New Initiative Introduces 'Career Ladders' to Ontario Communities

Essential Skills Ontario and its partners, Literacy Link South Central, the Literacy Network of Durham Region and Literacy Northwest, are pleased to announce their collaboration on a new initiative, Career Ladders: Helping Communities Toward Integrated and Responsive Service Delivery.

Funded by the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities (MTCU), the project will test the emerging concept of 'Career Ladders' in Ontario - an approach that uses a series of sequential education and training programs that explicitly enable individuals to secure employment within a specific industry or occupational sector. Career Ladders incorporates stackable credentials – each recognized by employers in a particular sector – providing workers and job-seekers multiple entry and exit points in training, as well as allowing workers to advance over time to successively higher levels of employment in that sector.

The initiative focuses on populations who are under-represented in the labour market – particularly job-seekers on income support with low educational attainment. Adults with the lowest levels of educational attainment tend to be some of our most vulnerable citizens, as they are most likely to face persistent poverty, be on income support and be caught in a ‘low pay-no pay’ cycle.

This Career Ladders initiative will be specifically designed to benefit three regions: Durham Region, small communities in the Thunder Bay region and the Brant, Haldimand and Norfolk Region. The research and findings of this initiative will be communicated throughout the duration of the project in the hopes that this or similar models can be replicated in other communities in order to impact larger systems change, rather than just single institutions.

Delivering learning when it is needed, where it is needed, and how it is needed presents many challenges to government, business and delivery providers; however, Career Ladders can provide us with the opportunity to unite around the common goal of providing lower-skilled workers with concrete steps towards better skills and better jobs.

If you’d like to read more about Career Ladders and learnings related to the approaches in other jurisdictions, visit Essential Skills Ontario’s Career Ladders webpage at

News Date: 
Tuesday, June 4, 2013