Employment and Training


YWCA Hamilton recognizes economic security is an integral component of well-being. Employment Support Services help low-income, marginalized groups and individuals to overcome barriers to employment. Specialized training, assistance and services are available for women, youth and newcomers.

Click here to read YWCA Hamilton's Employment Newsletter — April 2017

Click to choose selection:

Women's Entrepreneurship Program

The Women's Entreprenuership Program was created due to the generosity of the Allen and Milli Gould Family Foundation. To learn more about Milli's gift, read this article from the Hamilton Spectator. This Women's Entrepreneurship Program assists 21 women who want to start a small business in Hamilton. There are 10 weeks of in-class business training including: marketing, short-term and long-term goal setting, insurance, legal and business plan creation and implementation.     

Included are an additional six weeks of 1-1 support as participants begin to implement their business including assistance with accessing business loans, grants and additional funding sources. There are monthly learn and networking opportunities, where the women can network and learn from other small business owners and learn or refresh additional skills.  

Participants are also provided with a mentor for up to 6 months post program to assist them with additional support in starting and growing their business.  

Call Victoria Bularda at 905-522-9922 ext. 313 or vbularda@ywcahamilton.org


1stBiz is a 16-week start up program for entrepreneurs with little to no business experience. The program includes 10 weeks of peer-supported in-class sessions and up to 6 weeks of mentorship relevant to businesses entered in this program. Small business owners will be set up for success by creating a detailed business plan, investigating creditable funding opportunities and be provided with networking opportunities. At the end of the program, small business owners will be able to present their businesses to stakeholders interested in investing in small businesses. First Ontario Credit Union will also be awarding a $500 grant to participants who are approved for a business loan through this program. 

• 10 Weekly sessions 
• 1:1 sessions with business coach once per week 
• Access to resource centre, wi-fi and office space  
Program Fee: FREE 
• Applicant is the primary business owner(s);
• Adults over 18, not attending school;
• Small business based in Hamilton Region or the Golden Horseshoe;
• Applicant(s) reside in or able to commute to Hamilton, ON for program.   
1stBiz accepts 10 small businesses per start up cohort. Industry experts, local professionals and an assigned business coach will be responsible for evaluating applications based on set criteria.
Accepted small business owners will attend a free, intensive 16 week program including lectures provided by trained business coaches and industry experts, 1:1 learning will be provided weekly with an assigned business coach and mentorship by an individual in business longer than one year in a similar field will be provided after graduation of the program. Upon program completion, graduates will have a professionally developed business plan. The program is proudly run in collaboration with YWCA Hamilton and First Ontario Credit Union.  
After graduation, small business owners will be assigned mentors from their industry. For up to 6 weeks after program completion, these mentors will provide a support system designated for advice and business ideas to help ensure continued success. Mentors may make new opportunities for networking, partnership or funding. 
YWCA Hamilton, located at 75 MacNab St S. Hamilton ON L8P 3C1 
For more information contact Mirela Marceta at (905) 522-9922 ext. 152 or mmarceta@ywcahamilton.org.

Employment Resource Centre

The YWCA Resource Centre offers a variety of training sessions and skill upgrading opportunities.
Services include:
• Access to Internet and computer
• Access to Fax, Phone, Photocopier
• Job Search information and resources
• Job Leads and Business Directories
• Individual assistance for resume writing and interview coaching
• Job Search Workshops
• Resource Centre Hours:
• Monday to Friday: 8:30am to 4:30pm

For information and registration, contact Carol Anne Ritchie at (905) 522-9922 ext. 335 or critchie@ywcahamilton.org. 

Smart Serve Certification and Food Safety Training

YWCA Hamilton is pleased to offer the BASICS.fst Food Safety Training certification through Traincan Inc. In this training, you will learn about many food safety topics including foodborne illness, potentially hazardous foods, the temperature danger zone, food safety regulations, and how to properly cook, cool, thaw and hold food.

Courses are now being offered. For more information please contact Sabrina Douglas at (905) 522-9922 ext. 175.

Smart Serve Training

YWCA offers Smart Serve training: a responsible alcohol beverage service training program developed by Smart Serve Ontario. Smart Serve covers topics such as licences, facts about alcohol, signs of intoxication, and more. This program is for servers, bartenders, door staff, security, or anyone who will be working in areas where alcohol is sold and served under a Liquor Sales License or Special Occasion Permit.

Courses are now being offered. For more information, please contact

Carol Anne Ritchie at 905-522-9922 x 335.

SISTER Program:

SISTER (Success in Service Training and Employment Retention) is a free employment program enabling young women to develop and enhance their life and employability skills and make successful transitions into the labour market.

This program includes 4 weeks of paid training and 12 weeks of paid placement. Eligible participants must be between the age of 15 to 30 at the time of intake, legally entitled to work in Canada and Ontario, not in receipt of EI benefits and are in need of assistance to overcome employment barriers

For more information, contact Sabrina Douglas. Employment Counsellor at (905_ 522-9922 ext. 175 or sdouglas@ywcahamilton.org. 


Microlending is a loans program for women with limited incomes who want to start a small business. Our microlending services lnclude assessment for loans, individual business coaching and group learning sessions designed to help women learn how to start and operate a small business, obtain a microloan, and build a positive credit history. This program connects prospective small business owners with business experts and access to available community resources and support.

For more information please call Victoria Bularda at (905) 522-9922 ext. 313.

Bridging to Employment for Internationally Trained Individuals

Bridging to Employment programs provide Internationally Trained Individuals with the opportunity to upgrade skills to meet requirements for the labour market in Canada.

YWCA Hamilton presently offers the following two programs;

• Bridging to Information Communication Technology (ICT)

• Bridging to Environment

Individuals receive assistance in:
  • Understanding workplace culture

  • Learning about employer expectations

  • Gain access to supportive employment tools

  • Training, academic upgrading, and placement

For more information, please contact (905) 522-9922 ext. 150.

Women in Information Technology (WIT)

Ready to take that next step and join an interactive intensive 13-week course that aids in skills upgrading and an avenue to showcase your newfound skills in the IT industry?

The Women in Information Technology (WIT) Program is a no cost employment program open to eligible women facing multiple barriers to skills upgrading, industry certifications and access to employment in the IT sector. Participants will invest in 13 weeks of in-class training in web development and personal skills expansion.
This course includes:
  • Industry Certification – CIW Web Design Specialist
  • Academic training in web design and development certification at Mohawk College
  • Personal skills development, leadership training and job search support with assistance in resume writing, cover letter preparation and interview skills. 
  • 12 weeks work experience/job placement as a web developer


  • Education, experience or strong interest in web design and the IT industry
  • Legally entitled to work in Canada
  • A Canadian Language Benchmark of 7 and above or College Level English
  • Are looking for a Web Developer job
  • Face barriers to access employment in the IT sector

For more information or to registe for this program please contact Mimi at 905-522-9922 ext. 142 or at mjohn@ywcahamilton@org.

Advancing Women in Non-Traditional Occupations

This three year project focuses on the recruitment and retention of women in technology and manufacturing trades in Hamilton. We are currently recruiting women trained or currently employed in the skilled trades to participate in focus groups and surveys.

For more information, please contact Maisie Raymond-Brown, Director of Employment and Training Services at (905) 522-9922 ext. 151 or mrbrown@ywcahamilton.org