Elevate Canada: Raising the Grade for Food Processing

Over the past two years, Essential Skills Ontario (ESO), in collaboration with the Food Processing Human Resource Council (FPHRC) and various community service providers, have been working on an innovative workforce development demonstration initiative, Elevate Canada: Raising the Grade for Food Processing. Funded by Employment and Social Development Canada under the Adult Learning, Literacy and Essential Skills Program, Elevate has been helping bridge the gap between vulnerable adults looking for work and different sub-sectors of the food processing industry looking for workers.

Comprised of two phases, Elevate first spent time analyzing the job task requirements of entry level occupations in the food processing sector. Project staff visited four food processing facilities and conducted interviews with key managers and employees. These interviews focused on what skills were needed for each position and how those skills had been developed, with ESO staff then observing employees in their day to day work on the factory floor.

The second phase of the Elevate initiative involved working directly with service delivery partners and employers to train individuals receiving income support in Ontario with skills relevant to in-demand occupations in the food processing industry. Delivering integrated employer-tailored curriculums developed by Loyalist College through Alchemy Systems’ platform, nine different cohorts were trained across Ontario by six partner organizations:

- One cohort in Strathroy, working with Fanshawe College and Bonduelle’s Frozen Foods
- Three cohorts in Trenton/Belleville, working with Loyalist College, Canadian Blast Freezers and Vantage Foods
- Two cohorts in Stratford, working with Partners in Employment, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, Monforte Dairy, Shepherds Gourmet Dairy and Nutty Bakers
- One cohort in Woodstock, working with Fanshawe College, Bright Cheese, Old Time Bakery, Kerry Ingredients, and Gunn’s Hill Artisan Cheese
- One cohort in Oshawa, working with Durham Region Unemployed Help Centre, Buckingham Meat Market and Halenda’s Fine Foods
- One cohort in Toronto, working with PTP Adult Learning and Employment Programs, Wildly Delicious Fine Foods, Real Food for Real Kids, Kerr’s Bros Limited and Country Fresh Packaging/Dominion Citrus

VIDEO: Watch our Elevate Canada: Raising the Grade for Food Processing video: https://youtu.be/DE6qVD9eKhs

CURRICULUMS: Download the full Elevate curriculums from Dropbox: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/5u0lyx74qk5sjdv/AADn--BcEFSWVJVSUtVghCgYa?dl=0

WEBINAR: Watch a recording of the final webinar: https://youtu.be/Brksrb_UtV0

Elevate News:
June 16, 2015: Workforce Development Initiative Shows Promise for Food Processing Industry
January 15, 2015: First Two Cohorts Graduate from Elevate Training Program
July 31, 2014: Alchemy Partners with Elevate Canada to Facilitate Pre-Employment Education
July 8, 2014: Fanshawe College to Provide Training for Vulnerable Adults as part of Elevate Canada Initiative
June 9, 2014: Essential Skills Ontario Announces Collaboration with Loyalist College on Elevate Initiative
May 26, 2014: Food Processing Employer Seeking Innovative Way to Find, Train and Retain New Hires
January 9, 2014: New Brief Outlines Promising New Delivery Model
October 16, 2013: New Workforce Development Initiative Introduced by Essential Skills Ontario