SkillsAdvance Ontario programs like ELEVATE PLUS are unique in that they combine:
- employer defined “technical” skills training with the other skills needed to ensure participants will be successful in the workplace
- the supports necessary to address issues such as transportation or childcare while in the program and a plan to deal with these going forward
- a job at the end of the program with an engaged employer
- ongoing support for at least a year to ensure job success
The original food processing sector focussed Elevate program ran from 2013 until 2015. This Essential Skills Ontario program was funded by the federal government to test whether involving employers directly in the design and delivery of workforce training for low-skilled adults on income support would lead to more positive results than more traditional programs. Loyalist Training & Knowledge Centre (LTKC) was responsible for the bulk of program development and they were the local delivery agent for three of the nine cohorts that were delivered provincially under the Elevate program name.
During 2015 to 2016, three additional Elevate cohorts were delivered by LTKC. Half of the funding for these three cohorts was provided by Trenval Community Futures Development Corporation (CFDC) and the Eastern Ontario CFDC Network with the other half coming from Hastings County Community & Human Services (HCCHS).
In 2016 the then Ministry of Advanced Education & Skills Development (MAESD) introduced the SkillsAdvance Ontario (SAO) pilot program. Quinte Economic Development Commission (QEDC) was selected as one of the three initial pilots for this program. LTKC was contracted by QEDC to modify the Elevate curriculum to include employer support for onboarding, developing and retaining employees and to expand the program to include new manufacturing sub-sectors.
Elevate Plus, as this SAO program is known locally, expanded upon the success of the six Elevate cohorts. The twenty-nine sessions of Elevate Plus Manufacturing that were delivered prior to the end of SAO funding in May 2022 helped almost 250 people become employed with local manufacturers.
Based on the success of the Elevate Plus model in the manufacturing sector, QEDC and LTKC were asked to design and deliver Elevate Plus Military. This program which ran from 2019 to 2022 assisted military family members, former military personnel and others to work with businesses in areas outside of manufacturing.
In 2022 QEDC secured Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development (MLITSD) support through the Skills Development Fund (SDF) to continue and improve upon the success of the Elevate / Elevate Plus programs. The program has expanded the supports that can be provided to help participants, engaged new manufacturing partners, expanded its delivery model to include online and hybrid if necessary and is delivering training to help current employees take on new responsibilities or positions with their companies.
This program works because of our community partners, our employer partners and the Elevate Plus teams who work together to help participants who have made a commitment to improve their skills.