ISSUES PROMPTING THE RESEARCH
We know that the new technology is causing great dislocations in traditionally female occupations. To overcome this, job specific skills training, bridging programs and upgrading are vital to women in 1980's. Every government and private study over the past five years (Menzies, Abella, etc.) has urged special support services to women in training so they can compete fairly for employment. Nevertheless, only minor and ineffective adjustments were made to government-sponsored training and education programs in this regard.
The number of women taking CEIC - funded training in recent years has actually decreased. This has happened because: 'occupations of national importance' designated for training funds are in traditionally male fields; admission to training requires subjects which women are still not encouraged to study; academic upgrading and preparatory programs have been cut drastically; personal support service is lacking in traditional institutional training; and courses are inaccessible to women with language and cultural differences. This has led to an increase in community-based training programs for women who nave dropped out of, or who are ineligible for, main-stream training.
Well-intentioned, but hastily administered government programs are implemented without sufficient community consultation and no formal mechanism of ongoing consultation exists. In addition, systematic evaluation of both mainstream and non-profit training programs is lacking, as is serious research into the particular and different learning and training needs of women in Ontario. These, and more, were the issues which prompted the ACTEW research.
GENERAL RESEARCH FINDINGS
The study found that ACTEW programs achieve significantly higher graduation and job placement rates than do the local community college women's bridging programs which are, in fact, suffering declining enrollment. Despite funding shortages, ACTEW programs succeed because of decentralization, staff commitment, student participation, flexible structures, and programs more relevant to women's different learning needs and life-styles.