Conestoga news

November 8, 2010 4:34 PM

Collaborations to Facilitate Community Hiring

Earlier this year, Conestoga College Employment Services was invited by Social Capital Partners (SCP) to be a part of an innovative pilot project involving large employers and individuals with employment barriers.

SCP is a national, privately-financed, not-for-profit organizations that works to connect community service agencies (CSAs) providing employment services with employers. As of mid-2010, SCP had facilitated job opportunities for over 1600 people through partnerships with social enterprises and private sector employers, and is actively engaged with a network of more than 100 CSAs across the country.

As a result of a major research study in 2008, SCP realized that there are difficulties with the ways in which large employers recruit people who face employment barriers. In response to this study, they developed a framework designed to merge the hiring needs of large employers with the interests of CSAs that deliver employment preparation services to people with employment barriers.

After securing commitment from a leading employer in the region and identifying the pre-screening and success requirements for the position, SCP asked Conestoga College to join the collaborative partnership and develop a customized pre-employment training program specific for this employer and these positions, building on Conestoga’s expertise, especially in Essential Skills, capacity and track record.

After the partnership identified the key requirements for successful job placement and retention, the core skills and fit, a standard process for screening and evaluating job criteria, and the common needs and skills gaps of the job seekers, Conestoga developed a 3-day pre-employment training session to evaluate and prepare the job seekers, including:

  • Sessions on workplace expectations and culture, document use and interview skills
  • A personalized mock Interview and resume review
  • A computer assessment - testing basic knowledge and typing skills
  • A TOWES Test - Testing of Workplace Essential Skills to assess the applicant's skills in 'Reading Text', 'Document Use' and 'Numeracy'

Five candidates participated in the employer’s first hiring session and 22 participated in the second. One candidate from the first session was hired for the targeted position and another was considered for a different role at the company. Seven candidates from the second session were also hired.

All job seekers who participated in the pre-employment sessions, even those who were not hired, found the sessions valuable. The employer is pleased with the quality of their new employees and has recognized the value of the TOWES testing built on the Essential Skills framework and the pre-employment training and screening the College provided. Because of the success of the first two hiring sessions, the employer has committed to continuing to recruit through Conestoga College and to expand the pilot project to recruit for other roles in their organization