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  • April 12, 2024 9:03 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    L-R: Kim Lauritsen, Lori Forgeron, Devin Scott, Val Meaney (front), Raj Hundal (back), Peter Bailey, Tricia Gueulette, Coreen Jenner, Kirsty Peterson, Shannon Baikie, Aaron Clausen, Calum Scott

    This was an exciting week for ASPECT. We hosted a board retreat in Richmond where we got the 2023-2024 board of directors and our 2024-2025 board members together for professional development, information sharing, and deep discussions about the current and future of employment programs in BC and Canada. These moments of reflection are crucial in ASPECT planning our path forward in an environment that feels like it is moving at lightning speed. Thank you to all who volunteered their time and to all the member organizations who supported them in doing so. 

    We said goodbye from the board to Tricia Gueulette and Val Meaney and a tip of the hat to Peter Bailey, who is leaving his formal board duties to take an ex-officio board position leading a newly formed Diversity Engagement Committee. Although we had a large group of excellent candidates for the board, we realized that the diversity of candidates does not represent the diversity of our membership and conference delegates. Peter and Coreer Jenner will look at ways in which we can find qualified board candidates who bring with them diverse experiences. More information on this committee is coming soon. 

    We would like to welcome new board members Shannon Baikie from the North Island Employment Foundations Society, Calum Scott from the Pacific Community Resources Society, Aaron Clausen from Island Work Transitions, and Devin Scott from the Kootenay Career Development Society.

    We also convened the 2023-2023 Annual General Meeting, which was attended by nearly 30 members and ASPECT staff. To find out what we have done and where we are going, please check out our new annual report. Many thanks to all who attended both in person and virtually.

    Janet Morris-Reade, CEO

  • March 28, 2024 12:35 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This is a short note to wish everyone a happy Easter and a happy long weekend for those who don't observe Easter.

    I wanted to draw your attention to the following:

    1. The extreme early-bird conference rate is on now until April 1st. At the time of writing, the conference had already sold 14% of the available spaces. Register now!
    2. Our conference would be nothing without our presenters: the proposal deadline is May 15. Here is the link to the application form and more info.
    3. We have launched our exhibitor and sponsor package, which can be found here. We are limited for exhibitor space at this year's venue, so if you are exhibiting and/or sponsoring and require space, please let us know soon to avoid disappointment.
    4. Here's the link to book your hotel now for the conference. 
    5. Finally, if you are an ASPECT member or work for an organization that is an ASPECT member, remember to register for our virtual Annual General Meeting on Monday, April 8, at 3:00 pm. 

    My best wishes to you and yours for a wonderful weekend!

    Janet Morris-Reade, CEO

  • March 21, 2024 9:23 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Two years ago, we learned that this year's ASPECT Conference venue, the Delta Ocean Pointe Victoria Hotel, can accommodate only 255 people. Considering that the past two ASPECT conferences have been fully booked, I highly recommend registering now to utilize the remaining fiscal year-end funds. Take advantage of the Extreme-Early Bird offer before it expires on April 1st and save between $150 and $200 off the standard conference rate.
    We don’t yet have a program, as the call for speakers is underway, but you can expect high-quality sessions, consultations, workshops and many opportunities to network with others in the sector. This year's theme is Evolving Together: Preparing for the Future of Employment Services, and we will examine new approaches to employment services and celebrate the successes and innovations driving positive change within our field.
    You may also want to make your hotel reservation now. Last time, the hotel sold out, and some were disappointed not to stay at the conference hotel.  Sponsorship and exhibitor opportunities will be launched next week. 

    The sector is buzzing with activity and brimming with upcoming changes to how employment services will be delivered. I'm genuinely excited about the prospect of engaging in thoughtful conversations ahead. For those who cannot attend the conference this year, we hope to offer some webinars soon. We are currently looking for a Learning Specialist Consultant. Please pass the job posting on to your contacts.

    In the meantime, the BC Career Development Association is offering some fabulous content with its Webinar Collection and Symposium. If you can't spend your year-end Pro-D dollars on the ASPECT Conference, please look into what the BCCDA is offering. Kudos to the BCCDA team for putting together a great lineup! I look forward to attending the Symposium on April 19th at SFU Harbour Centre in Vancouver. Hope to see you there.

    Janet Morris-Reade, CEO

  • March 15, 2024 9:47 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    One of my jobs is to study and anticipate upcoming innovations in employment services. As we heard at last year's conference and what we see already, there is a transformation ahead. That's why I am delighted to announce that the ASPECT Conference 2024 is now open for registration, and there is a current call for presenters in effect until May 15, 2024. Our theme this year, Evolving Together: Preparing for the Future of Employment Services, focuses on the future of community-based employment services and how we can work together in adapting to new realities and challenges by helping clients, employers, and community economies prepare for the ever-changing labour market. 


    We acknowledge the expanding reach of digital services in employment support. However, our research sheds light on the limitations, particularly the findings from Competency of Career Development Practitioners for Virtual Services and Refocusing the Urban Lens for Rural & Remote Employment Services. For instance, individuals facing barriers to employment may not benefit fully from virtual programs, while those in rural or remote areas often lack access to necessary wraparound services and experience connectivity issues. Additionally, we've observed instances where service providers with broader contract regions neglect to engage with the smaller communities they are supposed to serve, achieving outcomes without meaningful connection. This underscores the critical importance of events like the ASPECT Conference. Here, professionals convene to learn about industry trends and collaborate on ideas that inform policy, enhance services, and sustain local economies by supporting both job seekers and employers.


    Please register now to take advantage of our extreme early bird pricing. Contribute to the conversation by submitting a presenter proposal. The conference has sold out for the past two years, and we anticipate a similar demand this year. Secure your spot early, and remember to book your hotel accommodations promptly to ensure you don't miss out on staying at the conference hotel.

    Janet Morris-Reade, CEO

  • March 08, 2024 11:02 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This week, I participated in a National Advocacy Campaign steering committee meeting hosted by CERIC. We discussed the report on what we had put together at Cannexus, and we are now at a point where we can start testing messaging.


    The challenge is to create an advocacy message that meets the needs of all who work in career development, whether in the K-12 education systems, post-secondary school career centres and work-integrated learning, private career services, or those who deliver career development services through publicly funded programs. The landscape is vast, all with diverse funding and administration. (The Challenge Factory and the Canadian Career Development Foundation did a good job identifying the landscape in their report Scoping the Canadian Career Development Landscape.) 


    It has been tricky to come up with a unifying message, clarify advocacy goals, and translate it into a language understood by those inside and outside the career development ecosystem. The result is the development of one umbrella idea, "decent work," with room for several other, more specific messages. 


    The work plan for February to September 2024 is to:

    • Identify all content and collateral we need for the campaign
    • Develop social media materials and copy needed for the campaign
    • Develop all other collateral for the campaign
    • Develop clear metrics for feedback and success criteria to evaluate the campaign
    • Build out campaign strategy

    Below is a chart showing the messages and goals we discussed in January. It reflects a variety of thoughts and ideas. Ceric hired Overlap Associates as our consultant, and I'm amazed at how they've managed to consider everyone's input while dealing with a lot of information. I feel honoured to be part of both the steering committee and the working committee, representing employment service providers in BC.

    Janet Morris-Reade, CEO

  • February 15, 2024 11:53 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Earlier this week, we hosted the third roundtable meeting for recipients of the International Credential Recognition Fund. I'm thrilled with the positive outcomes and the discussions that took place.

    The grant recipients are enthusiastic about their projects, and many are surprised by the demand for their programs. Urban service providers are sharing their knowledge with rural and remote service providers, fostering a valuable exchange of ideas. The grants, ranging from $50,000 to $100,000, have no eligibility restrictions on who they can assist. Various initiatives, such as mentoring programs, study clubs, credential recognition exams, and course support, are underway. Some are even creating new resources previously unavailable, all with the commitment to share knowledge.

    All the projects are now showcased on our fund website (scroll to the bottom of the page). I encourage you to explore the fascinating work your colleagues are doing.

    The fund's goal is straightforward: identify service gaps and eliminate obstacles to international credential recognition. While there are currently no future plans for this fund to continue, it has provided an excellent opportunity to test and expand on ideas, collect important data to inform new program development, and given grantees the opportunity to share valuable lessons learned.

    It also brings me great joy to learn that those at the roundtable wanted to keep these discussions going. ASPECT will gladly facilitate more sessions, and we will open up the discussions to all who want to participate! More information is coming this spring.

    Janet Morris-Reade, CEO

  • February 08, 2024 6:04 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    L-R: Janet Morris-Reade (BC), Carrie Axten (Alberta), Monika Fiest (Manitoba), Akosua Alagaratnam (Ontario), Valérie Roy (Quebec)

    Last week, I and my colleagues from the Canadian Coalition of Community-Based Employability Training (CCCBET) presented at Cannexus in Ottawa. We discussed changes in Canada's public employment programs, including the mismatch between job supply and demand, the dual challenges faced by employment service providers from both job seekers and employers, the impact of technology on traditional employment services, and the evolving profile of job seekers with multiple barriers.

    These changes occur in an environment where service providers deal with limited funding, difficulties retaining qualified staff, and heightened competition. Despite these challenges, collaboration is essential to strengthen community-based networks and address the country's economic needs. We highlighted concerns about the growing dominance of online services but emphasized that collaboration presents an opportunity for innovation.

    During our presentation, we shared practical tools like the CARMIS case management system, industry-specific online training (e.g., Alberta Hotel and Lodging Association), and online support resources like FutureFit AILinkedIn learning, and Google micro-credential certification. Following the presentation, we engaged in group discussions, addressing key questions:

    1. In re-thinking service design, what resources or tools does your organization use?
    2. What would you like the funders and policymakers to know about the value of community services?
    3. In what ways are you using new technologies and generative AI in your communities? 

    We are compiling a full report, but in general, what we heard is that some contracts are too prescriptive and do not make room for innovation, the increasing work with employers is not adequately funded, and that mid-career support is an excellent way to navigate out of the current "fail first" public employment system in which we find ourselves. 

    ASPECT faces a huge task in ensuring that funders fully comprehend the comprehensive range of activities carried out by community-based employment service providers. Although the initial impact of technology and the shift toward virtual services may lead to a reduction in contracts, a substantial amount of essential work in the community remains unfunded and possibly unnoticed. This work is crucial for meeting future labour market and economic requirements. Disrupting this ecosystem could have severe consequences for communities, and the repercussions might not become apparent until it is too late.

    Remember to use #HumansofEmployment in all your social media posts to help us get the word out about the work that you do.

    Janet Morris-Reade, CEO

  • January 31, 2024 8:20 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    I am writing this from the Ottawa airport after 3 days at Cannexus and another afternoon in a meeting for Ceric’s National Advocacy Committee. It has been an exhausting and successful trip. It is exhausting because there are so many people to talk to, so many ideas to share, and exceptionally full days of learning and interaction. Successful because I learned new tools, new research results released, and made new connections for my work in supporting ASPECT members.
    One of the most outstanding research announcements is the Hidden Sector, Hidden Talent: Mapping Canada's Career Development Sector project funded by Ceric and delivered by the Challenge Factory with support from the Canadian Career Development Foundation. ASPECT has been involved in this research over the past year.

    Researchers have assigned personas to the entire career development ecosystem, characterizing individuals' connections to career development, including those unaware that they are part of the field.
    I am a "Parent Parker" and a "Communicator Collette." Take a look at the personas below to see who you are. The personas are on pages 24-27 of the full report. An executive summary can be found here.
    Firstly, refer to the illustrated map with an iceberg below that appears on page 3 of the report. Government readers of this newsletter, take note that you can also find your place within it.

    Here are the personas explained:

    Did you find yourself? This research is so needed as we are sometimes divided by funding silos, while this diagram shows how we are all a part of the same ecosystem. I am certain that this information is invaluable to our advocacy work in that we can create bridges between various types of practitioners while educating those new to the sector, especially our political and government friends.

    Kudos to Lisa Taylor, Taryn Blanchard, and their team at the Challenge Factory for their outstanding work and the Canadian Career Development Foundation for their contributions.

    If you are reading the report and not just looking at the pictures, Lisa suggests you read sections 1 and 2, the regional profile on BC, and section 5, as the entire report is 330 pages.

    Janet Morris-Reade, CEO

  • January 26, 2024 11:29 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Yesterday, we hosted the last virtual regional member meetings, and I wish to thank everyone who participated. We had a few reasons for holding regional meetings versus provincial meetings: to create connections for those within the regions, hear about the advocacy work that they are doing on behalf of clients and communities, and identify challenges and successes to inform ASPECT's future work. 


    One member suggested a phrase that resonated with us as it sums up much of your work: "One door, many services."


    Here's some of what we heard:

    1. Digital services and digital literacy are still challenging for many clients and employers. Connectivity continues to be a barrier for much of the geographical province.
    2. Rural and remote inequities persist, and more advocacy is needed to promote the ASPECT report Refocusing the Urban Lens for Rural & Remote Employment Services.
    3. Employers are well engaged with community service providers but need considerable help attracting and retaining employees. Many find it difficult to adjust to the new realities of the current labour market. Much of this time-consuming work is not funded.
    4. Members are involved in exceptional advocacy work. They work within inter-agency committees to promote services, learn about other services, and problem-solve for their clients. They are active in local economic development corporations, Chambers of Commerce, and all levels of government and contribute to local task forces.
    5. They love what they do! No matter how challenging their work can be, they love helping people and creating programs to address vast and unique challenges.


    Funders, policymakers, politicians, and the public often struggle to grasp the breadth of employment service providers' work and their profound impact on communities. This daily challenge becomes apparent when meeting new individuals. To aid in overcoming this hurdle, please use the hashtag #humansofemployment in your social media posts. By doing so, we can efficiently showcase real-life examples when elucidating the diverse nature of our work.

    ASPECT is also working on two fronts: working with the Canadian Coalition of Community-Based Employability Training (CCCBET) and CERIC to launch national campaigns spreading the word about career development and all its facets. On Sunday before Cannexus, I will work with the National Advocacy Committee to design an outreach strategy and messaging. Then, on Wednesday morning at Cannexus, I will present with my CCCBET colleagues at a session called "Employment Services at a Crossroads: Do They Need to Change?" where we will discuss the value of community-based services and the work ahead to innovate using new technologies. 

    Everything I heard from ASPECT members this month through our virtual regional meetings will inform that work, and I want to thank you again for your contributions.


    Janet Morris-Reade, CEO

  • January 18, 2024 3:02 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    In case you haven’t heard, there was a cabinet shuffle earlier this week that will likely impact the work we do, and perhaps, the future of employment programs in BC.


    The Honourable Andrew Mercier, formerly the Minister of State for Workforce Development and Future Skills, has transitioned to the role of Minister of State for Sustainable Forestry Innovation. He has shifted his support from the Minister of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills to the Minister of Forestry. This move is a loss for us, considering Mercier's substantial contributions to the international credential recognition file, which informed new legislation.

    In response to these changes, the Minister of State position in Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills has been eliminated and replaced with the role of Parliamentary Secretary for International Credentials, now occupied by MLA George Chow. This has resulted in new mandate letters for both Minister Robinson and the parliamentary secretary, and I've requested a meeting with them on your behalf.

    Public Service

    Within the public service, a notable shuffle has occurred among top bureaucrats. David Galbraith, a highly regarded Deputy Minister in the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, has been reassigned to the Ministry of Children and Family Development. In his place, Allison Bond, a former Assistant Deputy Minister and often regarded as the architect of the Employment Program of BC, has taken over the Deputy Minister role at the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction.

    Future of the Social Services Sector Roundtable

    Turning our attention to the Social Services Sector Roundtable (SSSRT), initiated by former SDPR Minister Shane Simpson in May 2019, there are concerns about potential disruptions due to these changes. However, there's a silver lining as David Galbraith, a key collaborator within the roundtable who has been actively addressing issues may continue in his new role with the Ministry of Children and Family Development. Or, because the roundtable is led by SDPR, Deputy Minister Allison Bond may take over. Given the diverse stakeholders at the roundtable, spanning various ministries, we remain optimistic that the crucial work of the SSSRT will continue despite the shuffle. I will keep you posted.

    Janet Morris-Reade, CEO

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