Becoming State of the Art: Clearer Sightlines to Employment, 2012

Although Ontario’s economy is improving, the recession has not ended for those 900,000 Ontarians without a high school diploma. Statistics show that these adults are now twice as likely to be unemployed as they were 20 years ago. Though their future might look bleak, there are solutions.

Clearer Sightlines to Employment: What Works for Job-Seekers with Low Educational Attainment is the second in a series of research briefs on Becoming State of the Art – a series that encourages innovation in the delivery of literacy and essential skills to achieve results that matter.

Clearer Sightlines proposes that many jobs traditionally occupied by adults with low educational attainment have been infinitely changed by advancements in technology and inexpensive overseas labour – and that for these individuals, finding employment is a challenge. The paper suggests that by involving business and industry representatives in the design and delivery of literacy and essential skills training, this issue can be addressed.

Clearer Sightlines recognizes that traditional approaches, such as returning to school, are often ineffective for adults with low educational attainment. Other jurisdictions, such as the U.S. and the U.K., have taken the approach of blending adult learning with more clearly defined and immediate employment opportunities – and it seems to be working.

In order for our province to achieve economic growth and improve the employment prospects of those with low educational attainment, we must begin to replicate these methods. By doing so we can achieve a triple success: success for industry, success for government and success for these adults.