The Jewish Vocational Services (JVS) was established on 16 June 1947. After the Second World War thousands of survivors arrived in Canada in search of homes, education for their children and jobs. The returning servicemen, in turn, were also in need of employment. For the first two years of its existence, JVS catered exclusively to these two groups. By 1949, it had expanded its mandate to become a community-wide agency.
Max Enkin, the founder of the post-war "tailor scheme" became its first president and chairman of the board. Under this scheme, he and other members of his delegation were able to bring over 2,200 displaced persons to Canada as skilled tailors. Other members of the JVS board included Lipa Green, Sydney Harris, Dr. Albert Rose and Louis Lockshin. The executive director was Norman Stack. He served for a few years and was replaced by Milton Freidman in 1949. Freidman was a social worker who relocated to Toronto from Buffalo and spent close to 40 years in this position, retiring in 1985.
JVS's early mandate was to serve as a placement service for applicants and employers and to provide individual counselling services to its clients. Its office was situated above the original Tip Top Tailors building at 455 Spadina Avenue. It later moved its office to 152 Beverley Street and then in the 1960s to Tycos Drive. By the 1960s, JVS began to expand its services to all segments of society including newcomers, people with disabilities and from all sectors of life. The staff included social workers, psychologists, job counsellors and clerical staff.
During the 1980s, Bernie Berger became the new executive director. He served in that capacity until 1991. He was replaced by Ed Segalowitz. During this period, JVS set up a seniors' program called ATLAZ on the grounds of the Baycrest Home for the Aged. It was funded by the Bick family and was intended to create programs to keep seniors engaged. Today, this program is called the Al Green Resource Centre and provides employment, placement, training and volunteer opportunities to adults of all ages and with developmental disabilities. JVS also launched a youth program called Youthinc and a women's program.
Karen Goldenberg became executive director in 1998 and was replaced by Frank Markel in 2011 after her retirement. JVS has expanded its clientele, helping people from all backgrounds with diverse needs to identify their strengths and goals, develop skills, and achieve success in school, work and life. By 2009, it offered an expansive range of over 40 employment-related support programs and services throughout the Greater Toronto Area to thousands of unemployed and underemployed individuals and served 23,000 people. They operated out of 12 locations and have approximately 200 professionals on staff.
Kim Coulter became president and CEO in 2013.
The case files were located in the vault with no accession number. They were likely transferred to the OJA during the 1970s or 1980s. They were assigned accession number 2002-10/34.
The remaining records were in the possession of Amanda Batchelor of JVS, who had acquired the material from various past board and committee members for the creation of the 60th anniversary book.
Scope and Content
Fonds consists of records documenting the activities, programs, finances, operation and history of the Jewish Vocational Services. Included are meeting minutes, photographs, correspondence, surveys, reports, financial statements, certificates, bulletins, newsletters, newsclippings, press releases, anniversary books, and one DVD. The fonds is arranged into the following series: 1) Formation and history; 2) Board of Directors; 3) Executive board; 4) Annual general meetings; 5) Special and general meetings; 6) Committees; 7) Career, employment and training services; 8) Disability services; 9) Immigrant and newcomer services; 10) Women in New Roles (WINR); 11) Youth services; 12) Volunteer program; 13) Studies and reports; 14) Finance; 15) Personnel; 16) Planning and operations; 17) Publications and publicity; 18) Fundraising; 19) United Way; 20) Events; 21) Conferences and workshops.
Jewish Vocational Services of Toronto
Partially closed. Researchers must receive permission from the OJA Director prior to accessing some of the records.