New Workforce Development Initiative Introduced by Essential Skills Ontario

Elevate Canada: Raising the Grade for Food Processing (Elevate) is a new workforce development demonstration initiative from Essential Skills Ontario that will test whether involving employers directly in the design and delivery of workforce training for low-skilled adults on income support can lead to more positive results than more traditional interventions. The initiative will attempt to replicate promising approaches used elsewhere, including the United States and the U.K., which fully integrate basic skills with hands-on vocational skills. Pilot testing will occur at 10 food processing sites across Ontario, and will be conducted in partnership with the Food Processing Human Resource Council (FPHRC).

Funded by the Government of Canada's Adult Learning, Literacy and Essential Skills Program, this multi-faceted project will be the first of its kind to explicitly employ elements of the Programme for International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC). In particular, the project will utilize the Job Requirement Approach (JRA) from PIAAC to better understand how skills are used in specific occupations. The work also seeks to learn how PIAAC’s new dimension of problem solving in technology-rich environments (PS-TREs) can be incorporated into both program model design and in classroom learning.

Over the last decade, transformations in the global economy have changed the skill demands of industry and the nature of work. These changes have impacted all individuals, but none more so than low-skilled adults with low educational attainment levels. By testing innovative delivery models and approaches, Elevate will seek to discover how to better train low-skilled adults for various entry-level occupations that now require higher skill levels. The hope is that by incorporating the learnings from this project, similar delivery models can be replicated across other industries and jurisdictions.

Adults who lack sufficient education and basic skills for today’s knowledge economy are at risk of earning far lower wages on average and at a higher risk of unemployment; thus, policymakers across Canada have been searching for innovative approaches to deliver adult education and training among vulnerable populations. Essential Skills Ontario anticipates that the findings of this two year initiative will contribute to this important discussion.

For more information please visit our Elevate website

News Date: 
Wednesday, October 16, 2013