What is the overall impact of the initiative and how is this measured?
Participants had an initial assessment in order to determine base line learning needs and to identify and address any personal challenges that might affect their success in the program.
Job placements were arranged after the in-class component for each learner based on their employment goals and a Plan of Action was facilitated by the program’s job coach.
The program has a very proactive approach. As well as the in-class training session and job placements, participants worked with a job coach to develop a step by step Action Plan to achieve their identified goal. By the end of the program participants have taken concrete step to implement their Action Plan. Action Plans are also supported by involved employers and First Nations Community Employment and Training Officers.
Completion rate – 5 successfully completed the program and graduated.
One participant obtained a full time permanent Labourer position within a leading construction company. Another learner identified her desire to become an entrepreneur and own her own bakery. She was selected to participate in the JEDI Business Incubator 10 week program. One learner obtained employment while in the course and was excused from the classroom component as she achieved the goal of employment and was invited to participate in the graduation ceremony. One learner had a desire to create a food bank within her community and was paired with the local food bank to learn the various aspects of operating a food bank. One learner identified his desire to become a Utility Arborist and applied for the technical training with Maritime Forestry Training College and will be attending in January of 2019.
What challenges have you faced and how were these overcome?
Participant related challenges:
Transportation was coordinated with a taxi service to ensure learners had adequate arrangements each day. Tardiness/absenteeism was dealt with by docking learners of their weekly training allowance for unexcused tardiness/absenteeism. Active Addictions – the program team supported methadone recovery by providing participants transportation to and from the methadone facility.
Recruitment was a challenge. Clients were referred to the program, but many were not ready. For example, some participants were struggling with active addictions.
What are 3 key lessons you learned from developing or delivering your initiative? What advice from those lessons would you share with others?
- Having the right instructors is very important. You have to ensure there is the right fit between the instructors and the learners.
- There needs to be ongoing communication and dialogue between all parties involved in the project: staff, participants and partners. JEDI tries to establish an advisory committee for each project and each delivery.
- Program staff and coordinators need to be part of the process. They need to be accessible to and engage with the learners.
What have participants, stakeholders and partners thought, felt and/or said about your initiative?
The learner who became an entrepreneur expressed her gratitude for creating a learning environment where she was able to obtain various certificates such as First Aid, Financial Literacy, Cyber Security, Workplace Essential Skills, WHMIS & Food Safety, and build her professional portfolio. The client provided very positive feedback on the program – her resume was significantly improved by the opportunities made available to her in the program.
The learner who obtained the full time permanent position in the construction industry expressed sincere gratitude for helping him to gain the confidence and skills needed to write his beginners driving exam and opportunity to prove himself during the job placement which led to a permanent position.
Incorporation of Essential Skills
Which Essential Skills are covered by the initiative?
Working with Others
How are the Essential Skills integrated into your initiative?
The 6-month culturally based program explored the 9 essential skills aimed at helping participants gain or improve their skills in reading, writing, numeracy, document use, oral communication, working with others, thinking, computer use, and life-long learning. The Life-long Learning Program provided learners with the opportunity to participate in the on-going process of acquiring new skills and knowledge in a variety of topics including cyber security training and financial literacy.
Lessons are layered to include various skills with a strong focus on incorporating Indigenous content, authors, ways of knowing, and cultural activities.
The program curriculum was updated to determine learning gaps and emphasize Work Place Essential Skills, indigenous content and experiential learning. It included participation in out of class community events, and specialized workshops. For example the TD Bank provided participants Financial Literacy Workshops for Indigenous peoples.
How do you assess participant Essential Skills?
TOWES pre and post assessments.
What are the components of the initiative?
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
Work related clothing/equipment
Access to other in-house services
After program follow-up support
How was Indigenous culture integrated into the program content or delivery?
Indigenous Content is integrated daily into the program content and delivery. Teachers develop their curriculum and incorporate as much Indigenous lessons as they can. In the program, the learners had Indigenous teachings through books, videos, and hand on experiences. Also, the learners participated in Indigenous events held in the communities and at the colleges in the area.
What do you think are the most important competencies and attributes for staff involved in this initiative to have?
- Compassion, empathy, patience, commitment.
- An understanding or desire to learn Indigenous culture, ways of knowing, truth & reconciliation, community dynamics.
Staff were able to choose activities from JEDI’s New Brunswick Aboriginal Workplace Essential Skills Project (NBAWES) workbook to develop their curriculum. Elders were made available as well to ask questions to and provide guidance to the staff person delivering the curriculum.
Who are your partners, and what is their involvement in the initiative?
Employment & Training Officers, Community Elders & Leadership, Employers
The involved First Nation Communities and Indigenous organizations were active partners in the program. They provided the space for the delivery, financial support as needed, purchased laptops for the learners from Computers for Schools , provided transportation when it is was barrier to attending school, and were available to assist learners in any way as required.