Career Ladders: Providing Opportunities for Ontario’s Working Adults

For many adults who want to advance in their careers, leaving their current jobs to participate in traditional education and training opportunities is not a realistic option, particularly if they have families to support. Finding a skills training program that is faster, accommodating to their working lives and designed around their employment and career advancement needs, however, is difficult. But at the same time, many employers are struggling to find skilled workers who can move up and grow with their business.

To address this gap, Essential Skills Ontario and its partners, Literacy Link South Central, The Literacy Network of Durham Region and Literacy Northwest, are exploring an approach known as “Career Ladders” in three Ontario communities. This approach – as outlined in the new brief Career Ladders: Providing Opportunities for Ontario’s Working Adults - is an effort to enable vulnerable workers to enter and ascend up a career pathway in any given industry occupation on their own time.

The central premise of career ladders is that training and educational delivery should be organized as a series of incremental and stackable certificates that are aligned to progressive occupational pathways. They provide numerous entry and exit points, along with wraparound supports, in order to address scheduling and other barriers working adults often face accessing and completing training.