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Canadian CEO group issues call to action on skills gap

A powerful group of Canadian business executives says the country urgently needs a strategy to ensure its workforce has the skills to compete in the global economy. Citing recent studies that show Canadian workers are falling behind international peers on basic skills such as literacy and numeracy, the Canadian Council of Chief Executives has issued a call to action.
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Jobs for tech-savvy social media experts will be as obsolete in 10 years as far more traditional occupations such as taxi dispatcher and toll booth operator, according to a new study released by the online employment site Workopolis.
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Registration for the Learning Networks of Ontario (LNO) Online Clear Writing Course is open until December 20. This course is 12 weeks in duration and will be delivered using the Moodle platform (no live sessions) accessible through AlphaPlus’ Virtual Classroom for Adult Educators. The course runs January 7 – March 28, 2014.
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One year after the Prime Minister of Canada said skills shortages are the biggest challenge facing the country, the business community continues to identify the skills gap as the most pressing issue. "Competition to find and hire highly qualified and skilled professionals is intense, according to our members,” says Perrin Beatty, President and CEO, Canadian Chamber of Commerce.
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The Association of Canadian Community Colleges (ACCC) is pleased to announce that a jury panel of senior public sector executives from across Canada has determined that ACCC is in the winners’ circle of the IPAC Deloitte 2013 Public Sector Leadership Award, in recognition of its pioneering overseas orientation program for economic immigrants.
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Can you do Grade 6 math? Here's a test

1. (Grade 3) At a garage sale, there are bicycles and tricycles. Altogether, there are 18 wheels. How many bicycles and tricycles are there?
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On the 24th anniversary of the Montreal Massacre, students remember and continue to challenge sexism and misogyny on campuses across Canada.
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In the world of education, “failure” is about as dirty a word as you’ll find, short of four letters. Heavy with negative baggage, considered by some a motivation killer, failure is the term that gets shushed out of the room – the thing that’s best not talked about. Nevertheless, there are those willing to not only talk about failure but embrace it as a positive learning tool whose time has come.
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Reassigning staff to lesser roles is sure path to a lawsuit: legal expert

If an employer is required to reassign staff, ensure that not only are the compensation and title equivalent but that the employee's public status, including office privileges, remain unaffected.
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Employment in Canada continued on a slight upward trend for the third consecutive month, edging up 22,000 in November. The unemployment rate held steady at 6.9 per cent for the third month in a row.
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How to break away from your nine-to-five cubicle life

Setting up a presence online will help your brand – even before you start your new business. As an extension of your business, managing and honing your personal brand online as soon as you can – via a static site, a blog or an LinkedIn profile – is a must.
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"In Canada and throughout the world, volunteering is a time-honoured tradition that enhances society through the remarkable devotion of so many volunteers, to whom our country expresses its immense gratitude." - Governor General David Johnston
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What’s new at New Readers Bookstore?

Looking for a special Christmas or holiday season gift? Be sure to check out New Readers Bookstore’s carefully chosen collection of award-winning novels, graphic novels and short stories. All revenue generated by the bookstore is reinvested in Frontier College’s literacy programs in marginalized communities across the country.
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On January 1, 2014, Grass Roots Press will release a new series aimed at students who are exploring career paths in the health sector. Career Essentials will open students' eyes to three careers: health care aides, lab assistants, and massage therapists. Each book provides personal stories and interviews that capture the real-life experiences of college students in training and their instructors, along with people who work in the field.
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Call for proposals: World Library and Information Congress in Lyon, France, August 16-22, 2014

The World Library and Information Congress will be held in Lyon, France, August 16-22, 2014. Titled Libraries, Citizens, Societies: Confluence for Knowledge, the program will cover literacy, community and responsibility. The deadline for proposals is Monday, January 20, 2014.
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"These young people will be adults very soon, adults with very poor prospects for work, for family life, for playing their part in their community. We must pull together, and this means government departments as well as providers, teachers and employers if we are going to help this and the next generation of children to get the skills they need for prosperous and fulfilling lives." - Carol Taylor, Director of Development and Research at NIACE
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"For many years, governments in Canada have parroted to a willingly believing public that we were global leaders in education. The genie is now out of the bottle. Not only is Canada mediocre at best; we now know that our future in learning – and therefore our prosperity – is more clouded than ever." - Paul Cappon, former CEO of the Canadian Council on Learning
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Ottawa delivers on commitment to protect Canadian consumers from spam

James Moore, Minister of Industry, has announced that Canada's anti-spam law will come into force on July 1, 2014. "Our government does not believe Canadians should receive emails they do not want or did not ask to receive," he said. "These legislative measures will protect consumers from spam and other threats that lead to harassment, identity theft and fraud.
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PISA 2012 results: Which countries do best at reading, math and science?

How do countries compare for reading, math and science performance? The latest PISA results from the OECD show which countries are making the biggest improvements and which could do better. Canada is ranked at 13 out of 65 countries while France and the UK are at 25 and 26, respectively, and the US scored at 36.
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According to the findings of the OECD report, Canadian 15-year-olds placed well above the OECD average and remain among the top performers in mathematics. Of the 65 countries and economies participating in the assessment, only three OECD countries and six non-OECD countries and economies outperformed Canada.
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According to the results of a comprehensive set of international exams released Tuesday, America's teens have remained mid-pack among their peers worldwide and utterly stagnant in reading, math and science over the last 10 years.
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"PISA results reveal what is possible in education by showing what students in the highest-performing and most rapidly improving education systems can do. The findings allow policy makers around the world to gauge the knowledge and skills of students in their own countries in comparison with those in other countries, set policy targets against measurable goals achieved by other education systems, and learn from policies and practices applied elsewhere."
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Asian countries outperform the rest of the world in the OECD’s latest PISA survey, which evaluates the knowledge and skills of the world’s 15-year-olds. The OECD’s PISA 2012 tested more than 510,000 students in 65 countries and economies on math, reading and science. The main focus was on math as math proficiency is a strong predictor of positive outcomes for young adults.
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PISA: Canada’s fall in math-education ranking sets off alarm bells

Canada has dropped yet again in international math standings, falling out of the top 10 and raising alarm bells about the country’s future prosperity. Canada placed 13th overall in mathematics, down three spots from 2009 and six spots from 2006, in the latest results from the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA).
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Employers can now apply for Canada Summer Jobs 2014 funding, which will create thousands of job opportunities for students across the country. The employer application period has changed. Applications are now available at servicecanada.gc.ca/csj and must be submitted by January 31, 2014. These new timelines mean successful employers will be notified sooner and have more time to recruit students.
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In the spirit of the holiday season: Our Feature of the Month

Donna van Esch of Hamilton, Ontario, has written a heartwarming Christmas story with heart, humour and flair. With assistance from talented illustrators, she has been able to show how much can be accomplished by people with disabilities. Donna is a client of deaf/blind literacy specialist Katey Walker who works with CNIB in Hamilton.
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It's never too late to complete school in Latin America and the Caribbean. The region is home to 36 million adults who are unable to read or write however millions of adults in the region are returning to school to complete their studies and improve their prospects.
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New UNESCO report highlights the challenge of measuring literacy

There is still no common understanding of how to approach literacy as a lifelong learning process, particularly how to define and measure it. This is evident in the second Global Report on Adult Learning and Education (GRALE II), recently published by the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning.
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Ministers of Education and high-level representatives from 33 countries, as well as development partners, met during UNESCO’s 37th session of the General Conference in Paris recently to discuss the use of affordable technologies to accelerate progress in literacy.
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Oilsands offer fast career tracks for women (with video)

Working with guys isn't for everyone, says Marina Smith, a 28-year-old electrician. “There’s days over the last 10 years I wanted to quit, but at the end of the day, if you work with a good group of guys, they have your back over anything. They’re like family,” said Smith, born and raised in Fort McMurray and working “obscene hours” as an electrical co-ordinator at Suncor.
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