The Simcoe/Muskoka Literacy Network (SMLN) developed the Bridging the Employment Gap series of workforce curricula to help people with Essential Skills Level 1 skills to upgrade their literacy, numeracy and other essential skills in an entry-level occupational context. There are five occupational sector manuals - Clerical, Retail, Janitorial, Grounds Maintenance, and Kitchen Help - as well as a 6th manual called Ready for Work which focuses on “soft skills” needed by all employees. Ready for Work was developed in response to requests from employment counsellors, job developers, as well as upgrading staff.
In Simcoe County and Muskoka in Ontario, the offices of Ontario Works (OW), the program which supports people on social assistance, are partnering with local community-based literacy programs in the Ready for Work materials to help their clients become employment-ready, as well as increase job-retention. These essential and employability skills workshops are run as courses up to16 weeks in length.
Participants are referred by OW caseworkers and assessed by the local literacy agency. Workshops consist of discussion, role play, hands-on and paper-based activities, and demonstrations of learning. At the end of the workshop series, each participant completes a self-evaluation and the instructor completes a participant evaluation. Participants are encouraged to partake in other literacy and employability skills services provided by the local literacy agency.
Workshops vary depending upon participant needs. Workshop topics include:
The Ready for Work manual is available as a free download on the NALD website: http://library.nald.ca/browse/series?name=Bridging+the+Employment+Gap. Please contact the Simcoe/Muskoka Literacy Network to order hard copies, which are now 20% off the normal $84 price until August 31, 2011.
For more information:
Simcoe/Muskoka Literacy Network
575 West. St. S., Unit 15
Orillia, ON L3V 7N6