What is the overall impact of the initiative and how is this measured?
Current outcome data (3 out of 6 sessions):
Average retention rate across all sessions: 81%
Average employment rate across all sessions: 91%
The impact of Change It Up on participants:
• Increase in Essential Skills
• Reduction in high-risk behaviours
• Increase in pro-social behaviours
• Significant reduction in barriers to employment
• Participant completion rate, employment rate, and retention rate
• Employer assessment of participants
• Participant pre- & post-assessments (including TOWES)
• Employer participation numbers
What challenges have you faced and how were these overcome?
The main challenges come from the realities of life on reserve, and the significant degree of trauma suffered by many of our participants. Reserve communities have barriers that are often overlooked, such as no public transportation, limited fresh food, few employment opportunities and even fewer services for mental health, addiction and trauma counselling. These barriers make it difficult to accomplish the outcomes funders or partners want to see in a short timeframe.
Change It Up has focused on participant self-development and reducing personal barriers to employment. Self-development may involve improving interpersonal communication, or doing role-playing for decision making. Reducing barriers may include getting driver’s licenses or helping to ensure adequate housing and food sources.
What are 3 key lessons you learned from developing or delivering your initiative? What advice from those lessons would you share with others?
• It takes time to see results, and you have to invest to get there – it can’t be a one-off, short term, project.
• It also takes a lot of one-on-one support to participants – sometimes it takes 10 tries for someone to be successful, and you have to be supportive throughout that process or students don’t get a chance to succeed.
• It can be helpful to separate the roles of facilitators from the people who work on barrier reduction to give participants more time to debrief & discuss.
What have participants, stakeholders and partners thought, felt and/or said about your initiative?
Participants tell us that the program has changed their life and how they see themselves. For many students, this is the first time that someone has truly believed in them.
Employers have been extremely happy with the results and the quality of employees they are hiring.
Our partners are very happy with the completion rates, employment rates and the amount of community involvement.
Incorporation of Essential Skills
Which Essential Skills are covered by the initiative?
Working with Others
How are the Essential Skills integrated into your initiative?
• Meta-cognition –helping participants to understand how they learn and the processes of many essential skills.
• Essential skills are directly practiced and monitored through a particular task or project, and are always integrated in an applied context (hands-on approach).
• The focus on particular essential skills may shift depending on the needs for a specific job or industry.
• Participant pre & post assessments, job task checklists, employer assessments and student self-assessments.
How do you assess participant Essential Skills?
TOWES, self-assessments, employer assessments.
What are the components of the initiative?
Occupation-specific skills training
Occupational certifications and/or licensing
Work-integrated learning (i.e., internships, co-ops, work placements, etc.)
Career and/or educational planning
Job search services
Cultural, language, and tradition awareness and/or training
How do you support participant success in the program?
Child care support
Food allowance and/or on-site meals
Work related clothing/equipment
Job retention support
After program follow-up support
How was Indigenous culture integrated into the program content or delivery?
Elders and the community have significant input on the program, but ultimately the program is driven by the participants. If participants want a cultural component, it will be integrated – past examples have included smudging, sharing circles, equine experiences, land-based learning.
What do you think are the most important competencies and attributes for staff involved in this initiative to have?
Staff need to be persistent, caring, empathetic, strong, and have a whole-hearted belief that everyone can succeed. No matter what, staff need to be able to be there for the participants.
Who are your partners, and what is their involvement in the initiative?
Funders and Guiding Partners:
Samson Cree Nation
Government of Alberta
Employers in the community
– Canalta Hotels Ponoka
– Sundbridge Hemp
– Maskwacis Ambulance Authority
– Lucky Dollar Foods
– Hobbema Dental
– Samson Management (Office Cleaning Department and Gas Bar)
– Samson Daycare
– SevGen Cleaning
– Cree Convenience
– Maskwacis Health
– Mascwacis Cultural College
– EPS Molders (Ponoka)
– Bruno Industries
– Maskwacis Cleaning Company (Employment)
– JaniKing Commercial cleaning (Alberta North commercial cleaning partner)
– WIN Ecosciences (delivered Permaculture Program)
– Erminskin SA/HR (Paid for Permaculture training for every student)
– Aboriginal BEST (provided Entrepreneur Training)
– Peace Hill Trust / Peace Hills General Insurance (provided USB sticks to all session 2 students for resume and cover letter storage)
Health and Wellness Partners
– Maskwacis Counseling Services (counseling services – but over-subscribed in the community)
– Samson Community Wellness (counseling services – but over subscribed in the community)
-Computers for Schools – will be donating laptops to students who complete the program successfully