New workforce innovation models connect the dots to labour shortages solutions in NL
CORNER BROOK, NL (May 10, 2022) – The NL Workforce Innovation Centre (NLWIC) has released its first set of final reports from completed NLWIC-funded Research Projects. The eight reports provide evidence of what works and what doesn’t when it comes to workforce development that can be used by labour market stakeholders to address their most pressing labour shortages.
“These reports will not sit on a shelf,” says Sharon McLennon, NLWIC Director. “These applied research projects were approved to experiment with new models of innovation in workforce development that will have a positive impact on the attachment of individuals – particularly underrepresented groups – to the labour market. The purpose is to share these new models so our labour market stakeholders can use this evidence to expand the workforce in our province.”
One of NLWIC’s six key activities mandated by the provincial government is to provide proposal-based funding for applied research projects that test innovative approaches to address labour market challenges and opportunities and improve outcomes in NL. There are 20 research projects funded to date by NLWIC following two Calls for Proposals in 2017 and 2018 totaling $7,663,736.
“The dedication and passion of the research teams of each proponent have been valuable contributions to the success of each research project,” says Joanne Kendrick, NLWIC Research and Innovation Project Coordinator. “The results and outcomes to date demonstrate valuable impacts on the proponent organizations, the communities where they operate and the participating underrepresented groups.”
The final reports from the eight completed projects are available to download from the NLWIC website:
- Pathways to Work: Co-designing Improved Employment Pathways for Inuit Youth in Nunatsiavut, Social Research and Demonstration Corporation (SRDC)
- Evaluating the Short and Long Term Impacts of WRDC’s Employment Assistance Services and Career Development Programming, Women in Resource Development Corporation (WRDC)
- A Development and pilot testing of an innovative demand-led training model to support entry and retention in the Aquaculture sector, Social Research and Demonstration Corporation (SRDC)
- A Community Minded Social Enterprise: An Inquiry for Viability, Corner Brook Status of Women Council (CBSWC)
- Exploring Ways to Foster Innovation in Technology Entrepreneurship Through Increased Female Participation and Immigration Initiatives, Genesis
- Evidence for Community Employment Services: A Collaborative Regional Approach, Collective Interchange Cooperative
- Enhancing the Women in SETT Leadership Program in NL, Canadian Centre for Women in Science, Engineering, Trades and Technology (WinSETT Centre)
- Research on Barriers and Opportunities to Workforce Participation for Older Workers in Newfoundland and Labrador, St. John’s Board of Trade (SJBOT)
The remaining 12 projects will be completed between May 2022 and October 2023. NLWIC’s future dissemination plans include #tipoftheiceberg webinars, key stakeholder briefings and other events where stakeholders – employers, education and training providers, career and employment service providers and organizations who represent underrepresented groups – as well as members of the public, can ask questions and engage with the research proponents.
“The whole reason that NLWIC was created by government was to address changing labour market dynamics and to transform the workforce development ecosystem,” says McLennon. “Ultimately, we want this evidence to be adopted as new programs, policies and/or service delivery models, to be replicated where possible, and to be scaled up for an expanded, diverse, innovative, high-performing workforce to support economic growth and prosperity in the province now and into the future.”
Established in 2017 by the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador and administered by College of the North Atlantic, NL Workforce Innovation Centre (NLWIC) has a provincial mandate to provide a coordinated, central point of access to engage all labour market stakeholders about challenges, opportunities and best practices in workforce development.
NLWIC’s goal is to promote the research, testing and sharing of ideas and models of innovation in workforce development that will positively impact employability, employment and entrepreneurship within the province’s labour force and particularly underrepresented groups. Funding for NLWIC is provided by the Department of Immigration, Population Growth and Skills (IPGS) under the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Labour Market Development Agreement.
Media & Information Officer, NLWIC
New workforce innovation models connect the dots to labour shortages solutions in NL
- NLWIC has six core mandated activities, including:
- Research Funding and Collaborations: We provide proposal-based funding for applied research projects that test innovative approaches to address Newfoundland and Labrador’s labour market challenges and opportunities and improve outcomes.
- Workforce Innovation Dissemination: We provide the public with the findings from the research projects and ways to implement them in the workforce along with other innovative models and best practices. This includes a Best Practices Repository, which we are currently working on developing in collaboration with Magnet at Toronto Metropolitan University.
- There are 20 research projects funded to date by NLWIC following two Calls for Proposals in 2017 and 2018 totaling $7,663,736. Eight projects have been completed to date. The remaining 12 are to be completed between now and October 2023.
Examples of impacts and/or findings from the eight completed NLWIC-funded Research Projects:
(Paraphrased or taken directly from the Final Reports)
- Social Research and Demonstration Corporation (SRDC) – Pathways to Work: Co-designing Improved Employment Pathways for Inuit Youth in Nunatsiavut, July 2018 – December 2019 (18 months)
Deliverables include a video about available resources and sharing youth, employers, and employment supports’ experiences of receiving and providing support to Nainimmuit youth, and a “Journey Map” click-through tool. This tool can be used by youth to explore options and opportunities that align with their interests, skills and experience, as well as what steps would be needed to achieve their career objectives. Learnings from the project emphasized that 1) partnerships are vital to both the content and process of co-design, 2) Flexibility is key to ensuring co-design remains responsive and relevant, and 3) Youth must be engaged at each stage of the process.
- Social Research and Demonstration Corporation (SRDC) – A Development and pilot testing of an innovative demand-led training model to support entry and retention in the Aquaculture sector, January 2018 – June 2020 (30 months)
Project results suggest that a sector-specific training model for entry-level aquaculture work can lead to improved skills, successful completion of technical training and work experience and long-term job retention. The pilot test demonstrated its potential to support the continued growth of the NL aquaculture industry. The findings from this project contribute to the growing body of evidence that demand-led sector-specific training models are effective in improving participant employment outcomes and supporting employers’ business goals. These types of models have the potential to support growth in many key sectors that are expected to drive the province’s economic future.
- Women in Resource Development Corporation (WRDC) – Evaluating the Short and Long Term Impacts of WRDC’s Employment Assistance Services and Career Development Programming, July 2018 – August 2020 (26 months)
Results from the research project confirmed that WRDC’s programs and services decrease barriers, enhance essential skills and increase employability for women who want to work in trades or technology.
- Corner Brook Status of Women Council (CBSWC) – A Community Minded Social Enterprise: An Inquiry for Viability, October 2019 – February 2021 (16 months)
This project resulted in the creation of the Community Transit Enterprise, a long-term strategy to address the transport disadvantage in Corner Brook and to reinvest profits back into the community. It aims to encourage community involvement to sustain the social enterprise, while simultaneously improving health, lifestyle and social capital while decreasing a number of social concerns.
- Genesis – Exploring Ways to Foster Innovation in Technology Entrepreneurship Through Increased Female Participation and Immigration Initiatives, April 2018 – March 2021 (36 months)
Since the start of the project, Genesis has made significant progress in addressing the barriers to technology-based entrepreneurship that women and immigrant founders face. Today, Genesis is proud to report that 33% of the client portfolio has a woman founder/co-founder (up from 0% in 2015) and 42% has an immigrant founder/co-founder. They aim to reach 40% representation of women-led and 50% representation of immigrant-led in the next two to three years. The research project resulted in $2.5 million in annual revenues and the creation of 25+ jobs.
- Collective Interchange Cooperative – Evidence for Community Employment Services: A Collaborative Regional Approach, July 2018 – March 2021 (33 months)
Deliverables include a tailored PRIME tool, which is now being used across Canada and profiled by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) as a best practice. The data from PRIME demonstrates significant positive changes in clients across a robust range of employability indicators and outcomes as they progress through career/employment services. This project has been transformative, demonstrating the dramatic impacts on the use of PRIME on clients served, on practitioners, their organizations and the broader service ecosystem in NL.
- Women in Science, Engineering, Trades and Technology (WinSETT) – Enhancing the Women in SETT Leadership Program in NL, March 2019 – October 2021 (31 months)
Research findings were used to update the curriculum of WinSETT’s Leadership Program and led to the development of a rubric which will continue to be used in future. Online Skill Builders courses were also developed, designed to be as close to an in-person experience as possible. Courses were piloted and delivered to 237 participants of various organizations of NL. Key insights include the benefits of having external subject matter experts reviewing the work throughout the project and having the opportunity to build capacity of WinSETT’s internal team throughout the process which will save resources on future projects.
- St. John’s Board of Trade (SJBOT) – Research on Barriers and Opportunities to Workforce Participation for Older Workers in Newfoundland and Labrador, October 2019 – February 2022 (29 months)
It’s estimated that as many as 43,000 older workers would potentially attach to the workforce if the right circumstances presented themselves. If this population of persons 55+ were added to the workforce, with all their skills and experience, a more diverse and multi-generational workforce would result.