What’s New at the Centre for Employment Innovation?

Sharing updates and our plans for the year ahead.

The year 2018 is off to a busy start for the Centre for Employment Innovation (CEI) team. In addition to preparing for and attending the Cannexus ’18 Conference in Ottawa, we hosted an all-day Strategic Priorities session with members of the Department of Labour and Advanced Education. The session allowed us to reflect on our engagements, research and learnings in 2017 (our first nine months as an organization) and to draft our strategic priorities for the year ahead.

Paula Romanow (L) and Jaime Smith (R) at Cannexus ’18.

We look back at 2017 as a period of great learning for the CEI. Our new knowledge was acquired through our research, our engagement with hundreds of individuals and employment organizations across the province (and beyond!), and admittedly, through a few hair-pulling moments that often occur in an organization’s inaugural year. As we step into 2018, our focus has now shifted to translating and sharing this newly acquired knowledge with our network.

So, what specifically do we have in store for the year ahead?

Research and Innovation:

In addition to the New Opportunities for Work (NOW) Program’s Developmental Evaluation and the continued expansion of our career development literature review, we will be working with you to deliver case studies that showcase some of the innovations currently being used by various service providers across Nova Scotia. This will allow our network to learn about unique programs, tools, and strategies being employed by other organizations within the province, and over time, across Canada and internationally. The CEI will be hiring four part-time Research Navigators in March to support this work. If this is of interest, please forward your resume to jlsmith@stfx.ca. We thank the several interested individuals who have applied to date.

We would also like to take this opportunity to thank the Nova Scotia Works Centre Executive Directors and staff who have participated in our Environmental Scan. Your feedback has given us a deeper understanding of the strengths and innovations within your network, and we look forward to engaging you this spring in the further development of our findings.

The New Opportunities for Work (NOW) Program is fully underway, with 170 participants engaged in employment and more than 100 employers from across the province. Through the efforts of our Navigator of New Initiatives, Angela Bear, the CEI will continue to provide ongoing support to the proponent organizations and gather information for our Developmental Evaluation research. As the project progresses, we will also be capturing stories from NOW proponents, participants, and employers.

On February 26th, the Nova Scotia Government, in collaboration with the CEI, formally announced the NOW Program to the public. Simultaneous announcements took place in Kentville and Membertou, and included speeches by local MLA’s, proponent organizations, participants and employers. To read more about these events, check out the articles by the Cape Breton Post and the King’s County Register.

Collaboration and Engagement:

Our engagement work will continue throughout 2018 with a focus on regional conversations with our stakeholders and partners. The CEI team will work with our local partners to co-design and co-host these sessions, aimed at supporting a more resilient and effective workforce for Nova Scotia. Through the use of our newsletter and social media, we aim to keep our network abreast of any engagement opportunities.

The CEI website is about to undergo a long-awaited refresh that will allow it to better address our network’s needs. We’ve begun making some changes to the site and look forward to adding additional useful content in the months ahead. We are also in the midst of tackling an ambitious video project that will capture stories from service providers, their clients and employers. Our goal is to not only showcase the great work being done by these organizations but to inspire hope and broaden the narrative on employment in our province. Thank you to everyone who has shared stories with us thus far.

Capacity Building and Training:

In 2018, we celebrate the 90th Anniversary of the StFX Extension Department and the 100th Anniversary of the Antigonish Movement. Preparations are underway for commemorating these huge milestones and we look forward to sharing more details with you in the coming months.

The CEI will also be taking an active role in supporting the NSCDA’s fall conference and will continue to work with the NSCDA to facilitate learning opportunities.

Working in collaboration with our partners at StFX University and within our broader network, the CEI is also in the process of designing a leadership development program for employment services providers. Our goal is to share the program by the spring of 2018.

Leadership and Governance:

The CEI Advisory Board met in February to learn about the NOW program’s progress to date. We also plan to further collaborate with our Advisory Board on the CEI’s strategic priorities for 2018. Once all input is received, the CEI team will share the framework with our network for additional feedback. More information regarding the Advisory Board and its role will also be shared this spring.

The CEI continues to put learning, research and innovation at the forefront of its agenda. As such, the aim of 2018 is to share back the emerging learning, to listen to input, to evaluate the evidence and to work with partners to ensure access to practitioner-driven action research.

In day-to-day news, our Manager of Applied Research, Paula Romanow, has returned part-time after a short leave and will be available by email in the weeks ahead. Paula will be returning full-time in late March.

You will also notice that the format of our Media Scan has changed. We will continue to provide our Media Scan but it will now be included within a CEI bi-weekly newsletter. Our new newsletter format will allow us to share more of what’s happening with the CEI, as well as other content relating to career development and employment innovation.

Finally, we encourage you all to follow along with us on social media through the StFX Extension Facebook and Twitter pages. It’s a great place to find regular updates, share-worthy articles, and learn about upcoming events!