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Literacy and Essential Skills Profile

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Literacy and Essential Skills Profile Powered By Docstoc
					A Literacy and
Essential Skills
    Profile
       for
Chilliwack, BC

       Prepared by: Michael Berger
                   Plan B Services
                      July 15, 2009
                         Literacy and Essential Skills Profile

                                             Table of Contents


Section                                                                                                       Page Number

1. Chilliwack Community Profile ..................................................................................... 3
2. Total number of businesses in Chilliwack .................................................................... 4
3. Number of businesses in Chilliwack by major sectors ................................................. 5
4. Size of businesses in Chilliwack ................................................................................... 5
5. Number of employees by sector in Chilliwack ........................................................... 10
6. Unemployment rate in Chilliwack .............................................................................. 11
7. Educational attainment in Chilliwack ......................................................................... 11
8. Composite Learning Index ―Learning to Do‖ results for Chilliwack ......................... 11
9. Existing Essential Skills training at Chilliwack businesses ........................................ 16
10. Barriers Chilliwack employers face in providing essential skills training ................. 17
11. Essential skills training employers would like to have available in Chilliwack ......... 21
12. Inventory of incentive programs to employers ........................................................... 23
13. Conclusion .................................................................................................................. 25
14. References ................................................................................................................... 27
Appendix A – Inventory of Workforce Training Funding Incentives .............................. 29
Appendix B – Composite Learning Index background .................................................... 36




                                                                                                                                   2
                       1. Chilliwack Community Profile
    Chilliwack, BC is a city of approximately 75,000 nestled in a wide, fertile river
    valley, surrounded first by acres of flat, arable farmland and then by soaring
    mountains in the distance. The city is located in the eastern portion of the Fraser
    Valley, about 100 km east of Vancouver. To the north, the Fraser River; to the west,
    the larger city of Abbotsford; to the east, the important crossroads of Hope – a place
    where travelers can access the rest of BC through three major highways; and finally,
    to the south, the American border.


    Chilliwack’s mild climate, gorgeous scenery, attractive lifestyle, business friendly
    attitude, community-minded spirit, and low cost home prices all contribute to making
    it an attractive place for both newcomers and to people from the rest of the Lower
    Mainland of BC.


    As of 2008, the estimated population of Chilliwack is 74,9651 and is expected to grow
    to nearly 110,0002 in the next ten years.


    Chilliwack’s median age is 38.9 years of age – less than BC’s median age of 40.8.
    Due to the high number of families that reside in Chilliwack, only 79.5% of the
    population is over 15 years of age, which is lower than BC’s 83.5%.3 Chilliwack is
    predominantly an English-speaking community, but there is a growing multi-cultural
    aspect as more and more immigrants come to the city from Asia, Europe, and
    South/Central America. Chilliwack typically attracted relatively homogenous groups
    of Dutch, German, or British immigrants until the last few decades, when Punjabi,
    Korean, and more recently Latin American people began settling here.


    Beginning first with the initial wave of European immigrants and continuing with the
    newer immigrant groups, Chilliwack has long been known as a strong faith-based
1
  BC Statistics (BC Stats) Community Facts. Chilliwack. (2009).
2
  City of Chilliwack website (http://www.chilliwack.com)
3
  Statistics Canada (StatsCan) 2006 Community Profile. Chilliwack. (2006).



                                                                                             3
    community. With faith and hard work, the new immigrants to Chilliwack quickly
    worked to become part of the fabric of the community by starting small businesses
    and relying on their friends and neighbours to help them become established and
    grow. In particular, groups of Dutch and Punjabi immigrants began settling on farms
    and encouraging others from their old communities to join them in their new beautiful
    and bountiful country.



           2. Total number of businesses in Chilliwack
    Historically, Chilliwack was a community of agriculture and forestry, as early settlers
    harvested the food and timber that helped build the province. Today, there is a clear
    long-term trend, on the local, provincial and national levels, toward less goods-
    producing economic activity and more service-producing activity. However, in
    Chilliwack, agriculture continues to account for significant percentages of both
    employment and community income.4


    Some goods-producing industries – such as manufacturing and construction – are also
    key to local economic performance (although they are not growing at the rate of
    service industries).5


    The City of Chilliwack has seen significant growth in business licenses taken out in
    the last 10 years. As of June 15, 2009, there are 4522 licensed businesses in the city
    of Chilliwack. Since 1999, there are an additional 1796 businesses licensed.6


    While the licensed businesses in Chilliwack come from all major sectors, the vast
    majority of them are small business – most having fewer than twenty (20) employees.




4
  Chilliwack Economic Partners (CEPCO). Chlliwack Community Profile (p.41). (2009).
5
  CEPCO. Chlliwack Community Profile (p.41). (2009).
6
  City of Chilliwack Business License Office. (personal communication, June 2009)


                                                                                             4
    3. Number of businesses in Chilliwack by major sectors
      Chilliwack economic activity tends to focus on a few sectors. The services/retail
      sector is predominant with nearly half of the city’s economic activity tied to it.
      Manufacturing and Construction each are responsible for about 8% of Chilliwack’s
      economic activity. Agriculture also remains of importance to the community with an
      estimated $252 million dollars of economic activity annually.7

                                        Major Employment Sectors
                                              Public                  Finance/Insurance/
           Forestry/Fishing/Min         Administration: 13%             Real Estate: 3%
                 ing: 2%

                                                                                  Services: 33%

           Transportation/Com
           munications/Public
               Utilities: 7%


                   Trade: 19%                                                      Agriculture: 7%

                                  Construction: 8%            Manufacturing: 8%




      Graphic source: CEPCO. Chilliwack Community Profile (p. 55). (2009)



                        4. Size of businesses in Chilliwack

      Chilliwack is a city of small business. Sole proprietorships account for more than
      half of all businesses. As of June 2008, BC Stats reports that 2,794 firms with no
      employees existed in Chilliwack, an increase of 226 since December 2005 alone. At
      the same time, BC Stats said there were 2,521 businesses with employees, an increase
      of only 22 since December 2005.


      According to the same BC Stats report, the composition of Chilliwack businesses is
      heavily trended towards small business. Just over 90%, or 2,281 of the 2,521

7
    CEPCO. Chlliwack Community Profile (p.42). (2009).


                                                                                                     5
businesses with employees, are in the 1-19 employees in size category. One hundred
and sixty nine (169) businesses are 20-49 employees in size and although they
typically fit the definition of ―small‖ sized compared to other Canadian cities, they
are often referred to as ―medium‖ sized in Chilliwack. Sixty-one (61) Chilliwack
businesses have 50-199 employees and only ten (10) are shown to have more than
200 employees.


The Chilliwack Economic Partners Corporation (CEPCO) is a proactive, business-
orientated entity responsible for the City of Chilliwack's economic growth and
marketing to potential new businesses. Incorporated in 1998, CEPCO is a private
company under the BC Companies Act. The City of Chilliwack appoints all members
on the 16-20 person board and also provides core funding for the organization. In
addition to attracting new business to Chilliwack, CEPCO works with local business
organizations and the city staff to retain businesses that have settled in Chilliwack.


CEPCO’s community profile identified many of the larger businesses for some of the
larger economic sectors. The following tables are from the CEPCO profile and are
illustrative of the larger businesses in town.


Major Agricultural Employers
   Company                                         Employees
   Rainbow Greenhouses                                 * 160

   Inline Nurseries                                    ** 110
   Unifeed                                               80
   Fraser Valley Duck & Goose                            70
   Cannor Nurseries                                      65
                           *45 and **70 are part-time/ seasonal




                                                                                         6
Major Food Processing Employers
   Company                                      Employees
   Vantage Foods                                     110
   Johnston Packers                                  85
   Fraser Valley Meats                               56
   Natrel/Sealtest                                   45
   Coast Mountain Dairy                              40
   Rogers Foods                                      20
   Norma's Bakery                                    18


Major Financial Employers
   Company                                      Employees
   Envision Credit Union                             101
   Prospera Credit Union                             57
   Royal Bank                                        50
   TD Canada Trust                                   45
   Bank of Montreal                                  40
   HSBC                                              32
   CIBC                                              24
   Scotiabank                                        24
   Vancity Savings Credit Union                      18
   Coast Capital Savings                             15


Major Forestry Employers
   Company                                      Employees
   Uneeda Wood Products                              180
   Visscher Lumber                                   126
   Chilliwack Forest District                        70
   Yarrow Wood                                       * 36
                                  * 4 are seasonal



                                                            7
Major Health Employers
   Company                                   Employees
   Chilliwack General Hospital                 1,400
   Complex Care Facilities (3 companies)        210
   Chilliwack Society for Community Living      110


Major Manufacturing Employers
   Company                                   Employees
   Uneeda Wood Products                         180
   Masonite International                       178
   Ty-Crop Manufacturing                        169
   IMW Industries                               150
   Visscher Lumber                              126
   Unifeed                                       98
   Westeck Windows                               94


Major Public Sector Employees
   Company                                   Employees
   School District #33                         1,524
   Sto:lo Nation - First Nation Government      376
   City of Chilliwack                           260
   RCMP                                         210
   University of the Fraser Valley              180
   (Chilliwack Campus)
   Canada Post                                   71
   Fraser Valley Regional District               70




                                                         8
Major Professional Services Employers
      Company                            Employees
      Baker Newby                            68
      Meyers Norris Penny                    33
      Waterstone Law Group                   33
      Wedler Engineering                     32
      KPMG                                   25
      Omega & Associates Engineering         23
      Langbroek, Louwerse & Thiessen         15
      Craven/Huston/Powers Architects        11


   Major Technology Employers
      Company                            Employees
      Stream                                900
      Ty-Crop Manufacturing                 169
      IMW Industries Ltd.                   150
      Murphy Air                             40
      TEKSmed Services                       32


   Major Tourism Employers
      Company                            Employees
      Best Western Rainbow Country Inn       85
      Cultus Lake Parkboard (summer)         50
      Minter Gardens                         50


   Major Retail/Trade Employers
      Company                            Employees
      Overwaitea Food Group                 450
      Real Canadian Superstore              340
      Canada Safeway                        178



                                                     9
           Wal-Mart                                               156
           Canadian Tire                                          110
           Sears                                                  108
           Zellers Department Store                               90
           Future Shop / Best Buy                                 53
           Country Garden Limited                                 * 50
                                            *10 are seasonal



           5. Number of employees by sector in Chilliwack

      As of 2006, BC Stats reports that there are 36,130 people in the labour force in
      Chilliwack, an increase of 19.1% since 2001. The sectors with the greatest
      employment in Chilliwack are:8


      Sector                                               Labour Force
      Education & Health                                   5965
      Retail/Wholesale Trade                               5710
      Professional Services, Finance, Insurance            5305
      Construction                                         3660
      Manufacturing                                        3550
      Accommodation, Food Services & Recreation            3045
      Public Administration                                2460
      Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing                       2085




8
    BC Statistics Community Facts. Chilliwack. (2009).


                                                                                         10
                      6. Unemployment rate in Chilliwack

       The 2006 census by Statistics Canada showed Chilliwack with an unemployment rate
       of 5.3% which was lower than BC’s 6.0% rate. With the recent economic downturn
       however, the local unemployment rate has more than doubled to 10.7% in May 2009
       compared to BC’s 7.8% rate.9



                   7. Educational attainment in Chilliwack

       The majority (55.2%) of Chilliwack’s adult population aged 15-64 has no
       postsecondary certificate, diploma or degree. This is significantly higher than the BC
       average of 47.7%.10 In the past, many business sectors such as construction or
       agriculture may have been suitable for adults without high school graduation or
       postsecondary studies. However, as many jobs are now requiring a higher level of
       skills, it is imperative that employees in Chilliwack have access to training that is
       affordable, accessible and meaningful.



                             8. Composite Learning Index
                   “Learning to Do” results for Chilliwack
       The Canadian Council on Learning (CCL) is an independent, non-profit corporation
       that promotes and supports research to improve all aspects of learning.

       The Canadian Council on Learning publishes an annual Composite Learning Index
       (CLI). The CLI looks at a number of different statistics produced by Statistics
       Canada and other sources and creates both an overall score and scores within four
       significant pillars. The four pillars used for the CLI are called Learning to Know,
9
    BC Statistics (BC Stats) Labour Force Statistics Issue: 09-05. (May 2009).
10
    StatsCan 2006 Community Profile. Chilliwack. (2006).



                                                                                               11
      Learning to Do, Learning to Live, and Learning to Be. More information about the
      CLI and the four pillars can be found in Appendix B.


      For the purposes of this report, the Learning to Do pillar is the focus. The Learning
      to Do pillar refers to the acquisition of applied skills that are often linked to
      occupational success, such as computer training, managerial training and
      apprenticeships.


      The Learning to Do pillar is comprised of three indicators. They are Job-related
      training, Availability of workplace training, and (travel) Time to vocational schools.


      Participation in Job-related training
      The first indicator is known as Job-related training. In Chilliwack, the majority of
      job-related training tends to be informal education. New staff orientation or health
      and safety training are done at most businesses, but the degree to which they are done
      varies widely. Businesses that use a computer will offer basic computer-related
      training – i.e. how to log on to the computer system, where to find files/document,
      and how to use specific programs. More advanced training is typically only held at
      larger companies, or for those that are a branch office of a larger company. For most
      small Chilliwack businesses, training fits into the informal education definition. It is
      less structured and done on an impromptu ―just in time‖ basis. In fact, training often
      fits the pattern of observing someone performing a task, or seeking advice from
      someone knowledgeable. The exception tends to be those in professional service
      fields as staff who are given job-related training in those companies are often more
      formally educated to begin with.11


      In personal discussions with Chilliwack employers, over 50% indicated that they felt
      that their employees didn’t need training – particularly on essential skills; others
      mentioned that they had some staff that wouldn’t be interested in training (mainly due


11
     Various Chilliwack employers (personal communication, September 2008-June 2009)



                                                                                              12
to lack of time or family commitments). Many employers did not want the expense
of formal classroom training.

Despite the seeming lack of interest of employers, the Job-related training indicator
for Chilliwack rose from 25.7% in 2008’s survey to 30.1% in 2009’s survey. This is
similar in nature to the trend across Canada. Even with this increase of job-related
training, according to the CCL survey, almost 70% of Chilliwack businesses are not
providing training of any kind – even informal training.


Availability of workplace training
The second indicator is known as Availability of workplace training. Due to the size
of the survey sample, Chilliwack’s 2009 results come from the Provincial level.
Additionally, it should be noted that the 2009 results are from 2005 census data. For
more complete results, the WES survey should be done annually. Due to the delay in
providing results, short-term workplace training may have been completed in between
periods covered by the survey.


This indicator measures the proportion of Canadian employers that offer any form of
training for their employees, from on-the-job to more structured classes. This
indicator measures the extent of workplace training available to Canadian workers in
order to help them update their skills and knowledge.


The Availability of workplace training indicator for Chilliwack dipped from 2007’s
60.4% rate to 2009’s 57.0% rating. Because the data is at a provincial level, it’s
difficult to extrapolate Chilliwack-specific data or meaning. In discussions with
Chilliwack employers, most offered a form of orientation training or health and safety
training. With the exception of professional services firms, these were the only forms
of training for the majority of employees. Many local employers felt that informal,
―just in time‖ training was sufficient for most of their staff. In general, Chilliwack
businesses don’t think it’s necessary to provide any training beyond what’s currently
needed for the employee to do the job. The business owners are focused on keeping



                                                                                         13
the business running, with the lowest overhead cost possible. Not many employers
are thinking about the employee’s potential for greater responsibility. The employers
that do tend to have it ingrained in their corporate culture. For many employees, it
was up to them to articulate when they need training or wish to have training to help
progress to a more senior position.


Time to vocational schools
The third indicator in the Learning to Do pillar is Time to vocational schools. The
Canadian Council of Learning has created this indicator by using Google Maps data.
It measures the average travel time required to reach vocational schools, business and
secretarial schools. The CCL creates this indicator annually, and it is done on a
Provincial, Regional, City, and Community levels.


With the current location of the University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) being central
to many people living in either Chilliwack or its southern suburb Sardis, the average
travel time is indicated to be just under three minutes of travel time to courses. While
it may show that it’s a three-minute trip on a map, local situations such as weather,
traffic, transit routes, etc. are not taken into consideration in this calculation. With
typical rush hour traffic taken into consideration, this three-minute trip is probably
closer to 10-15 minutes in length from many Chilliwack locations and up to 20
minutes for Sardis locations. Additionally, in outlying parts of Chilliwack such as
Yarrow, Greendale, or Rosedale, this trip is generally 20-25 minutes in length even
during low traffic-flow times. During periods of inclement winter weather, this travel
time may increase, particularly if students do not live on or near main roads.


For those that take public transit, the timeframe is also longer than the three-minute
timeframe calculated by the CCL. For instance, during the morning rush hour, a bus
leaving a location in Sardis will take up to 25 minutes to reach UFV.      Even an
evening, non-peak time will take 21 minutes. From the Downtown (Chilliwack)
Exchange to UFV, the bus takes 14 minutes to arrive. This is during both peak and
non-peak hours.


                                                                                           14
While many UFV courses are offered during the weeknight evenings, students who
require public transit would generally not be able to benefit. On average, buses on
main routes in Chilliwack run every hour. Evening bus routes are only offered on
Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. No evening bus routes are covered during the
rest of the week. Outlying, rural parts of Chilliwack such as Yarrow, Greendale, and
Rosedale do not have any bus service available to them. If an employee works in
Chilliwack but lives outside of Chilliwack, there is limited Greyhound bus service
between other cities and towns in the Fraser Valley and Chilliwack. The Greyhound
schedules do not allow employees to attend an evening class.


In addition to the current UFV campus being centrally located to both Chilliwack and
Sardis, other private institutions such as Vancouver Career College or MTI
Community College have located themselves either on the Yale/Vedder corridor or
near the downtown core. Travel time to these schools would be similar (within a few
minutes) of those travelling to UFV.


When UFV moves to their new campus location in the southern part of town in the
next few years, this may affect travel time negatively for people living in Chilliwack
proper.


The average travel time to vocational schools in Chilliwack is definitely higher than
the 2:59 in the CCL survey. Even without taking inclement weather or rush hour
traffic into account, private vehicle trips are in the 10-15 minute range and bus trips
are in the 15-25 minute range for the majority of those in Chilliwack’s urban areas.




                                                                                          15
       Conclusion
       Compared to the Canadian statistics for the Composite Learning Index, Chilliwack
       compares favourably. Chilliwack’s overall CLI score of 76 is in line with Canada’s
       75. Both of these scores trended down from the previous year. This was primarily
       due to dips in the Learning to Live and Learning to Be pillars. The Learning to Do
       pillar both locally and nationally rose from 2008. The CCL said this because Canada
       has seen an increase in the proportion of adults participating in job-related training
       over the last three years. At the same time there has been a growth in the proportion
       of businesses offering workplace training.12



                      9. Existing Essential Skills training
                               at Chilliwack businesses

       Based on discussions with Chilliwack employers13, there is no known consistent
       training available to employees for literacy or essential skills training. When an
       employee is hired, most business owners expect them to have an appropriate level of
       literacy for their job. It is often not until the employee has worked at the business for
       a while that the employer finds out that this may not be the case.


       While not essential skills training, businesses provide a new employee orientation
       training that typically is one half to a full day. Many times, this orientation does not
       follow a formal training plan but is rather ad hoc in nature. For small businesses, it’s
       often co-workers who seem to do the training ―on the fly‖. Topics that are typically
       covered in orientation training are: work schedules and duties, methods for
       performing various work tasks, review of job description (if one exists), review of
       performance expectations, basic computer training (how to log on to system, where to
       find key files), how to use various office equipment such as telephone, photocopier or
       cash register and an introduction to co-workers.

12
     Canadian Council on Learning (CCL). A brief look at Canada’s 2009 CLI results. (2009).
13
     Various Chilliwack employers (personal communication, September 2008-June 2009)



                                                                                                16
Some larger businesses, such as a local financial institution, offer training for all new
employees at their Administrative centre (outside of Chilliwack). Other large
businesses, such as a local manufacturing plant, provide informal orientation training
to new staff. Depending on the role the new employee is taking, there may be more
specific training done on machinery, computer systems or business-specific software.


Health and safety training is the second most frequent training – often times it forms
part of the orientation training.


The smaller the business, the less training is usually performed. The focus is much
more on encouraging people to learn as they go.

No evidence of essential skills training on topics such as reading, writing, or
numeracy could be found at Chilliwack businesses.




10. Barriers Chilliwack employers face in providing
                        essential skills training

Chilliwack employers can face barriers to providing literacy or essential skills
training at their workplace. In discussion with a number of employers and
employees, here are some of the common barriers encountered:


Lack of interest by business owner
Perhaps the biggest barrier is that many employers simply aren’t interested in
providing training in the workplace – unless they see a direct monetary payback
and/or immediate increase in productivity.




                                                                                       17
Lack of time
Business owners are busy running their business. Many don’t have time to discuss
literacy issues with staff. If they do, the don’t have time to research when and where
courses are currently running.


Lack of money
With the high proportion of small businesses in Chilliwack, many of them are not in a
position to fund training. Especially with the current economic downturn, many are
struggling to keep their business in the black, let alone spend money on training.


Lack of staff
Businesses have cut staff to the minimum in order to reduce their expenses. Many do
not have the ability to have staff away from the office in order to learn. Training
during business hours is difficult as staff are needed to help run the business.


Lack of computer resources
Small businesses keep their expenses low out of necessity. One way they do this is to
minimize the amount of money they invest in computers and technology. Often
times, the only computer in a business will be in the owner’s office. Any computer-
related training would be fighting for space and time with regular use by the business.


Lack of interest by employees
Employees are busy with their own lives. Some work additional jobs, some are busy
with children’s activities, some volunteer outside of work hours. Employees may not
see a need to improve their skills or think that they are ―good enough‖.


Lack of support from employees’ families
Sometimes, the employee’s family members are the barrier. They don’t wish the
employee to spend more time at work or at school. Chilliwack is known as a family-
friendly place, with lots of activities and events for children and families. Children’s
activities often have a greater focus for families than upgrading a parent’s educational


                                                                                      18
       levels. Additionally, Chilliwack has 3,000 single parent families14. Many people
       heading up those families are unable to upgrade their skills during the evenings or
       weekends because of family commitments.


       Transportation issues
       If employees take transit to/from work, they are often limited when trying to attend
       courses outside of typical work hours. Many of Chilliwack’s bus routes do not
       operate in the evenings. Others only operate some evenings.


       Chilliwack’s transit system is also limited to main routes. If an employee lives in
       outlying areas such as Yarrow, Greendale, or Rosedale, there is no public transit
       system available to them.


       Ego / Stigma
       The issue of either being too proud to ―need‖ training and/or viewing literacy-related
       training as having a negative stigma attached to it is a very real, yet often unspoken
       barrier. It’s not unusual for small business owners themselves to have low literacy
       levels. When discussing Essential Skills with two different employers, both of them
       spoke up at the end of the interview to say that they ―may‖ have an issue themselves.


       Not knowing who needs training
       As previously stated, employers are usually pre-occupied with simply running the
       business. They often don’t have the skills to determine nor desire to understand who
       needs training on essential skills. Many feel that if an employee has a high school
       graduation certificate, they should be sufficiently prepared to work. What employers
       are finding however is that high school graduation does not necessarily equate to
       sufficient literacy skills. Many complain about the fact that younger employees can’t




14
     StatsCan 2006 Community Profile. Chilliwack. (2006).



                                                                                                19
       write complete sentences or thoughts, can’t follow directions, or don’t know how to
       fill out documents.15


       Not knowing training is available
       To some employers and employees, the fact that there are essential skills related
       training courses available comes as a surprise. As an example, many tend to think of
       the University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) as providing ―higher level‖ education, and
       not realizing that there is an upgrading and university preparation department that
       helps with education and career goals for many people needing to upgrade their skill
       level. For employers, the upgrading courses may not address the specific needs of
       their business; for employees, they may have difficulty getting to the training location
       or the class schedule may not work for them.


       The University’s new Trades and Technology Centre (TTC) has been well received
       by employers. A few businesses have already established partnerships with the
       University to take advantage of the training provided at the TTC. As an example, a
       local General Motors (GM) car dealer arranged for GM to provide vehicles to the
       TTC for the students to work on during their studies. This naturally prepares them to
       work in a ―GM shop‖. The University continues to promote these partnership
       opportunities with businesses in Chilliwack.


       Conclusion
       During personal discussions with employers, many of the above barriers were
       mentioned. These barriers need to be overcome before they even feel comfortable
       discussing literacy and essential skills related training. For most, the immediate
       reaction is that they are too busy or don’t have the staffing available. It’s only after
       further dialogue ensues, and methods of overcoming these barriers are discussed, the
       benefit of training becomes more attractive to employers. This discussion will need



15
     Various Chilliwack employers (personal communication, September 2008-June 2009)



                                                                                                  20
to continue for lifelong learning and training to become ingrained in Chilliwack’s
workplaces.


The idea of workplace essential skills is not currently a common part of the training
conversation in the offices in Chilliwack. A publicity campaign to raise awareness
about workplace essential skills training will be a key component to overcoming this
reticence on behalf of employers. By promoting the issue and outlining ways that it
can be addressed, Chilliwack businesses will be in a better position to understand the
types of essential skills training that may benefit them. The idea of training forming a
part of lifelong learning, and how that learning benefits both employees and
employers is an important thought to share. If employers simply view training as
addressing immediate needs and not as part of lifelong learning, then they will have
to overcome these barriers repeatedly.



  11. Essential skills training employers would like
                 to have available in Chilliwack

Like many businesses in the current economic downturn, Chilliwack’s employers
have an eye firmly trained on their bottom line. Small businesses in particular
typically have small profit margins to work with and every dollar counts. Granting
time off work to take part in training is an expensive proposition for many small
businesses.


When asked what types of essential skills training would be most beneficial to their
company, the business owners replied with Oral Communications (70% of surveyed
businesses), Workplace Success Skills (68%), Reading Text (57%), Working with
Others (55%), and Writing (61%).




                                                                                        21
When asked how many staff would benefit from essential skills training, the business
owners replied with Oral Communications (245 total staff), Document Use (216),
Reading Text (144), Thinking Skills (90), and Working with Others (88).


Based on the survey results, it appears that Oral Communications (perhaps combined
with a Working with Others section) would be most beneficial to both the most
businesses and the most employees. This is not to say that other essential skills
should be ignored or aren’t needed, but the initial survey respondents clearly have a
need to see Oral Communications addressed.


In discussions with employers, businesses said that low Oral Communications skills
are having an effect on their workplace. Younger staff members, in particular, are
often unable to clearly and concisely express opinions, resolve minor conflicts or give
constructive feedback. Nearly all businesses said that staff could also use help giving
presentations – even to others at their workplace.


While few businesses expressed issues with English as a Second Language (ESL)
employees, this was typically because the ESL employees are given more menial
tasks that don’t require a lot of communication. If there was something that needed to
be communicated to the ESL employees, an employee with superior English skills is
often used as a translator. One employer had taken the step of learning Spanish in
order to communicate with some of their foreign-born employees, but this was not
common. However, this still didn’t address that employer’s need to communicate
with Punjabi-speaking employees.


When looking at the Working with Others skill, younger workers were again
identified as those most needing help with items such as taking initiative, focusing on
their work when there are distractions, or reviewing their work to ensure it’s free of
errors or omissions.




                                                                                         22
    Although Oral Communications was identified as a primary need by survey
    respondents, a smaller group of employers also identified a need for a Microsoft
    Office 2003 course. Because this course filled an obvious need for them, the
    employers were quick to sign on to help tailor the course to their needs. This will be
    the first class taught during this project. A side benefit from this course is that
    publicity from this smaller initial training group will help attract other businesses who
    might not have been aware of the project.



      12. Inventory of incentive programs to employers

    As part of this project, an inventory of incentive programs available to employers was
    also completed. A portion of that report is displayed here. The full report is attached
    as appendix A.

    The Inventory report is based on information researched or received between October
    29, 2008 and June 30, 2009.

    Forty-five (45) organizations were contacted regarding Workforce Training Funding
    Incentives available to employers. Of those 45, only four (4) were able to discuss an
    incentive that may be suitable for employers to use in order to fund ongoing
    workplace essential skills training for their employees. All four cautioned that each
    case would need to be investigated individually before they could guarantee their
    program could be used for that specific purpose.

Name of            Name of        Brief description of         Eligibility                 Funding
Organization       Program        program                                                  available
Ministry of        Employer       Provides eligible            The program helps           Up to 50%
Housing & Social   Sponsored      employers with financial     employers avoid laying      of training
Development-       Training       assistance to support        people off because of       costs
Employment &                      training activities for      changes in their
Labour Market                     employees who would          workplace by enabling
Services                          otherwise lose their jobs.   impacted employees to
                                                               acquire enhanced,
                                                               marketable and
                                                               transferable skills that
                                                               will allow them to remain
                                                               employed.
BC Construction    SkillPlan –    Subsidized one-on-one        Limited to Construction     Taken on a
Industry Skills    SkillsPlus     assistance to union          and Specialized Worker's    case-by-case
Improvement                       members – typically          Union local 1611            basis
Council                           tutoring or study groups     members, apprentices or
                                                               employers


                                                                                                 23
Literacy BC         Paul Gallagher    Provides financial            Eligible applicants must     $250 -
                    Community         assistance to community-      be (or be in partnership     $1000
                    Access Fund       based adult                   with) a registered non-
                                      learning programs.            profit corporation /
                                      Programs can use the          society / host agency,
                                      funds to support their        school board,
                                      students with short term      or public college in
                                      needs such as transport,      British Columbia.
                                      childcare, books or other
                                      costs that would make the
                                      difference between
                                      attending and not
                                      attending their literacy
                                      program
Ministry of Small   Employed,         Upgrade the skills of         No high school diploma,      A maximum
Business,           Low-Skilled       people working for small      or high school diploma       of 1000
Technology and      Workers           business                      but lacks accreditation or   students
Economic            ―Growth                                         essential skills.            province-
Development &       Employees‖                                                                   wide; a
ASPECT                                                                                           maximum of
                                                                                                 $900 per
                                                                                                 student
Ministry of Small   Continuous        Manufacturing sector          BC Small Manufacturers       A maximum
Business,           Improvement       workers will receive          with less than 50            of 1000
Technology and      Training – Pull   training on problem           employees                    students
Economic            Ahead BC          solving and upgrading                                      province-
Development &                         their foundational literacy                                wide; a
ASPECT                                and numeracy skills.                                       maximum of
                                                                                                 $900 per
                                                                                                 student




                                                                                                          24
                              13. Conclusion

Chilliwack has long been able to keep itself somewhat separated from provincial,
national, or even global trends. With its heavy emphasis on small business, and
nearly a quarter of all its businesses involved in Agriculture, Construction or
Manufacturing, Chilliwack has not developed a large number of knowledge-based
jobs. In that vein, Chilliwack is perhaps more similar to smaller communities outside
of the Lower Mainland of BC than it is to the urban areas.


Chilliwack faces a number of challenges as outlined in this report. As the statistics
and research indicate:
      The unemployment rate in Chilliwack is higher than the provincial and federal
       averages. It has also doubled in the last 3 years.
      The majority of Chilliwack’s adult population has no postsecondary
       education.
      Businesses in the Agriculture and Construction sectors in particular tend to be
       more seasonal in nature. They typically require a lower skill level than other
       types of jobs.
      Current availability of workplace training is limited – particularly the lower
       the skill level the employee already possesses.
      The ability for lower skilled employees to increase their education and
       knowledge outside of the workplace can be limiting due issues such as the
       limited number of educational options available during their non-work hours
       and potential transportation barriers.
      With the current economic downturn, business owners are focused on
       reducing costs and staying in business. Training represents a cost.


To overcome these challenges, training must be designed to meet the needs of the
local businesses. This requires ongoing meetings with businesses, one on one if
necessary, to determine their specific needs. These meetings should also highlight


                                                                                        25
how training can benefit the business in both the short term and the long term. A
wide range of benefits to essential skills training needs to be discussed – not just
monetary. Business owners should be encouraged to look beyond the immediate and
the bottom line. Intrinsic benefits such as increased staff loyalty, improved morale,
and better customer service should be brought to the discussion.


A public awareness campaign – geared towards both employers and employees – is a
key component. With over 4000 businesses operating in Chilliwack, it is impossible
to reach them all individually. Promotion through the media, business organizations,
and local associations will help break down the stigma about literacy and essential
skills training, and encourage business owners and staff to step forward for help.


Transportation to training locations will be an important consideration. While
courses held at UFV may make sense for some, employees without vehicles who live
off public transit routes will be unable to take advantage of training. Efforts must be
made to bring the training to them – whether moving the training to their place of
business (or nearby) or by making the course materials available online.

Chilliwack is in a unique position to demonstrate how education can benefit
businesses in a new way. By involving the businesses in the discussion on what
essential skills training to deliver, how to deliver it and how to make it available to
their employees, new partnerships for economic, educational and social growth can
be developed.




                                                                                          26
                             14. References
BC Statistics Community Facts. Chilliwack. (2009). Retrieved June 22, 2009 from
   http://www.bcstats.gov.bc.ca/data/dd/facsheet/cf151.pdf

BC Statistics Labour Force Statistics Issue: 09-05. (May 2009). Retrieved June 22,
   2009 from http://www.bcstats.gov.bc.ca/pubs/lfs/lfs0905.pdf

Canadian Council on Learning. A brief look at Canada’s 2009 CLI results. (2009).
   Retrieved on June 27, 2009 from http://www.ccl-
   cca.ca/CCL/Reports/CLI/CanadasResults2009.htm?Language=EN

Canadian Council on Learning. Community Profile Chilliwack. (2009). Retrieved on
   June 25, 2009 from http://www.ccl-
   cca.ca/pdfs/CLI/2009/Scorecards/EN/E590902001.pdf

Canadian Council on Learning. Indicator fact sheet 5. (2009). Retrieved on June 25,
   2009 from http://www.ccl-cca.ca/CCL/Reports/CLI/2009Factsheet5.htm

Canadian Council on Learning. Indicator fact sheet 6. (2009). Retrieved on June 25,
   2009 from http://www.ccl-cca.ca/CCL/Reports/CLI/2009Factsheet6.htm

Canadian Council on Learning. The 2009 Composite Learning Index: Measuring
   Canada’s Progress in Lifelong Learning. (2009). Retrieved on June 25, 2009
   from http://www.ccl-cca.ca/pdfs/CLI/2009/2009-CLI-Booklet-May2709-E.pdf

Chilliwack Economic Partners. Chilliwack Community Profile (pp. 5-9, 41-58). (May
   2009). Retrieved June 22, 2009 from
   http://cms.chilliwackeconomicpartners.com/attachments/25/ChwkCommunityProf
   ile20090710034218.pdf

Canadian Labour Congress Literacy Working Group (2006). Executive Summary.
   Workplace Literacy: Funding Sources and Partnership Opportunities for Labour,
   (pp. 1-3). Summary retrieved June 12, 2009 from http://canadianlabour.ca

City of Chilliwack website (http://www.chilliwack.com)

City of Chilliwack Business License office (personal communication, June 2009)

Fraser Health Authority website (http://www.fraserhealth.ca)

Fraser Valley Regional District website (http://www.fvrd.bc.ca)

J. Laughlin (personal communication, June 26, 2009)


                                                                                     27
Statistics Canada 2006 Community Profile. Chilliwack. (2006). Retrieved June 22,
    2009 from http://www12.statcan.ca/census-recensement/2006/dp-pd/prof/92-
    591/details/page.cfm?Lang=E&Geo1=CSD&Code1=5909020&Geo2=PR&Code
    2=59&Data=Count&SearchText=Chilliwack&SearchType=Begins&SearchPR=5
    9&B1=All&Custom=

Various Chilliwack employers (personal communication, September 2008-June 2009)
                                                         Appendix A –
                           Inventory of Workforce Training Funding Incentives

This report is based on information researched or received between October 29, 2008 and June 30, 2009.

Forty-five (45) organizations were contacted regarding Workforce Training Funding Incentives available to employers. Of those 45,
only four (4) were able to discuss an incentive that may be suitable for employers to use in order to fund ongoing workplace essential
skills training for their employees. All four cautioned that each case would need to be investigated individually before they could
guarantee their program could be used for that specific purpose.

Name of Organization       Name of Program             Brief description of program        Eligibility                     Funding available
Ministry of Housing &      Employer Sponsored          Provides eligible employers with    The program helps               Up to 50% of training
Social Development-        Training                    financial assistance to support     employers avoid laying          costs
Employment & Labour                                    training activities for employees   people off because of
Market Services                                        who would otherwise lose their      changes in their workplace
                                                       jobs.                               by enabling impacted
                                                                                           employees to acquire
                                                                                           enhanced, marketable and
                                                                                           transferable skills that will
                                                                                           allow them to remain
                                                                                           employed.
BC Construction Industry   SkillPlan – SkillsPlus      Subsidized one-on-one assistance    Limited to Construction         Taken on a case-by-case
Skills Improvement                                     to union members – typically        and Specialized Worker's        basis
Council                                                tutoring or study groups            Union local 1611
                                                                                           members, apprentices or
                                                                                           employers
Literacy BC                Paul Gallagher             Provides financial assistance to      Eligible applicants must be    $250 - $1000
                           Community Access Fund      community-based adult                 (or be in partnership with)
                                                      learning programs. Programs can       a registered non-profit
                                                      use the funds to support their        corporation / society / host
                                                      students with short term              agency, school board,
                                                      needs such as transport, childcare,   or public college in British
                                                      books or other costs that would       Columbia.
                                                      make the
                                                      difference between attending and
                                                      not attending their literacy
                                                      program
Ministry of Small          Employed, Low-Skilled      Upgrade the skills of people          No high school diploma, or     A maximum of 1000
Business, Technology and   Workers ―Growth            working for small business            high school diploma but        students province-wide; a
Economic Development &     Employees‖                                                       lacks accreditation or         maximum of $900 per
ASPECT                                                                                      essential skills.              student
Ministry of Small          Continuous Improvement     Manufacturing sector workers will     BC Small Manufacturers         A maximum of 1000
Business, Technology and   Training – Pull Ahead BC   receive training on problem           with less than 50              students province-wide; a
Economic Development &                                solving and upgrading their           employees                      maximum of $900 per
ASPECT                                                foundational literacy and                                            student
                                                      numeracy skills.




                                                                                                                                           30
The following organizations were also contacted and stated that their organization had no
employer incentive/funding programs available.

     Type of Organization                          Name of Organization
Federal Government – 3              Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
                                    Service Canada
                                    Western Economic Development

Provincial Government – 1           Ministry of Advanced Education and Labour Market
                                    Development

Unions and Labour Associations BC Federation of Labour
–8
                                    Canadian Labour Congress
                                    CUPE local 411
                                    CUPE local 458
                                    CUPE National
                                    Fraser Valley Labour Council
                                    Hospital Employees Union
                                    United Food and Commercial Workers Union

Literacy Organizations – 7          ABC Canada
                                    Canadian Council on Learning
                                    Literacy BC
                                    Movement for Canadian Literacy
                                    National Adult Literacy Database
                                    ReadNowBC
                                    World Literacy of Canada

Other Organizations – 22            Association of Service Providers for Employability and
                                    Career Training
                                    BC Business Council
                                    BC Chamber of Commerce
                                    BC Healthy Communities
                                    Canadian Association of Municipal Administrators
                                    Canadian Chamber of Commerce
                                    Canadian Coalition of Community-Based Employability
                                    Training
                                    Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business
                                    Canadian Federation of Independent Business
                                    Canadian Labour and Business Centre
                                    Canadian Society for Training and Development
                                    Chilliwack Economic Partners Corporation
                                    Community Employment Resource Centre – Chilliwack
                                        Community Futures-BC
                                        Community Futures-South Fraser
                                        Conference Board of Canada
                                        Council of Ministers of Education
                                        Credit Union Central of BC
                                        Economic Development Association of BC
                                        Fort St. John Chamber of Commerce
                                        Human Resources Management Association
                                        Small Business BC
                                        Women's Enterprise Centre

Canadian Labour Congress report on Workplace Literacy

In a 2006 study entitled Workplace Literacy: Funding Sources and Partnership
Opportunities for Labour: A report to the Canadian Labour Congress16 the Literacy
Working Group of the Canadian Labour Congress identified two issues for investigation.
The first issue (which relates to this report) pertained to sources of funding available to
labour to support literacy activities, particularly the delivery of literacy programs. The
following is excerpted from the Executive Summary.

        The Canadian Labour and Business Centre (CLBC) agreed to carry out
        this research. The CLBC is Canada’s only longstanding national
        business-labour organization. Interviews were held with 30
        representatives of labour organizations. Secondary research was
        undertaken to examine various funding sources.

        The study sought to answer the questions:

        What funding has been and could be available to labour organizations
        (locals, labour councils, training centres, federations of labour) operating
        at the local, regional and provincial/territorial levels for workplace
        literacy projects and workplace literacy program delivery? What has
        been the experience of labour organizations with such funding? What has
        the impact been of the level and scope of existing funding sources on
        labour-supported literacy initiatives?


Their key findings about funding sources were:

        There are almost no sources of funding for the direct delivery of literacy
        and workplace literacy programs available to labour. Provinces and
        territories generally do not support either workplace literacy activities in
        general or labour-led projects in particular.

16
  Canadian Labour Congress Literacy Working Group (2006). Executive Summary. Workplace Literacy:
Funding Sources and Partnership Opportunities for Labour, (pp. 1-3).


                                                                                               32
       • Funding for “projects” – that is, non-delivery activities – is primarily
       restricted to National Literacy Secretariat (NLS) funding – both at the
       national level and, in a very small number of cases, at the federal-
       provincial-territorial level.

       • There have been positive results and experiences with NLS funding.
       However, recent changes in NLS administration have led to experiences
       that are more negative and some reluctance by labour organizations to
       continue seeking funding.

       • In the main, the impact of the various projects undertaken by labour has
       been positive. However, the lack of funds for ongoing delivery has limited
       the potential of labour organizations to move beyond the awareness
       phase.

       • The CLC, national affiliates, and federations have not identified any
       additional sources of funding beyond NLS funding, employer negotiated
       funds, and provincial/territorial training schemes.

       • Labour generally has not integrated literacy into its ongoing operations,
       although there are a few notable exceptions.

       • The “ideal” situation in relation to workplace literacy was described as
       having a permanent staff person dedicated to promoting and supporting
       literacy activities within the union, integrating literacy and clear language
       into labour education programs and union communications, and
       providing advice and support to locals on negotiating provisions, staff
       training, and accessing resources that would support literacy.


The conclusions reached in the report included:

       • Labour has made an impact in the area of literacy through its projects
       and through its partnerships.

       • Labour has clearly demonstrated that it has a place at the stakeholder
       table when discussing literacy issues in Canada.

       • All of labour’s literacy activities have been the product of ad hoc funding
       and the dedication of individuals. The “next generation” of literacy
       activities by unions will need to focus on changing government funding
       practices, securing internal resources, and expanding and strengthening
       partnerships.




                                                                                       33
Existing programs for unemployed or Aboriginal people

While not the primary focus of this report, an example of funding programs available to
unemployed people is the Skills Development for Job Seekers, a provincial program
offered by the Employment and Labour Market Services division of the Ministry of
Housing and Social Development. This program provides financial assistance to eligible
(unemployed) individuals to help them obtain the skills training they need to re-enter the
job market. Financial assistance may take the form of tuition costs, living expenses,
dependent care expenses, disability needs, or transportation costs. This sort of program
does not exist for employed workers.

Additionally, there are programs focused specifically towards Aboriginal, First Nations,
or Métis people. These include essential skills programming delivered by Sto:lo Nation
Human Resources Development to clients served under the Fraser Valley AHRDA
(Aboriginal Human Resource Development Agreement). As well, the Chilliwack-based
Yellow Cedar Learning Centre works with clients who have learning barriers.

Another of the programs targeting First Nations people in Chilliwack is called Workplace
Based Training. One of the key objectives of the program is to encourage employers to
train employees who are at risk of layoff, or to improve employability by enabling them
to access a broader range of occupations OR employees who require language, literacy or
numeric training through contributions for training costs. While the business does not
need to be owned by Aboriginals, the eligible participants must be of aboriginal descent.
Eligible costs covered are the direct training costs.


Conclusion

The need for ongoing, sustainable funding for employers (or labour for that matter) to
access in order to provide workplace essential skills training and support still exists. A
number of organizations expressed disappointment that not much of the sort exists – at
least nothing that doesn’t require looking at things on a case-by-case basis. One bright
spot appears to be the Small Business Employee Training Program that was released in
late June 2009 and is being spearheaded by ASPECT. In partnership with both the
federal and provincial governments, ASPECT’s pilot project is to provide training for up
to 1000 ―growth employees‖ in the next year.

Simply discussing the issue with the many organizations, however, both governmental
and non-governmental, led to a few of them showing interest in how this issue could be
addressed. The two most passionate were found at the BC Chamber of Commerce and
the Ministry of Advanced Education and Labour Market Development.

The BC Chamber of Commerce showed interest in helping to create a policy document
that could be used to discuss the situation with either the provincial or federal
government. They are willing to meet with local stakeholders such as the Chilliwack




                                                                                         34
Chamber of Commerce, the Chilliwack Learning Community Society, and employers to
draft a policy which could be put forward at the BC Chamber’s AGM next year.

Additionally, when contacted, a policy advisor from the Ministry of Advanced Education
and Labour Market Development began searching for help within the various branches of
her ministry. This led to an intra-branch meeting on June 30, 2009 where the idea of
ongoing, sustainable funding made available to employers would be brought forward for
discussion. At the time of this report, results of that meeting were not available.




                                                                                    35
                       Appendix B –
            Composite Learning Index background

The Canadian Council on Learning (CCL) is an independent, non-profit corporation
that promotes and supports research to improve all aspects of learning. Funded by
Human Resources and Social Development Canada, the CCL was created in 2004.
They improve lifelong learning across the country by:

   Informing Canadians about the state of learning in Canada;
   Fostering quality research on learning;
   Facilitating evidence-based decisions about learning through knowledge exchange
    to ensure that success stories are shared and repeated; and
   Becoming Canada's authoritative resource on learning issues.

The Canadian Council on Learning publishes an annual Composite Learning Index
(CLI). The CLI looks at a number of different statistics produced by Statistics
Canada and other sources and creates both an overall score and scores within four
significant pillars. The four pillars used for the CLI are called Learning to Know,
Learning to Do, Learning to Live, and Learning to Be.


Learning to Know involves the development of skills and knowledge needed to
function in the world. These skills include literacy, numeracy, critical thinking and
general knowledge. Learning to Do refers to the acquisition of applied skills that are
often linked to occupational success, such as computer training, managerial training
and apprenticeships. Learning to Live Together involves developing values of respect
and concern for others, fostering social and inter-personal skills, and an appreciation
of the diversity of Canadians. Learning to Be refers to activities that contribute to the
personal development of one's body, mind and spirit— activities that foster creativity,
personal discovery and an appreciation of the inherent value provided by these
pursuits.




                                                                                        36
Canadian communities of all different sizes are given an overall score for their
community based on the scores of the four pillars. At the same time, each of the four
pillars is given a score.


In 2009, Chilliwack’s had an overall composite rating of 76. As this score may be
shared by many other communities in Canada, Chilliwack is ranked somewhere
between 130th and 424th overall among the 1,212 small cities and towns in Canada
that are measured. This was an overall drop of five points from 2008’s rating.


For three of the four pillars, there were changes from the previous year. The
Learning to Know pillar remained unchanged from 2008’s mark. The Learning to Do
pillar rose from 6.2 to 6.8. The Learning to Live and Learning to Be pillars both
experience downward marks.


Participation in Job-related training
The first indicator is known as Job-related training. This indicator is based on an
annual survey done by Statistics Canada. The survey is known as the Survey of
Labour and Income Dynamics (SLID). This survey is done by employees between
the ages of 25-64. It measures their participation in any form of job-related training.
The SLID is done annually; note the data that comprises the 2009 results is actually
from the 2006 survey. For any significant changes in job-related training in 2009, for
instance, Chilliwack would not be measured on it until 2013.


The SLID survey breaks down information by Province, by Region, and by Census
Metropolitan Area. The SLID measures the proportion of Canadians who participate
in training either at or outside the workplace. This indicator measures the ability of
working-age Canadians — employed or unemployed — to maintain and develop the
skills needed to compete in the economy through courses, workshops, seminars or
training related to a current or future job.




                                                                                         37
       Formal, non-formal or informal training?

           There is often confusion between three common terms used to describe
           workplace learning: formal, informal and non-formal. In an attempt to
           address this confusion, Statistics Canada uses the term ―courses‖ instead
           of non-formal learning. The following descriptions outline what falls
           under each term.

           Formal training refers to programs or courses related to a worker’s
           current or future job that are part of a planned program with some form of
           formal recognition upon completion, such as a certificate, diploma or
           degree.

           Courses (non-formal) include seminars, workshops and conferences
           attended for training purposes, as well as courses taken for reasons other
           than credit in a program.

           Informal education, or self-directed learning, refers to activities such as:
           seeking advice from someone knowledgeable; using the internet or other
           software; observing someone performing a task; consulting books and
           manuals; and teaching yourself different ways of doing certain tasks.17

       Canada's least educated receive the least training

           The Canadian Council on Learning’s Survey of Canadian Attitudes toward
           Learning shows that workers (aged 18 and over) with lower levels of
           formal education are significantly less likely to participate in job-related
           training than their more educated counterparts.

           In 2008, more than two-thirds of workers with university degrees took part
           in formal work-related training, while only 22% of workers without a
           high-school diploma took part. However, workers with low levels of
           formal education may stand to benefit the most from training, particularly
           in the areas of basic literacy and numeracy. Research shows that when
           they do participate, less-educated workers are almost twice as likely to
           report that learning helped them progress in the job market.18

       Barriers to job-related training

           Though research has shown that participation in job-related training
           benefits Canadian workers, many employees still do not take advantage of
           such opportunities. According to CCL’s 2008 Survey of Canadian
           Attitudes toward Learning, 33% of workers who had not taken any work-
           related training in the previous year cited a lack of need as the main
17
     Canadian Council on Learning. Indicator fact sheet 6. (2009).
18
     Ibid.


                                                                                          38
           reason. The next most common reasons given related to lack of time, with
           32% citing they were too busy with work and 26% saying they were too
           busy with family. The survey also shows that cost is an important factor
           for Canadians, with 19% of all workers reporting that they had not taken a
           job-related course because it was too expensive.

           Other studies have shown lack of interest to be an obstacle. According to a
           2004 study19, lack of motivation or interest in job-related training was one
           of the biggest barriers among Canadian workers. In 2002, approximately
           2.2 million Canadian workers were classified as ―long-term non-trainees,‖
           meaning they had not participated in any form of job-related training over
           the previous six years—nor did they have any intention of taking training
           in the following three years.20



       Availability of workplace training
       The second indicator is known as Availability of workplace training. It is also based
       on data from a Statistics Canada survey – the Workplace and Employee Survey or
       WES. This survey of employers is done every two years; it surveys employers to find
       out if they offer any form of training available to employees whether on the job
       training or more structured training such as classroom training.


       Due to the size of the survey sample, Chilliwack’s 2009 results come from the
       Provincial level. Additionally, it should be noted that the 2009 results are from 2005
       census data. For more complete results, the WES survey should be done annually.
       Due to the delay in providing results, short-term workplace training may have been
       completed in between periods covered by the survey.


       This indicator measures the proportion of Canadian employers that offer any form of
       training for their employees, from on-the-job to more structured classes. This
       indicator measures the extent of workplace training available to Canadian workers in
       order to help them update their skills and knowledge.




19
     Canadian Council on Learning. Indicator fact sheet 6. (2009).
20
     Ibid


                                                                                            39
       Why is it important to learning in Canada?

           Workplace training has been shown to be an effective way for workers to
           improve and retain their job-related skills. Therefore, the availability of
           such training is considered key to keeping Canada’s workforce
           competitive with other countries around the world. The availability of
           training at work provides opportunities for Canadians to improve their
           skills and work-related competencies that they may not otherwise be able
           to access outside of work.

           Of the Canadian employers who provided training in 2005, the majority
           (88%) offered it in the form of on-the-job training, while 62% offered it in
           a more traditional classroom setting. Approximately 26% of employers
           offered both forms of training. Workplace training can take many forms—
           from more organized classroom courses to less structured, on-the-job
           instruction. According to WES, workplace training can include:
           orientation for new employees, managerial training, apprenticeships,
           computer training, occupational health and safety training, team building,
           leadership courses and even literacy training.21


       Many Canadian employers offer only the most basic forms of structured
       workplace training

           Research has shown that structured classroom training offered by
           Canadian employers often focuses on basic workplace practices, instead of
           more advanced technical skills. The most common types of training
           offered by Canadian employers are new staff orientation, and health and
           safety training. More advanced training, such as managerial, supervisory,
           literacy and numeracy training, is offered by a significantly smaller
           number of employers.

           In addition, other opportunities for skills development are being offered
           outside of the traditional workplace environment. For example, in 2005
           more than one-third (37%) of Canadian employers reimbursed their
           employees for training undertaken outside of working hours.22

       The Availability of workplace training indicator dipped from 2007’s 60.4% rate to
       2009’s 57.0% rating. Because the data is at a provincial level, it’s difficult to
       extrapolate Chilliwack specific data or meaning. In discussions with Chilliwack
       employers, most offered a form of orientation training or health and safety training.
       With the exception of professional services firms, these were the only forms of

21
     Canadian Council on Learning. Indicator fact sheet 5. (2009).
22
     Ibid


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       training for the majority of employees. Many local employers felt that informal, ―just
       in time‖ training was sufficient for most of their staff. In general, Chilliwack
       businesses don’t think it’s necessary to provide any training beyond what’s currently
       needed for the employee to do the job. The business owners are focused on keeping
       the business running, with the lowest overhead cost possible. Not many employers
       are thinking about the employee’s potential for greater responsibility. The ones that
       do tend to have it ingrained in their corporate culture. For many employees, it was up
       to them to articulate when they need training or wish to have training to help progress
       to a more senior position.


       Time to vocational schools
       The third indicator in the Learning to Do pillar is Time to vocational schools. The
       Canadian Council of Learning has created this indicator by using Google Maps data.
       It measures the average travel time required to reach vocational schools, business and
       secretarial schools. The CCL creates this indicator annually, and it is done on a
       Provincial, Regional, City, and Community levels.


       Conclusion
       Compared to the Canadian statistics for the Composite Learning Index, Chilliwack
       compares favourably. Chilliwack’s overall CLI score of 76 is in line with Canada’s
       75. Both of these scores trended down from the previous year. This was primarily
       due to dips in the Learning to Live and Learning to Be pillars. The Learning to Do
       pillar both locally and nationally rose from 2008. The CCL said this because Canada
       has seen an increase in the proportion of adults participating in job-related training
       over the last three years. At the same time there has been a growth in the proportion
       of businesses offering workplace training.23




23
     Canadian Council on Learning. A brief look at Canada’s 2009 CLI results. (2009).



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