The Milestone Approach
As mentioned, a key element of the innovative Employer Partnership Program is the integration of a milestone approach. SRDC defines milestones as the short-term ‘in-program’ outcomes that are directly connected to provider practices and thus largely within provider control. Performance milestones identify key transition points that, when reached, are hypothesized to be associated with further progress of the participant and ultimately longer term labour market success. A milestone process such as this also encourages service providers to work with those furthest from the labour market.
Allows us to establish a credible starting point for all job seekers, including those
with complex needs, and a rigorous way to measure progress towards sustainable
Is both rigorous and inclusive.
Stimulates innovation such as the shift towards demand-informed service models
and delivery of workplace-specific essential skills training.
Funds innovation when earned incentives are reinvested in the service/organization
by the service provider.
Adds value by shifting the focus from activities (e.g. resume writing) to outcomes
such as progress towards sustainable employment.
Identifies short-term ‘in-program’ outcomes that are directly connected to provider
practices and thus largely within provider control.
Offers the provider incentives for helping clients reach key milestones.
By Combining the Milestone Approach with a Pay for Performance Approach, Funders:
Incentivize providers to develop innovative practices to connect individuals with lower skills to sustainable employment.
Reward providers for helping clients reach key milestones along employment and learn- ing pathways – thus providers have incentives/funds to experiment with new ways of delivering programs and create infrastructure to support future innovation.
The milestone approach provides a framework to measure progress along an employment services continuum. The approach has increased our capacity to monitor and continuously improve our own performance at each measurement stage thereby generating better results for job seekers and the employer partner as well as improving employee performance.
Building on the success of the Employer Partnership Program creates new capacity and opportunities for individuals with varying levels of attachment to the labour force and to the needs of Manitoba employers as they seek new and innovative recruitment strategies, training solutions and human resource management practices to fill vacancies and retain productive employees.
We are currently seeking to expand our efforts and include other employers to connect job seekers with multiple barriers to employment with in-demand opportunities in other industry sectors, while fostering long-term job retention through effective employment development and essential skills training.
In the Employment Partnership Program research phase, 90% (329/364) of those participants who engaged in occupational specific essential skills training went on to engage in technical training at Canada Goose. 76% (276/364) of those participants who engaged in occupational specific essential skills training went on to secure employment after completing training. Of the 276 participants who gained employment after completing occupational specific essential skills training, 68% (188/276) were hired at Canada Goose and 32% (88/276) were hired elsewhere. The project currently boasts an 87% post-employment retention rate at six months, which can be attributed in part to the on-site support provided by OFE’s project team to both the participants and to Canada Goose staff. This is an extremely important component as we work with Canada Goose to help them achieve their expansion goals in Winnipeg.
Employment Mentorship Program
OFE was involved in another research study called Manitoba Works! As one of the service providers in the study, OFE developed an innovative model designed to increase the labour market participation of Employment and Income Assistance (EIA) recipients and other individuals with multiple barriers to employment.
The model is responsive to the unique needs of Manitoba employers as they seek new and innovative recruitment strategies and human resource management practices to fill vacancies and retain productive employees.
Using a two-fold approach, OFE delivers programming designed to assess and equip eligible job seekers for the labour market and strategically match candidates with industry-based, paid mentorship opportunities. We intentionally partner with, mentor, and support both the participant and the employer to foster long-term job retention.
The Employment Mentorship Program model is a highly focused, intensive approach to create successful matches between well prepared clients and well-prepared employers. What makes this approach unique compared to the other program offerings at OFE are three significant program components:
An 8 week classroom component providing effective training in Stages of Change, employability skills, essential skills and computer literacy.
A paid full-time employment mentorship component where the employer does not bear any of the cost of the participant’s salary and/or MERCs with the intention of the position becoming permanent. This period has varied from three to six months.
Intensive coaching for the participant and the employer during the mentorship period including on-site visits, learning plans and regular reporting.
Key Engagement Elements
The innovative programming at OFE aligns with the priorities of our province and builds into a
The demand led research models at OFE have a number of key engagement elements, which highlight our efforts to address the following:
Work with participants to thoroughly acquire an initial buy in on the employment opportunity from the participant by providing an initial employer visit coupled with the application of Stages of Change practices to assess, explore and resolve ambivalence in regards to work readiness.
Employability Skills and Workplace Essential Skills
Provide training to prepare the individual for their entrance into, positive contribution and longevity in this specific employment opportunity.
Facilitate as an additional opportunity for the participant to visit and observe the place of employment, the workplace culture and the actual tasks of the position to ensure they are interest-ed in pursuing the employment opportunity.
Demand Led Technical Training
Deliver work ready participants to opportunities delivered by local employers; increasing industry investment to address labour market shortages and foster sustainable matches.
Monitor and Evaluate
Measure the progress of participants and employers to establish best practices within the program and to build on the successes and share best practices with like-minded agencies.
Provide to participants on and off site to foster program and employment retention.
Provide to employers to create long term sustainable matches and educate employers to increase their success in working with people with multiple barriers to employment.
In the research component of the Employment Mentorship Program, we engaged with 147 individuals. 68% of which were EIA recipients. 103 of the individuals took part in a paid mentorship and 84 (82%) of the people transitioned into employment post mentorship. In a recent follow-up, it was established that 73 of the 84 (87%) of the individuals are still working 12 – 24 months post program. Of that group, 59/73 (81%) are still with the original employer. In addition, another 17 individuals who took part in programming secured employment within the follow-up period for a total employed number of 98 from the original 147 people who engaged.
As we compare the research groups we note that Program Group participants earn 14% more per hour and average six more hours per week. Based on these findings, Program Group participants will earn, on average, $6894 more per year than their counterparts in the Control Group. An additional $7,000/year is life changing to a low-income family.
In addition, 85 employers hosted 103 people in mentorship placements. 67 employers utilized the wage coverage opportunity and collectively saved $1,008,417 in salaries and MERCS. All of the employers saved on recruitment and training costs. As you will read below, these are funds that can be reinvested in growing their business and subsequently, the Manitoba Economy.
We were able to assist these employers in finding qualified employees and also in expanding and creating a larger job market for Winnipeg. For example, by hiring multiple participants from the Employment Mentorship Program, an established, locally-owned employer was able to save over $56,000 (and counting) over a year and a half. This employer has stated that he would hire EMP participants regardless of the wage subsidy due to the quality of programming received at OFE. Another local business owner was able to take the $40,000 he saved from wage coverage of three EMP participants and invest it back into his small business. As a result, he has grown his company and is now in a position to hire two more employees. From a social investment perspective, multiple employers have expressed gratitude for the opportunity to “change the lives” of their employees.
EIA usage/costs is, on average, 30% lower for the program group than the control group 12 months post program. Projections made on the current EMP model predict a 28.2% decrease in EIA usage/costs within two years of program involvement. Other ROI factors for government include tax contributions made by the participants who are employed, reduced usage of public services and reduction in criminal justice involvement.
Research data from the Social Research and Demonstration Corporation (SRDC) indicates significant gains in jobseeker self-efficacy, self-esteem and career decision making ability. Additionally, notable gains in essential skills levels were recorded for the program group.
Manitobans have the skills required to be successful in the labour market.
Manitoba employers have the capacity to effectively manage and develop their human resources.
Manitoba communities are able to support and benefit from labour market growth.
Manitoba has an adequate supply of labour to support economic growth.
Manitoba labour force participants are fully utilizing their skills.