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Essential Skills and Vulnerable Groups  Dr. Marion E. Jones, Economics, University of Regina  Dr. John R. Graham, Social Work, University of Calgary.

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Presentation on theme: "Essential Skills and Vulnerable Groups  Dr. Marion E. Jones, Economics, University of Regina  Dr. John R. Graham, Social Work, University of Calgary."— Presentation transcript:

1 Essential Skills and Vulnerable Groups  Dr. Marion E. Jones, Economics, University of Regina  Dr. John R. Graham, Social Work, University of Calgary  Andy Wong, Grad. School of Public Policy, University of Regina  Brenna Atnikov, Social Work, University of Calgary  Bonnie Morton, Regina Antipoverty Ministry  Dianne Luxton, DECSA

2 Introduction and Overview  73 Case Study Interviews, 5 focus groups divided between Calgary and Regina  Vulnerable Groups  Single Parents  Indigenous  Disabled (Physical, Mental, Addictions)

3 Key Divisions  Single versus Multiple Characteristics  Working versus Non-working

4 Themes  Individualization  Credentialism  Intersectionality  Human Capital – Necessary or Sufficient?  Life skills – job readiness  Healing and tipping points

5 Single Parents  Homogeneity – only a binding constraint on people with multiple characteristics  Chiefly interacts with / impinges upon labour flexibility  Access to good child care and early learning centre places would alleviate these issues  Also interacts importantly with transporation

6 Disabilities  Highly heterogeneous  Visible Disabilities – constitutional effects  Physical Health Problems  Addictions Issues  Mental Health Issues  Learning Disabilities

7 Indigenous  Residential school legacy and negative social capital and violence  Seasonality of availability for employment  Cultural status a barrier to employment – culture – gender nexus  Self-esteem and tipping points crucial to cutting the Gordian knot of unemployment and welfare dependency  Integrated approach


9 The Essential Skills  Reading  Writing  Mathematics  Computer Use  Document Use  Formal Communication  Oral Communication  Working with Others  Thinking and Problem Solving

10 TOWES  Credentialism  Risks  Opportunity  Problems with pen and paper test  Discrimination  Anxiety

11 Educational Attainment  Key differentiating variable  Single characteristics higher educational attainment than multiple  Employed have a higher educational attainment than those on welfare or in training  Human capital – key? - level?

12 Reading  Employed group reads more frequently than non-employed group, and more of them find reading easy.  Single characteristic group reads more frequently and has greater ease of reading than those with multiple characteristics  Differences are relatively small

13 Writing  Those with multiple characteristics are much more likely to write daily than those with single characteristics (correlation with high likelihood of being in a training program)  No meaningful differences in ease and frequency of writing between employed and non-employed groups.

14 Mathematics  For either bisection of the respondents there is little difference in the frequency of using Mathematics  Those in the multiple characteristic group and those in the non-employed group are both much more likely to find mathematics difficult than the single characteristic and employed groups

15 Computer Use  Almost all respondents had experience and training with computers  Most participants had difficulty articulating what was included in their computer training courses  Employed and single groups are more likely to use computers daily, but are also more likely to find using computers difficult

16 Document Use  Employed respondents were more likely to be familiar with document use than non-employed respondents  Single characteristic respondents were much more likely to be familiar with document use than multiple characteristic respondents

17 Formal Communication  Most respondents, regardless of characteristics were rarely engaged in formal communications  Single characteristic respondents were noticeably more likely to engage in formal communication as were those in the employed group

18 Oral Communications  A slim majority of the employed and single characteristic groups had no trouble with oral communications  A slim majority of the non-employed and multiple characteristic groups had difficulty with oral communications

19 Working with Others  The frequency of working with others was identical for single and multiple characteristic groups, but the multiple group had less difficulty working with others.  The employed group is much more likely to work with others, and finds it easier to do so.

20 Thinking and Problem Solving  These are exceedingly difficult traits to assess without a formal pen and paper or group project assessment, and therefore is omitted from our discussion.  There were no meaningful differences in frequency or ease of thinking between the various groups.

21 Summary – Essential Skills  Obvious that essential skills as defined by HRSDC are not particularly meaningful in explaining the labour market attachment status and experience of vulnerable peoples.  There are other not easily quantifiable or generalizable factors that explain employment status and experience among these groups.

22 Flexible Workers

23 Tipping Points  Catalysts for change amongst the hard to employ

24 Congnition  New Perspective

25 Cognition  Past Influences my Present

26 Behaviour  Tipping Point  Applying what I learn to life

27 Behaviour  Having new ways of interacting with the world and people  I am better able to build positive social support and social capital

28 Issues External to Me  Fit the mould employees

29 Issues External to Me  Challenges of Difference

30 Issues External to Me  Unrealistic Expectations

31 Issues External to Me  Transportation

32 Conclusions  Implications for Scholarship  Implications for Practitioners  Implications for Policy Makers

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