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AU @ Employment Services

The adage that “you can’t please all of the people all of the time” needs an addendum: “unless you have foresight and cooperation.” Now in its third year, SLC’s “AU @ ES” initiative continues to please all parties involved.

AU @ ES
In a couple of rooms inside St. Lawrence College, Kingston, LBS and AU learners work their way through College Prep courses. Similarly, in a small room inside SLC’s community Employment Services site, AU learners work through modules of the job search version of Self-Management and Self Direction (course code ACED6310).
Embedding an ACE course at an employment services site was the brain child of Nancy Scovil, an idea conceived when Nancy was manager of the College Prep program on tri-campus SLC. Nancy has 20/20 foresight; she realized the multiple benefits of establishing an LBS/ES partnership. Nancy collaborated with SLC’s ES manager at the time, the equally prescient Janet Ashford, and they agreed to pilot the ACE course at the off-campus ES site.
The job search version of Self-Management and Self-Direction focuses on areas that job seekers may need as they look for employment. The course’s 25 modules fall under six areas of focus:
1. Personal Development
2. Communication for Employment
3. Digital Technology
4. Further Education
5. Business Numeracy
6. Community Involvement
Students who complete 10 of the 25 modules earn a Statement of Achievement from St. Lawrence. The prospect of earning a concrete, current credential appeals to job seekers whose resumes are sparse in this category.
The ideal candidate for the ES version of Self-Management/Self-Direction is someone who needs a lot of help and has lots of time to get that help. One example would be someone who has been laid off after many years in a job that required no computer skills. Ideally this person is on EI or has received a severance package and does not have to find work ASAP in order to pay the bills. That being said, anyone who can benefit from even one or two areas of focus is welcome to join the program.
How does what the ACE instructors do with learners differ from what ES staff does? The primary purpose is the same: help folks find work. Job search, resumes, and cover letters are shared territory. However, ACE instructors go beyond this common focus, this tip of the ice berg. Instructors spend more time with learners, over weeks or months, thereby getting to know each person’s abilities, limitations, and goals. Job searches and the attendant documents (resumes and cover letters) are constantly modified in light of new knowledge about learners. Limitations may be redressed through in-house training or through online courses.
By registering in the Self-Management/Self Direction course, job seekers become SLC students, thereby gaining access to many SLC student benefits such as online resources and discounted transit rates. Having the ACE course on site benefits employment consultants (ECs) as well, providing a seamless, in-house referral for clients who need considerable attention or for clients who are having no success in their job search. ECs can simply walk their clients across the resource area and into the ACE lab. In addition, since the AU instructors are familiar with other academic upgrading options in the area, ECs can ask AU staff for advice on a client’s most appropriate avenue for upgrading.
The ES site provides an effective companion program to College Prep on campus. Job seekers don’t often look to College Prep for support. The on-campus program is more suited to learners who want to go back to school. As such, only a few AU students at the ES site are referred back to the on-campus program. However, the work at the ES site complements the on-campus program both in terms of serving these learners, and in terms of offering AU services to a wider range of learners in the community. Additionally, working with job seekers gives AU staff a broader perspective and a clearer sense of how training fits into the Employment Ontario framework.
The adage that “you can’t please all of the people all of the time” needs an addendum: “unless you have foresight and cooperation.” Now in its third year, SLC’s “AU @ ES” initiative continues to please all parties involved.
Mary Gelinas, SLC

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College Sector Employment Services
A network of Ontario colleges who deliver employment services to all Ontarians.
CSES Contact: Janet Ashford, Executive Director (T): 613-328-9431 (E) jashford@cses.co