Ottawa firm partners with Algonquin College in fresh approach to finding talent

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Syntax Strategic is investing in young talent and a diverse future with a new award for students at Algonquin College. 

The Ottawa marketing, public affairs and government relations firm is partnering with Algonquin College to offer the Syntax Strategic Award. The $50,000 fund will provide an award to two students annually over five years, with each student receiving $5,000 and a paid summer internship opportunity.

To create a “pipeline of talent”, the award will recognize students in programs such as communications, marketing and design, with preference given to BIPOC candidates. 

“We need to build the workforce we want to employ and remove barriers to let in candidates who have otherwise been overlooked, under-resourced, and generally disadvantaged in finding employment,” said executive vice-president of Syntax Strategic Jennifer Madigan in a press release. 

Algonquin is the largest polytechnic institute in Eastern Ontario with more than 185 programs. Algonquin College president and CEO Claude Brulé said he is “pleased to partner with a company that is building its workforce on a foundation of diversity, something we also highly value at Algonquin College.”

“I want to thank Syntax Strategic for investing in our students and recognizing that Algonquin College is a pipeline for every business that needs workers,” said Brulé

Jennifer Stewart, founder, president and CEO of Syntax, said the goal of the award is to “really change and innovate the way that we hire and attract talent.”

Since founding Syntax nearly 15 years ago, Stewart said it has become apparent that she and many other businesses were not “casting a wide enough net” when it came to attracting and hiring talent. 

“Diversity is critically important in all workplaces, but in community agencies especially, we have a problem representing diversity,” Stewart told OBJ. “If we want it, we have to invest in it. We can’t wait for the right candidate with the right background to just fall into our lap.”

Stewart said businesses as well as people benefit when diversity is properly represented.

“It can cost money to rethink the hiring process,” said Stewart. “But it is a lot more expensive to bring on the wrong talent and lose them than to get the right talent right away.”