Literature Review

State of Practice: Essential Skills Applications with First Nations, Inuit, and Métis in Canada

In May 2012, the Canadian Career Development Foundation (CCDF) began a project, The State of Practice: Essential Skills Applications with First Nations, Inuit and Métis in Canada (FIMESA), that’s aim, is to: • Increase the understanding of Essential Skills Applications for First Nations, Inuit and Métis by developing a comprehensive inventory of current Essential Skills practices aimed at increasing employability and employment for First Nations, Inuit and Métis youth and adults living in diverse environments and; • Increase capacity in the field by developing an Essential Skills (ES) community of practice engaged in the development and assessment of the inventory, the widespread dissemination of results and promotion of ongoing innovation through the sharing of best practices in Essential Skills application and evaluation. This project is meant to solidify the field’s understanding of the state of practice with respect to ES applications tailored to First Nations, Inuit and Métis populations, help “uncover” factors which contribute to strong employability and employment outcomes and, through the establishment of an ES community of practice, identify, share and promote innovation and excellence in service delivery and evaluation. The purpose of this literature review is to describe the current level of need for Essential Skill development among First Nations, Inuit and Métis, to explore the state of practice of Essential Skills initiatives with these populations in Canada and to examine innovative practices in an effort to determine potential “markers of excellence” in ES programming.


Engendering Citizenship A Critical Feminist Analysis of Canadian Welfare-to-Work Policies and the Employment Experiences of Lone Mothers

Like other liberal-welfare states, Canada, in a climate of balanced budgets and deficit reduction, has been active in developing policies intended to move welfare recipients into employment in order to achieve self- sufficiency. The purpose of this paper is to employ a critical feminist analysis to examine the extent to which these policies, developed under the ideological umbrella of neo-liberalism, are gender sensitive. Literature on the economic and non-economic impacts of welfare-to-work policies is re-viewed to evaluate whether these initiatives, while mandating lone-mothers into employment, recognize the gendered nature of work, employment and poverty. Gaps in current research are identified and questions are posed about the implications of welfare-to-work on the citizenship entitlements of low-income lone mothers.


Generation X and the Boomers: Organizational Myths and Literary Realities

An extensive literature search was conducted to better understand and to dispel the current stereotypes in the workplace regarding Generation X and Baby Boomers. For the purpose of the article Generation X consisted of those born between 1961 and 1981, while Baby Boomers consisted of those born between 1943 and 1960. The purpose of this article was to use an exhaustive review of eclectic/multidisciplinary literature to address six commonly held myths presented by Paul and Townsend (1993). Furthermore, it was intended to examine empirical research gathered by a literature review of the stereotypes in the workplace, to better understand the profiles and factors that motivate the Baby Boomers and Generation X, in conjunction with the following independent variables: age, productivity, motivation, training, and mentoring and job satisfaction. Selected hypotheses were tested suggesting Generation Xers are more productive, more motivated, easily trainable and exhibit higher job satisfaction levels as compared to Baby Boomers. Results were convergent and divergent in several cases worth noting. It is important for organizations to recognize the limitations that stereotypes create in the workplace. As was demonstrated by the varied research, Baby Boomers and Generation Xers are not dissimilar as employees; they possess more similarities than differences. Organizations need to engineer/design an environment of respect for both groups to create synergies between them to build and maintain a productive workforce.


Off Welfare…Now What: A Literature Review on the Impact of Provincial Welfare to Work Training Programs in Saskatchewan

This literature review examined the knowledge base around social assistance and workplace training programs happening in Saskatchewan and as compared to the rest of Canada. While the provincial government claims that the welfare to work programs are leading to a decrease in the dependence on social assistance, the report argues that it does not necessarily represent the lived experiences of those attempting to transition from welfare to waged work, and suggests that this transition is much more difficult than was perhaps originally thought. The report explored policy changes around economic status and the quality of life for individuals living in the identified areas, and was interested not only in the impact but also in the development of more effective government and community support to increase the sustainability and quality of life for people living on social assistance.


Measuring Employability Skills – A Rapid Review to Inform Development of Tools for Project Evaluation

This report summarizes a brief review of relevant literature undertaken to assess the potential for developing a new tool to support the evaluation of projects aiming to enhance young people’s ‘employability skills’: those personal, social and transferable skills seen as relevant to all jobs, as opposed to specific technical skills or qualifications. Firstly, we consider the importance of employability skills and rationale for their measurement. Next, we clarify key terms and definitions, highlight challenges in terms of assessment and evaluation, and review existing guidance and for providers. The final section of the report provides a synthesis of seven recent evaluations that included assessment of young people’s employability skills. This synthesis provides live examples of some of the challenges identified in the literature review. The report concludes with a summary of the overall state of play on measuring
employability skills.


Literature Review on Factors Affecting the Transition of Aboriginal Youth from School to Work

Aboriginal peoples represent Canada’s fastest-growing population, yet their education and employment outcomes lag significantly behind the rest of the Canadian population. It has been forecast that over 400,000 Aboriginal youth will enter the labour market by 2016 (Brigham & Taylor, 2006). This forecast is supported by the fact that almost 20 per cent of Aboriginal people are in the 15–24 age range (Statistics Canada, 2009a). Evidence from a variety of studies summarized in this literature review indicates that Aboriginal youth face more difficulties and barriers in making a successful transition to the labour market than non-Aboriginal youth. One of the major themes throughout the literature is that Aboriginal people are at risk of social exclusion (Fleury, 2002) and that they frequently experience difficulties in their school-to-work transitions (Thiessen, 2001). Despite many gains in education and employment outcomes (Hull, 2005), Aboriginal people remain one of the most vulnerable groups in Canada (Kapsalis, 2006). The difficulties faced by Aboriginal youth also represent a significant challenge for Canadian society. Today’s economy requires higher levels of education and skills for meaningful employment, especially in current and emerging knowledge sectors. Higher levels of education are known toimprove socioeconomic well-being, including employment level and health. Increasing the number of Aboriginal people with postsecondary education would not only benefit these individuals, their families, and their communities, but would also address Canada’s labour force challenges and improve the economy. This “social and economic imperative” (ACCC, 2011, p. 5) suggests a need to strengthen existing policies and programs to better support Aboriginal youth in their transition from education to employment.


Culturally Competent Evaluation for Aboriginal Communities: A Review of the Empirical Literature

Much of program evaluation is concerned with understanding and improving social programs so that they are ultimately more responsive and more reflective of program participant needs. At the same time, these programs exist and are embedded within specific social, cultural and historical contexts which impact program development, implementation, and eventual outcomes. Evaluations that attempt to address responsiveness to contextual and cultural specificity are often referred to as culturally competent, culturally responsive, inclusive, multicultural, or cross-cultural, among other terms. While there are no agreed upon terminologies, definitions, or even methodologies, what these approaches all share is the recognition that culture and context matter, and that there are no universally agreed upon rules or abstractions that can be applicable in all contexts (Guba & Lincoln, 2005). The recognition of culture and context thus becomes ìan explicit criterion rather than an unspoken expectationî (SenGupta, Hopson, & Thompson-Robinson, 2004, p. 15) in evaluations of this type


A Review of the Literature On Peer Support in Mental Health Services

Background: Although mutual support and self-help groups based on shared experience play a large part in recovery, the employment of peer support workers (PSWs) in mental health services is a recent development. However, peer support has been implemented outside the UK and is showing great promise in facilitating recovery. Aims. This article aims to review the literature on PSWs employed in mental health services to provide a description of the development, impact and challenges presented by the employment of PSWs and to inform implementation in the UK. Method.An inclusive search of published and grey literature was undertaken to identify all studies of intentional peer support in mental health services. Articles were summarized and findings analyzed. Results. The literature demonstrates that PSWs can lead to a reduction in admissions among those with whom they work. Additionally, associated improvements have been reported on numerous issues that can impact on the lives of people with mental health problems. Conclusion. PSWs have the potential to drive through recovery-focused changes in services. However, many challenges are involved in the development of peer support. Careful training, supervision and management of all involved are required.


Labor Market and DOL-Funded Employment Assistance for Older Workers

Labor force participation and the characteristics of older American workers (aged 55 and over) have changed a great deal since the mid-1930s, reflecting changes in the broader labor force. No longer are men the sole supporters of their families, working in jobs that require physical labor and expecting to fully retire by age 65. During and after World War II, women surged into the labor force. Health and life expectancy have increased, especially for more educated workers. More recently, older workers considering retirement are facing a tough economic climate in the wake of the Great Recession. Many have experienced reductions in compensation and job losses during this period. These changes coupled with declining home values, investment losses, and high debt have undermined retirement plans and expectations. As a result, older workers are increasingly postponing retirement, or returning to the labor force after initially retiring.
The literature review presented in this report examines supply- and demand-side factors that affect older workers’ labor force participation and labor market outcomes more generally. Supply-side factors include individuals’ socioeconomic and demographic characteristics, government assistance programs and Social Security benefits, and public workforce programs. Demand-side considerations comprise older workers’ productivity and training, and employers’ preferences and discrimination against older workers. This report informs policymakers about the current state of research in this area, emphasizing research conducted from 2010 to 2015. It synthesizes the recent research and highlights the research gaps that remain. The focus is on workforce behaviors among older workers, the barriers they face in the workplace, and the policies and programs that may help them and improve their labor market outcomes. The research review presented here is intended to be useful to government agencies that support older workers in crafting effective policies directed toward these workers.