Career Ladders: From Better Skills to Better Work

With a skills shortage looming, the projected shortfall of workers in Canada is expected to rise to at least 1.4 million by 2031 - possibly reaching as high as 3.9 million. To address this skills shortage, the resources of all Canadians must be tapped – including adults with low educational attainment and those who are on social assistance.

'Career Ladders', are series of connected literacy, language and skills training programs that enable individuals to secure employment within a specific industry or occupational cluster, and allows them to advance to higher levels of education and employment. Emerging career ladder frameworks has shown success in the US, Australia, the UK and other countries. Although varying from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, the common denominator remains the same: to help workers move up a career ladder after they enter employment, not before.

Working together, Ontario’s training system can achieve better employment and career advancement results for lower-skilled adults who are either on income support or are in low-wage jobs. By looking to the promising work being done in other jurisdictions, developing career ladders in Ontario could provide adults with concrete steps towards better skills and better jobs, contributing to a more productive, prosperous economy.

Common Questions about Career Ladders Answered
Related Essential Skills Ontario Initiatives
Career Ladders: The Next Step in Three Communities is Phase II of an initiative led by Essential Skills Ontario (ESO) in partnership with Literacy Link South Central (LLSC), the Literacy Network of Durham Region (LiNDR) and Literacy Northwest (LNW), that will design the necessary platforms so that three communities in Ontario can develop and build local industry-specific career ladders.
Career Ladders at One: The Guide Book builds on the experience of Essential Skills Ontario (ESO) and our partners, Literacy Link South Central (LLSC), the Literacy Network of Durham Region (LiNDR) and Literacy Northwest (LNW), in the first phase of our work at testing the implementation of career ladders in Ontario, as well as incorporates research on career ladder processes in other jurisdictions.
Échelons de carrière - Phase I : Le Guide s’appuie sur l’expérience d’Essential Skills Ontario (ESO) et de ses partenaires, Literacy Link South Central, Literacy Network of Durham Region et Literacy Northwest, dans la première phase de leurs travaux visant à mettre à l’essai la mise en œuvre d’initiatives d’échelons de carrière en Ontario, et présente des études sur les processus d’échelons de carrière ailleurs.
Career Ladders: Providing Opportunities for Ontario’s Working Adults is a new brief that explores Career Ladders, a promising strategy that can help working adults move into better jobs, provide industry with the skills they need and contribute to local community development.
In partnership with Literacy Link South Central, the Literacy Network of Durham Region and Literacy Northwest - and funded by the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities (MTCU) - this project will test the emerging concept of Career Ladders in Ontario.
From Better Skills to Better Work is the third in a series of research briefs on Becoming State of the Art - that explores ‘Career Ladders’, a series of connected literacy, language and skills training programs that enable individuals to secure employment within a specific industry or occupational cluster, and allows them to advance to higher levels of education and employment.
Clearer Sightlines to Employment is the second in a series of research briefs on Becoming State of the Art - which suggests that by involving business and industry representatives in the design and delivery of literacy and essential skills training, employment prospects of those with low educational attainment can be improved.
Industry Shared Approaches is the first in a series of research briefs on Becoming State of the Art - covering industry shared: an approach involving employers and service providers in the co-design and delivery of training to address the mismatch of supply and demand in labour markets.
Menial No More suggests that as a result of emerging technology, consumer expectations, and increased global competition, jobs perceived as ‘low-skilled’ or ‘entry level’ need new kinds of skills – and that Ontario’s economy may depend on our ability to train current and future workers in these types of positions.
Further Reading
Burst for Prosperity: Innovations in Welfare Policy - Building Successful Pathways A Sector-Based, Career Advancement Model
Webinar with Colleges Ontario and Essential Skills Ontario - Wisconsin’s RISE Initiative: Basic Skills, Bridges and Career Ladders
LearningWorks: A Golden Opportunity: Strategies to Focus Adult Education on College and Career
Adult Career Pathways Training and Support Centre: Engaging Employers to Support Adult Career Pathways Programs
Charting a Path : An Exploration of the Statewide Career Pathway Efforts in Arkansas, Kentucky Oregon, Washington and Wisconsin
Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development and the Wisconsin Technical College System: The Regional Industry Skills Education (RISE) Partnership
CLASP: The Alliance for Quality Career Pathways Approach: Developing Criteria and Metrics for Quality Career Pathways
FACTS
Career Ladders helps move those who have low educational attainment or may be vulnerable in other ways to fully participate in the labour market.
Programs and agencies that are part of a career ladders system will often concentrate on sets of occupational skills related to a specific industry or occupation that is growing in their local community.
Career ladders typically provide numerous entry and exit points in order to address challenges faced by part-time and itinerant workers.
Since 2001, in the United States alone, 28 states and hundreds of community colleges and programs have started career ladder initiatives.
Although not yet evaluated in depth, there is a general consensus that Career Ladders have significantly increased industry engagement and participation in training at both regional and local levels.
Subscribe to our newsletter
Donate at the CanadaHelps website