Exploring the Use & Impact of Mobile Technology in a Work-Based Program for Adults Who Face Barriers to Employment


Employment is a key factor in helping people recover and improve their lives. In addition to earning money, employment helps reduce incidences of hospitalization and incarceration1, which has significant financial implications for governments. People with psychiatric disabilities can gain both economically and socially from increased participation in the labour market. The longer someone spends away from work, the less likely they will ever return. Low levels of digital literacy continue to overlap with other aspects of socio-economic marginalization, including low incomes. Employers want people to have the skills to be productive in a new role and believe digital skills improve employee employability and increase business productivity.

This project seeks to ensure the education and skills of cohorts who have been traditionally difficult to employ by encouraging and increasing their digital literacy. Providing participants with the technology, assisting them in using the technology and designing the technology to be user-friendly and appropriate for this population is an innovative way to develop this work-based program.

In addition, using mobile learning will help to strengthen the pre-employment training elements by focusing on relevant essential skills and employer validated workplace skills. The Ontario Literacy Coalition recommends that digital skills are incorporated into basic literacy and essential skills programs set in the workplace. Digital literacy, encompasses a wide range of skills, all of which are necessary to succeed in an increasingly digital world. Comfort and proficiency using digital technology, such as tablets, smartphones, and computers is a focus with links to employment. Awareness of how to navigate the web, share images on social media, and do a Google search to find information.

Primary Research Question

Can adding mobile learning and technology to a work-based employment program enhance digital literacy, increase job satisfaction and increase long-term attachment to the labour market for adults who face many barriers to employment?


Research led by Stella’s Circle


  • Stella’s Circle Employment Training Centre 114 Cabot Street, St. John’s, NL, A1C 1Z8
  • Various commercial cleaning sites and locations served by Clean Start.
  • Bluedrop Learning Network 18 Prescott Street, St. John’s, NL, A1C 3S4


March 2019 – March 2022