Procedure to Evaluate
Retention of Learner Skills
The Workplace Context
Irwin Seating Company Toronto is a Canadian subsidiary of Irwin Seating Company of Grand Rapids, Michigan. Located in Toronto, Ontario with employees numbering approximately 100, Irwin Seating offers an extensive line of new fixed public seating as well as complete renovation and restoration services for existing fixed public seating such as theatre, auditorium, lecture, performing arts, stadium, arena, amphitheatre and home theatre seating. In 1996, they began an Essential Workplace Skills program following a comprehensive needs assessment of the companys communication skills that was conducted by the Etobicoke Board of Educations Workplace Training & Services Department. What made this program outstanding was the fact that Irwin Seating Toronto decided to hold the classes completely on company time. This, more than anything else, was a sign to all employees that this company was truly committed to learning.
After meeting with the instructor to discuss the programs framework as well as the expected learning outcomes, all partners determined that the two hour classes would be held on site twice a week. To date, 30 employees have taken part in the training program. Among the production employees, three groups of participants completed a 200 hour Essential Workplace Skills program while one group completed a basic level 100 hour Essential Skills course. The modules in these classes started with the basics of the alphabet and ended with the ability to read, understand, and explain the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS). Numerous activities were designed on health and safety, workplace documents, and interpreting company charts and graphs. Another group of both production and salaried employees completed a 200 hour course entitled, Effective Communication in the Workplace which focused on soft skills acquisition such as presentation skills, team problem solving, report writing, effective meeting skills, and conflict resolution.
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