritrean Canadian Community Centre (ECCC). “It was a means of connecting with my community and contributing to its development,” he explains. He took on additional responsibilities at ECCC as the organization grew.

Today, he serves as ECCC’s Senior Program Coordinator and Interim Executive Director. “In my current role, I am responsible for overseeing all aspects of the organization’s operations, including programming, fund writing, and community engagement.”

 

“The diversity of background and experiences among students brought unique perspectives to our classes, which enriched the learning environment.”

Canada is home to an estimated 36,000 Eritreans, and while ECCC primarily serves Eritrean Canadians living in the GTA, it also provides assistance to those living in other parts of the country.

“Many of our clients are newcomers who face various challenges, such as language barriers,” Elias explains. In addition to providing a senior’s support program, the organization offers tutorial and soccer programs, computer training, educational workshops, as well as assistance navigating the Canadian healthcare system and finding employment.

“Adjusting to a new culture and way of life in Canada can be a daunting experience,” he says. “We strive to provide a welcoming and supportive environment to help newcomers navigate the transition.”

With ECCC expanding its services and reach, Elias wanted to strengthen his leadership skills. Thanks to financial assistance from the Black Canadian Communities Initiative, he recently earned his Professional Certificate in Not-For-Profit Management from Western Continuing Studies.

Elias completed the 10-month program entirely online. “This online program was ideal for me as I continued working in Toronto,” he says.

 

“My experience as a learner was positive and rewarding. It was wonderful to have been part of such a dynamic learning community.”

Despite learning remotely, Elias says there was plenty of interaction between students. “Some were recent graduates, while others had returned to school after working for several years. Some had already worked in the field of non-profits, while others were new to the field. The diversity of background and experiences among students brought unique perspectives to our classes, which enriched the learning environment.”

Elias also has high praise for his instructors. “They had great teaching styles, communication skills, and knowledge of the subject matter,” he says. “My experience as a learner was positive and rewarding. It was wonderful to have been part of such a dynamic learning community.”

Elias says the certificate program helped him understand the nuances of the non-profit sector and provided practical tools and techniques that he can apply to better serve ECCC and the broader community.

 

“The knowledge and skills I gained from the program have improved services and outcomes for our community.”

“Completing the Certificate in Not-For-Profit Management has been incredibly beneficial for the Eritrean Canadian Community Centre. The knowledge and skills I gained from the program have improved services and outcomes for our community,” he says. “I am grateful for the opportunity to have completed the program and to apply my learning to the work I do at the centre.”

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