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Business Results Through Essential Skills and Literacy

This guidebook is a result of partnerships between numerous companies, literacy agencies, and trade associations involved with manufacturing and exports in Canada. It can be used by businesses or literacy providers to develop assessments of the essential skills needed in the workplace to improve or maintain the skills necessary to stay competitive. 
Author(s): 
Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters, Ontario Division
Human Resources and Skills Development Canada
Published: 
2009
Resource Type: 
Product
Number of Pages: 
110
Product Type: 
Required Training: 

None, however, a background in workplace literacy would be beneficial.

Abstract: 

This guidebook is a result of partnerships between numerous companies, literacy agencies, and trade associations involved with manufacturing and exports in Canada. The guidebook is divided into two sections. Literacy & Essential Skills in Business provides information and facts about Canada’s efforts to improve literacy and essential skills in the workplace. The second section is a workbook providing tools for workplace assessments, checklists and usable templates to initiate a workplace literacy program. There is also a very useful appendix with additional resources. This guidebook can be used by businesses or literacy providers to develop assessments of the essential skills needed in the workplace to improve or maintain the skills necessary to stay competitive. The facts used to support the processes described are research based. It provides a very thorough approach to implementing a needs analysis. Learning disabilities and English as a second language are discussed and defined in the context of the workplace. This guidebook also includes several business success stories based on their introduction of literacy skill classes at their workplace. It describes the innovative methods used to accomplish essential skill training and the impact on the company.

What the Experts Say: 

While this resource is targeted to Canadian businesses (especially in Ontario), it reinforces for adult educators what we know to be critical to successful workforce/workplace education initiatives. In addition to reviewing what we know is needed in terms of needs analysis and assessment, it provides a picture of what businesses should look for in terms of literacy education service providers. Good examples of Canadian companies that have implemented essential skills programs are provided as role models showing various configurations. Supporting data are provided in a gray sidebar next to the text. Citations of survey research studies are provided for further information. Useful tools are provided for doing assessment.

Particularly strong is the section on considerations for the future business environment with regard to employee skill needs. This section stresses that it is not enough to do a needs assessment of the current workers, but it is also important to consider future employee requirements.

The assumption of using an outside literacy provider is made with the reasons provided. An excellent tool for selecting an outside provider is included. The distinction between curriculum-based vs. goal-based training is quite helpful in selecting a literacy/workforce development provider.

The appendices are very helpful. The first provides background information on the IALS (International Adult Literacy Survey). The second provides data on Canada’s performance on the IALS. The third appendix provides many resources for further reading. The final appendix is a list of literacy providers in each Canadian province concluding with a list of Canadian literacy resources.

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