A Brief History of MACC (2000 to 2015)
In and around the year 2000 there was a large influx of foreign trained professionals recruited to work at McCain Foods and McCain International. Primarily these professionals were in the Information Technology industry and many settled in the Florenceville-Bristol area with their families. By 2001 a group of individuals started to recognize that these families were experiencing difficulties integrating into the community. Some of the notable needs were language training, social integration, employment for spouses and education assistance aimed at helping students adjust to Canadian schools. The group of individuals was composed of newcomers and concerned local citizens. They met regularly in the typical Carleton County manner – in someone’s kitchen.
By August 2002 the group applied for and was granted Non-profit Corporation status. This was the birth of the Multicultural Association of Carleton County Inc. (informally MACC). The non-profit status allowed for the organization to apply for grants and contribution agreements with government funders. Initially the funding agreements were for focus groups and multicultural festivals with the inaugural festival held in 2003. Between 2002 and 2006 MACC had varying levels of success in obtaining funding for English language instruction, employment counselling and social integration. Programs would come and go due to challenges with funding and sufficient staffing.
In January 2007 both federal and provincial governments recognized the need to provide stable funding for MACC. Early in the New Year, four new staff were hired. An office was opened in Florenceville-Bristol. There was an English as a Second Language instructor/coordinator (full-time), a Project Coordinator (part-time), a school and social liaison (part-time) and an Employment Counsellor (part-time.) It was at this time that the New Brunswick Multicultural Council (NBMC) began working directly with MACC staff to implement the New Brunswick Employment Language Training (NBELT) program. It was through this program that MACC starting experiencing success. Initially there were seven clients. ESL students improved three bench mark levels in three months and for the first time MACC clients secured employment in their chosen field. Due to this early success the NBELT program was renewed for one year. Furthermore, MACC was able to secure additional funding for the employment program, while the school/social integration program expired.
During the 2007-2008 fiscal year MACC was included in province-wide discussion regarding immigration services in New Brunswick. Carleton County was the first small centre in New Brunswick to offer immigration services. The area’s newcomer population was steadily growing as transportation companies started to hire foreign trained drivers. Subsequently, MACC’s client base expanded significantly with part-time services being offered in Woodstock in donated space. It was during this time that both federal and provincial funders were comfortable with the stability, success and growth that MACC was exhibiting.
Through collaborative funding MACC was able to expand services in 2008 to include Settlement services and an Office Administrator. The federal funding was through Citizenship Immigration Canada (CIC), provincial funding through Population Growth Secretariat and Post-Secondary Education Training and Labour, and the NBELT funding was through NBMC.
In 2009 funding continued to grow with the addition of a second office in Woodstock NB. A second full-time ESL instructor and a Community Involvement Coordinator were hired. MACC was experiencing tremendous growth both in personnel and clientele (approx. 40 clients in service). Up until this time the Board of Directors was acting as a Managing Board. It was determined that the volunteers on the board were being asked to devote significant personal time in order to keep the organization running smoothly. It was decided to hire a Program Director in January 2010. With a leadership position in place MACC started to transform into a viable community service provider. MACC was also gaining a respectable presence in New Brunswick and even national recognition.
By the 2011-2012 fiscal year MACC was serving approximately 103 clients. In 2012-2013 there were 241 clients and in 2013-2014 the number jumped to 344, a far cry from the initial 7 clients that started in 2007. In the fall of 2011 MACC moved its Woodstock office to 109 Maple St to accommodate the large increase of clients served.
From 2007 to 2012 funding from the federal and provincial governments increased or maintained its level from the previous year. In 2013-2014 MACC experienced a decrease in funding requiring a reduction in the Woodstock ESL classroom. It was at this time that MACC began to focus on delivering ESL instruction on-line. Further cuts in 2014-2015 required that MACC eliminate the ESL Woodstock instructor position entirely. Language instruction was entirely computer based in self-directed on-line programs or in a virtual classroom (face-to-face) format using video conferencing. The NBELT program was eliminated which required the Employment Counsellor position to be altered to include on-line learning (non-ESL). A program was developed to teach Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition on-line. This program teaches participants to create a professional-based portfolio.
In 2014 a new service was commenced. MACC became an official testing centre for the Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP). Recent legislation in Canada requires all applicants for Permanent Residency (PR) and Citizenship to provide proof of proficiency in one of two official languages. One method to provide proof is through CELPIP testing. In July 2014 MACC held its first test sitting, now held monthly. The CELPIP testing centre is a revenue generating program and it marks the first time that MACC has provided a fee for service program.