Pablo Listingart
By REBECA KUROPATWA
Back in 2012, husband and wife, Pablo Listingart and Solange Flomin began seriously thinking about leaving Argentina. This, explained Listingart, was “because the political situation and other aspects [that] were degrading. We also wanted to have the experience of living in another country.”
So, the couple began traveling to explore other countries. They went to the U.S., but did not feel it was a good fit. Then, they went to several countries in Europe, but with a similar result.

Next up was Canada. “My wife has a cousin living in Vancouver and she spoke really highly about Canada,” said Listingart. “We started doing our research and sent emails to several Jewish communities. A couple answered, but communication with Winnipeg was more responsive.”
In October 2013, Listingart visited Winnipeg (while Flomin was pregnant). “After only two days, I fell in love with the city, the brown of the trees, how quiet it was,” said Listingart. “So, I called Sol and told her that this was the place.”
When Listingart returned to Argentina, he and Flomin started working on their application. The process took 10 months, as their son was born in the middle of the process.
The family made their move to Winnipeg in early March 2015.

Listingart had started up a newcomer charity that teaches participants how to do software development back in Argentina in 2011. In Winnipeg, Flomin urged him to create the same kind of start up.
Today, Listingart’s charity, called ComIT, has operations in Argentina, Chile, and Canada.
Listingart and Flomin run the charity together around raising their two kids. Their son, Noah, moved with them to Winnipeg, and their daughter, Amy, was born a couple of months ago in Winnipeg.
“I’ve worked for several companies, like Microsoft, IBM, and others,” said Listingart. “Back in 2011, I thought about giving back to the community and society, and so I decided to start this charity. Those years back in Argentina were kind of busy and, with all the political issues over there, we decided to migrate here to Winnipeg.”
With the perpetually expanding operation of their growing charity, Listingart, as the charity’s executive director, has been kept busy, but he also makes time to build mobile applications and websites.

ComIT in Canada has been running pilot programs in Winnipeg and in Kitchener-Waterloo. In Winnipeg, Listingart ran the classes himself, and, in Kitchener-Waterloo, one of the main Canadian sponsors is Google.
“That went really well, in terms of people getting jobs, so I kept doing it,” said Listingart. “Basically, this year, we jumped from offering two courses to seven courses – five in Winnipeg, one in Saskatoon, and one in Kitchener-Waterloo. Next year, we are planning to keep helping people in the same three cities, plus Regina, Toronto, and Calgary.”
Flomin and Listingart feel at home in Winnipeg. “We feel more Canadian than Argentinean, with cultures, values, and everything,” said Listingart. “That is the reason we are here, actually. We did not come for economic reasons. We didn’t feel that comfortable in terms of values and principles back there. Once I came here, I fell in love with the Canadian culture and values.”
While Listingart would love to be able to operate everywhere around the world, financially, that is not yet viable – although, there are plans to add Mexico and all of Latin America to the mix, with an online program ComIT launched last week.
“Once we see how many people are using the online program in Latin America, our intention is to start it up in Mexico, Panama, Costa Rica, and, here, in North America...in the U.S., probably in two years,” said Listingart.
“We work in an industry that is very hot right now, so a lot of companies need people. It is said here, in Canada, by 2021, that 200 thousand positions will be needed. There is a lack of talented people in IT.”
At ComIT, all training is provided free of charge. Trainees can hold a full-time job, while training in the evenings or mornings for only a couple of hours a day for three months.
Listingart meets with local employers who are looking for IT talent and discusses their exact needs within the industry, adjusting the ComIT training accordingly.
“We train them in what the companies need right now,” said Listingart. “So, let’s say I go to Saskatoon and I talk to 10-or-15 companies over there, asking them what they need in the next six months. And, they say Java script or whatever. Based on that, if there is a critical mass of people needed, we create a course based on what the companies need. This increases the probability of people being hired. Within a few months, companies will have the people they need.”
So far, ComIT has helped 1500 people find jobs, training 3000, as people drop out for different reasons through the process.
“About 70 percent get jobs within six months of the training,” said Listingart. “We follow up with them, help them with their resumes...We have a free platform companies can access and see the resumes.”
Training is conducted in classrooms. “The impact is way bigger in person,” said Listingart. “We did develop online content for Latin America, as a way to reach people we can’t physically reach right now, not having the funds to go to 15 countries.”
Listingart is no longer teaching in the program, due to a lack of enough time, though he does visit the classes when he is able.
Finding companies to partner with is also a challenge, with large corporations, like, Great West Life and Wawanesa, taking almost a year to start hiring trainees.
Skip the Dishes, on the other hand, was on the fence for a very short time. They hired five-out-of-seven of those trained by ComIT almost on the spot after being interviewed – and soon after, the company became one of the charity’s local sponsors. To date, Skip the Dishes has hired 16 ComIT-trained people.

“My goal, so to speak...is to give opportunity to people who can’t afford other types of training and give them a first chance,” said Listingart. “We mention this at the beginning of every course. They only have one chance with us. We don’t give second chances. If they drop out for any reason, regret it, and want to come back, they can’t. I have 400 people on the waiting list to take courses. For me, this is a way to teach the value of work and, while doing it, you have the chance to work a job that pays well, that you can grow and learn...And, it’s not just for nerds. It’s creative work.
“My goal also has been to make the biggest impact that I can and I don’t know...I’m happy with the results.”