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Feature of the month | July 2011

Can workforce essential skills programming work in your community? PTP Adult Learning and Employment Programs says yes and has the national research project to prove it.

Based in Toronto, PTP is one of Canada’s largest non-profit, community-based literacy programs and it specializes in preparing people for the world of work. In this case, PTP worked closely with five communities across Canada to build meaningful, community-specific programs for individuals with low skill levels. Project staff offered training and support with the goal of developing, refining and sustaining high-quality essential skills programming for adult literacy learners that met local needs.

The WESCan (Workforce Essential Skills across Canada) project used the CAMERA System as its foundation, combined with knowledge gained through years of research and analysis on effective ways to transition low-skilled adults to work.

The project produced the guide Workforce Essential Skills: Putting Literacy to Work and a video.

Community partners were:

  • FutureWorx Society in Truro, Nova Scotia
  • The Saint John Learning Exchange in Saint John, New Brunswick
  • Literacy Link Niagara in Thorold, Ontario
  • Parkland College in Yorkton, Saskatchewan
  • Tseshaht First Nation in Port Alberni, British Columbia

Karen Geraci, a consultant who worked on the project, is pleased with the outcome. “From the diversity of the communities where the programming was implemented emerged a common understanding of what workforce essential skills programming is and the elements that contribute to its success,” she said.

Marisa Mazzulla, project co-consultant, feels the guide document captures that learning, the implementation process and considerations that lead to effective programs. “We also encourage practitioners to view the video to get a complete picture of how the project has been perceived by our project’s partners.”

Funding for WESCan was provided by the Office of Literacy and Essential Skills at Human Resources and Skills Development Canada.

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