The City of Saint John, NB introduced a Training and Development policy
for Basic Skills Training; the City of Kitchener, ON developed a Tuition
Assistance Policy to support accredited academic education; and the City of
Calgary introduced a Clear Language policy.
2.12 Future Plans
Respondents were asked to report on the current status of their programs and
their plans for the future. Some intend to maintain the status quo in
recognition of the need for a well-trained workforce in the face of shrinking
financial resources. Others have seen programs cease as internal literacy
levels have been met. In most of these cases, access to external programs and
resources continues to be advertised and promoted and employees are encouraged
to pursue their education and skills development.
Some municipal governments undergoing amalgamation have put programs on hold
until new organizational reviews are undertaken. Some programs have been
tailored to offer specific training designed to meet provincial certification
requirements. The majority of programs continue to evolve and adapt to meet the
needs of a younger, better educated workforce utilising the latest training
methods, such as technology assisted learning programs.
2.13 Key Learnings
The respondents were asked to identify the three key learnings they observed
from their literacy programs. The list included:
- Excellent union/management partnership;
- Doing the "right thing" inspires success;
- The multiplier effect - spin-offs to improved morale,
- job enrichment and work performance; A small investment for large
- Utilizing expertise of an educational partner (i.e., local school
- Privacy is paramount to the learning environment;
- Anyone can learn within a supportive environment;
- Successful programs are open to all employees, and are employee centred
with a curriculum arising from the workplace.
Having reviewed the foregoing data, the following list of "best
practices" in use in today's municipal workplace literacy programs can be
drawn upon for future reference.
- Explore and develop all opportunities for community partnerships;
- Form workplace committees involving all the stakeholders;
- Undertake needs assessments to determine program requirements and begin
the process of ' buying in' to the new initiative;
- Design voluntary, employee centred programs, open to all employees;
- Use a multifaceted communication strategy emphasizing face to face
communications and use of universal message methods such as pay stubs;
- Evaluate programs on an ongoing basis;
- Record impacts and share results;
- Celebrate successes;
- When barriers occur, take prompt remedial action;
- Adapt programs to meet changing needs.