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  • May 03, 2024 5:40 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    I am writing this report from Dublin, Ireland, in advance of the 5th VPL Biennale, a project I have been volunteering on for the past year. Hosted by Ireland, Canada, and the US, this biennale is an international conference with 377 delegates and speakers from Mongolia, Kenya, Iceland, Spain, and South Africa, to name just a few.

    The program for this conference is immense! There are 45 concurrent sessions, 4 rounds of lightning talks, 4 table discussions, and 6 plenary and panels squeezed into two very full days. Click here for a full list of speakers and session descriptions.

    For those who, like me, may not have had an opportunity to attend an international conference, part of my job at the conference will be to help support the creation of post-event learning and disseminate session learnings through recorded sessions, social media posts, and a series of BCPLAN podcasts. I have brought along one of my daughters, Rachel, to help make this happen. Many of the topics discussed will be particularly relevant to those of you who work with clients requiring validation of their prior learning, making this event especially valuable for your practice.

    I am here because of my position as co-president of the BC Prior Learning Action Network, of which ASPECT is a founding member. Understanding how all these networks, particularly micro-credentials, which are a subset of prior learning accreditation and recognition (PLAR), fit together is crucial for our advocacy work. By providing international perspectives on solving local challenges, we can better understand broader workforce development practices.

    I'm grateful for this opportunity and eagerly anticipate experiencing the collective efforts of the planning committee over the past 18 months coming to fruition. Thank you to all for their work on this project, especially my co-president at BCPLAN, Susan Forseille, and my colleague at CAPLA, Andy Brown, who make up the rest of the Canadian contingent. With their help, we are taking BCPLAN and ASPECT to the international stage. Very exciting indeed!

    Check out the VPL Biennale website for access to videos and papers from the 4th VPL Biennale in Iceland.

    Janet Morris-Reade, CEO

  • April 26, 2024 8:07 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    Here at ASPECT, we strive to be inclusive of the entire employment service sector, regardless of ASPECT membership. The continuum and various facets of employment services extend beyond our realm of publicly-funded employment programs. To remind yourself of the vastness of the larger sector, I invite you to check out the results of the mapping project Hidden Sector, Hidden Talent: Mapping Canada's Career Development Sector. Whether your organization is an ASPECT member or not, we are here to support you with our advocacy work, professional development opportunities, and leadership. We value your contribution to the sector and encourage you to consider joining our diverse community.


    This time, however, we are not inviting non-members to participate in our annual member survey. We have done so in the past, but this year, we wanted to ensure that our members have their say. This morning, a member survey was sent out in two parts: the first is for everyone who works in employment services in our member organizations, and the second is for organizational leaders to provide their thoughts about where we should be focusing our advocacy efforts. All members are invited to answer the first part, and then, if you are a leader within your organization, you are also invited to take the advocacy survey. The first survey is 2 minutes long, and the second is a bit longer than that. We have designed the survey to be quick and easy to complete, so we encourage you to take the time to share your valuable insights with us. 


    In the past year's surveys, we have learned that respondents are generally happy with ASPECT's work. However, some respondents answered that they didn't know if their organization was a member. We hope to remedy that statistical error this year: everyone who received an email is in our member database. 


    For those of you wondering if your organization is a member of ASPECT, here is the list of nearly 100 organizations. If you do not see your organization and want to be a part of the exclusive group and support our work, please consider joining us. If you are a member, and one of your community partners should also be a member, take advantage of our member referral program.

    Archway Community Services
    Archway Society for Domestic Peace
    Arrow & Slocan Lakes Community Services
    Aware Society of BC
    Back in Motion
    BC Centre for Ability
    Beacon Community Services Society
    Boys and Girls Clubs of South Coast BC
    Bridges for Women Society
    Buxton Consulting Ltd
    Career Centre
    Central Vancouver Island Multicultural Society
    CFDC of Boundary Area
    CFDC of Central Okanagan
    CFDC North Okanagan
    CFDC Thompson Country
    College of New Caledonia - Mackenzie
    Creative Employment Access Society
    CVIJOBS Career Centre
    Developmental Disabilities Association
    Discovery Community College Ltd
    DIVERSEcity Community Resources  Society
    Douglas College-Training Group
    Employment Connections North - Fort St John
    Engaged HR
    ETHOS Career Management Group
    Fort Nelson Employment Services Inc.
    Fraser Works Co-op
    Free Rein Associates
    Golden Community Resources Society
    Greater Trail Community Skills Centre
    Greater Vancouver YMCA
    Hecate Strait Employment Development Society
    Horton Ventures Inc.
    Immigrant Services Society of BC
    Inclusion Powell River Society
    Indigenous Community for Leadership & Development Group
    INEO Employment Counselling Inc
    Intercultural Association of Victoria
    Island Work Transitions Inc.
    John Howard Society of Victoria
    Kamloops Immigrant Services
    Kelowna Community Resources
    Kelowna Economic Recovery and Employment Development Association
    Kitimat Community Services Society
    Kootenay Career Development Society
    Kootenay Employment Services Society
    Kopar Administration Ltd
    Langley Community Services Society
    LIFT Community Services
    M Daniels Consulting Ltd.
    Make A Change Canada
    March of Dimes Canada
    Maximus Canada Employment Services Inc.
    Mission Community Skills Centre Society
    Nanaimo Youth Services Association
    Neil Squire Society
    NexusBC Community Resource Centre
    North Island Employment Foundation Society
    North Shore Multicultural Society
    North Vancouver Island Aboriginal Training Society
    Northwest Training Ltd.
    Nuuchahnulth Tribal Council
    Obair Economic Society
    Okanagan Training and Development Council
    Open Door Group
    Options Community Services Society
    Our WorkPlace
    Outlines for Life Society
    Pacific Community Resources Society
    Piers (Partners in Resources)
    Powell River Employment Program - LIFT
    Prince George Nechako Aboriginal Employment & Training Association
    Princeton & District Community Skills Centre
    Progressive Intercultural Community Sevices (PICS) Society
    Skills Centre
    Sources Community Resources Society
    South Okanagan Immigrant Community Services
    The Career Foundation
    Triangle Community Resources
    Upper Skeena Development Centre
    Val Meaney and Associates
    Vancouver Island Vocational and Rehabilitation Services Ltd
    Vernon & District Immigrant & Community Services Society
    WCG International Inc.
    Workforce Development Consulting of Northern BC Ltd.
    WorkLink Employment Society
    Yellowhead Community Service Clearwater Employment
    YMCA of Greater Vancouver
    YWCA Metro Vancouver
    Associate Members
    Vancouver Community College
    Implicit Career Services Inc
    Indian Residential School Survivors Society
    Reciprocal Members
    BC Career Development Association
    BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres
    Career Education Society
    BC Labour Market Report

    Thanks to all for your support of ASPECT and welcome to those who are interested in joining.

    Janet Morris-Reade, CEO

  • April 18, 2024 5:34 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Some of you may know that I'm passionate about community development, which is why I love my job at ASPECT. I like collaboratively solving problems, sharing new ideas and innovations, and figuring out how to use my limited resources and influence to improve things for others. That is why I want to tell you about a call I had on Thursday with a couple of ASPECT members.

    Londa Morris and Beth Hurst of Kootenay Employment Services in Creston set up a meeting to discuss some of their ideas for presentations at the ASPECT conference. All three ideas were exciting, and we will likely pursue all three. Although still in the developing phase, I wanted to tell you a little about them to inspire you to step forward and submit a proposal. 

    1. What Tech Tools Are You Using?

    This session will be one part community research, one part presentation, and one part information sharing. First, ASPECT will send out a survey to our networks to find out what tools others are using, and then Beth and Londa will present the findings at the conference, followed by a facilitated live demo and discussion. 

    2. Emerging Staff Benefits & Benefit Measurement

    Staff recruitment and retention continue to be a challenge for many in our sector. This session, still in development, will be a short presentation of what other organizations are doing and ways to measure and communicate benefits to current and potential staff. It will be followed by a menti-meter-style discussion about what others are doing in employment services. The data collected will help create sector solutions for our advocacy work.

    3. Deep Dive into Funding Sources

    This session is just a germ of an idea right now, but we will examine new and effective ways for organizations to find funding. Our guest presenter will provide some basics, followed by a funder panel that will answer questions and share ideas.

    I love the community development perspective of the call with Londa and Beth. They noticed an education need, considered what kind of conference sessions they would like to attend, and reached out to brainstorm ideas. I was able to contribute by surveying the members, taking some of their ideas, and providing resources to them, all so that ASPECT members and conference delegates could benefit from an excellent learning opportunity. It's a fabulous feeling when ideas develop into something fun and exciting.

    If you have an idea for presenting at the ASPECT conference, please let us know by filling out a proposal form at The ASPECT call for presenters closes on May 15 at midnight, while Cannexus25 currently has its call for presenters out until May 31. Why not create one proposal for both conferences? 

    Janet Morris-Reade, CEO

  • April 12, 2024 9:03 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    L-R: Kim Lauritsen, Lori Forgeron, Devin Scott, Val Meaney (front), Raj Hundal (back), Peter Bailey, Tricia Gueulette, Coreen Jenner, Kirsty Peterson, Shannon Baikie, Aaron Clausen, Calum Scott

    This was an exciting week for ASPECT. We hosted a board retreat in Richmond where we got the 2023-2024 board of directors and our 2024-2025 board members together for professional development, information sharing, and deep discussions about the current and future of employment programs in BC and Canada. These moments of reflection are crucial in ASPECT planning our path forward in an environment that feels like it is moving at lightning speed. Thank you to all who volunteered their time and to all the member organizations who supported them in doing so. 

    We said goodbye from the board to Tricia Gueulette and Val Meaney and a tip of the hat to Peter Bailey, who is leaving his formal board duties to take an ex-officio board position leading a newly formed Diversity Engagement Committee. Although we had a large group of excellent candidates for the board, we realized that the diversity of candidates does not represent the diversity of our membership and conference delegates. Peter and Coreer Jenner will look at ways in which we can find qualified board candidates who bring with them diverse experiences. More information on this committee is coming soon. 

    We would like to welcome new board members Shannon Baikie from the North Island Employment Foundations Society, Calum Scott from the Pacific Community Resources Society, Aaron Clausen from Island Work Transitions, and Devin Scott from the Kootenay Career Development Society.

    We also convened the 2023-2023 Annual General Meeting, which was attended by nearly 30 members and ASPECT staff. To find out what we have done and where we are going, please check out our new annual report. Many thanks to all who attended both in person and virtually.

    Janet Morris-Reade, CEO

  • March 28, 2024 12:35 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This is a short note to wish everyone a happy Easter and a happy long weekend for those who don't observe Easter.

    I wanted to draw your attention to the following:

    1. The extreme early-bird conference rate is on now until April 1st. At the time of writing, the conference had already sold 14% of the available spaces. Register now!
    2. Our conference would be nothing without our presenters: the proposal deadline is May 15. Here is the link to the application form and more info.
    3. We have launched our exhibitor and sponsor package, which can be found here. We are limited for exhibitor space at this year's venue, so if you are exhibiting and/or sponsoring and require space, please let us know soon to avoid disappointment.
    4. Here's the link to book your hotel now for the conference. 
    5. Finally, if you are an ASPECT member or work for an organization that is an ASPECT member, remember to register for our virtual Annual General Meeting on Monday, April 8, at 3:00 pm. 

    My best wishes to you and yours for a wonderful weekend!

    Janet Morris-Reade, CEO

  • March 21, 2024 9:23 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Two years ago, we learned that this year's ASPECT Conference venue, the Delta Ocean Pointe Victoria Hotel, can accommodate only 255 people. Considering that the past two ASPECT conferences have been fully booked, I highly recommend registering now to utilize the remaining fiscal year-end funds. Take advantage of the Extreme-Early Bird offer before it expires on April 1st and save between $150 and $200 off the standard conference rate.
    We don’t yet have a program, as the call for speakers is underway, but you can expect high-quality sessions, consultations, workshops and many opportunities to network with others in the sector. This year's theme is Evolving Together: Preparing for the Future of Employment Services, and we will examine new approaches to employment services and celebrate the successes and innovations driving positive change within our field.
    You may also want to make your hotel reservation now. Last time, the hotel sold out, and some were disappointed not to stay at the conference hotel.  Sponsorship and exhibitor opportunities will be launched next week. 

    The sector is buzzing with activity and brimming with upcoming changes to how employment services will be delivered. I'm genuinely excited about the prospect of engaging in thoughtful conversations ahead. For those who cannot attend the conference this year, we hope to offer some webinars soon. We are currently looking for a Learning Specialist Consultant. Please pass the job posting on to your contacts.

    In the meantime, the BC Career Development Association is offering some fabulous content with its Webinar Collection and Symposium. If you can't spend your year-end Pro-D dollars on the ASPECT Conference, please look into what the BCCDA is offering. Kudos to the BCCDA team for putting together a great lineup! I look forward to attending the Symposium on April 19th at SFU Harbour Centre in Vancouver. Hope to see you there.

    Janet Morris-Reade, CEO

  • March 15, 2024 9:47 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    One of my jobs is to study and anticipate upcoming innovations in employment services. As we heard at last year's conference and what we see already, there is a transformation ahead. That's why I am delighted to announce that the ASPECT Conference 2024 is now open for registration, and there is a current call for presenters in effect until May 15, 2024. Our theme this year, Evolving Together: Preparing for the Future of Employment Services, focuses on the future of community-based employment services and how we can work together in adapting to new realities and challenges by helping clients, employers, and community economies prepare for the ever-changing labour market. 


    We acknowledge the expanding reach of digital services in employment support. However, our research sheds light on the limitations, particularly the findings from Competency of Career Development Practitioners for Virtual Services and Refocusing the Urban Lens for Rural & Remote Employment Services. For instance, individuals facing barriers to employment may not benefit fully from virtual programs, while those in rural or remote areas often lack access to necessary wraparound services and experience connectivity issues. Additionally, we've observed instances where service providers with broader contract regions neglect to engage with the smaller communities they are supposed to serve, achieving outcomes without meaningful connection. This underscores the critical importance of events like the ASPECT Conference. Here, professionals convene to learn about industry trends and collaborate on ideas that inform policy, enhance services, and sustain local economies by supporting both job seekers and employers.


    Please register now to take advantage of our extreme early bird pricing. Contribute to the conversation by submitting a presenter proposal. The conference has sold out for the past two years, and we anticipate a similar demand this year. Secure your spot early, and remember to book your hotel accommodations promptly to ensure you don't miss out on staying at the conference hotel.

    Janet Morris-Reade, CEO

  • March 08, 2024 11:02 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This week, I participated in a National Advocacy Campaign steering committee meeting hosted by CERIC. We discussed the report on what we had put together at Cannexus, and we are now at a point where we can start testing messaging.


    The challenge is to create an advocacy message that meets the needs of all who work in career development, whether in the K-12 education systems, post-secondary school career centres and work-integrated learning, private career services, or those who deliver career development services through publicly funded programs. The landscape is vast, all with diverse funding and administration. (The Challenge Factory and the Canadian Career Development Foundation did a good job identifying the landscape in their report Scoping the Canadian Career Development Landscape.) 


    It has been tricky to come up with a unifying message, clarify advocacy goals, and translate it into a language understood by those inside and outside the career development ecosystem. The result is the development of one umbrella idea, "decent work," with room for several other, more specific messages. 


    The work plan for February to September 2024 is to:

    • Identify all content and collateral we need for the campaign
    • Develop social media materials and copy needed for the campaign
    • Develop all other collateral for the campaign
    • Develop clear metrics for feedback and success criteria to evaluate the campaign
    • Build out campaign strategy

    Below is a chart showing the messages and goals we discussed in January. It reflects a variety of thoughts and ideas. Ceric hired Overlap Associates as our consultant, and I'm amazed at how they've managed to consider everyone's input while dealing with a lot of information. I feel honoured to be part of both the steering committee and the working committee, representing employment service providers in BC.

    Janet Morris-Reade, CEO

  • February 15, 2024 11:53 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Earlier this week, we hosted the third roundtable meeting for recipients of the International Credential Recognition Fund. I'm thrilled with the positive outcomes and the discussions that took place.

    The grant recipients are enthusiastic about their projects, and many are surprised by the demand for their programs. Urban service providers are sharing their knowledge with rural and remote service providers, fostering a valuable exchange of ideas. The grants, ranging from $50,000 to $100,000, have no eligibility restrictions on who they can assist. Various initiatives, such as mentoring programs, study clubs, credential recognition exams, and course support, are underway. Some are even creating new resources previously unavailable, all with the commitment to share knowledge.

    All the projects are now showcased on our fund website (scroll to the bottom of the page). I encourage you to explore the fascinating work your colleagues are doing.

    The fund's goal is straightforward: identify service gaps and eliminate obstacles to international credential recognition. While there are currently no future plans for this fund to continue, it has provided an excellent opportunity to test and expand on ideas, collect important data to inform new program development, and given grantees the opportunity to share valuable lessons learned.

    It also brings me great joy to learn that those at the roundtable wanted to keep these discussions going. ASPECT will gladly facilitate more sessions, and we will open up the discussions to all who want to participate! More information is coming this spring.

    Janet Morris-Reade, CEO

  • February 08, 2024 6:04 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    L-R: Janet Morris-Reade (BC), Carrie Axten (Alberta), Monika Fiest (Manitoba), Akosua Alagaratnam (Ontario), Valérie Roy (Quebec)

    Last week, I and my colleagues from the Canadian Coalition of Community-Based Employability Training (CCCBET) presented at Cannexus in Ottawa. We discussed changes in Canada's public employment programs, including the mismatch between job supply and demand, the dual challenges faced by employment service providers from both job seekers and employers, the impact of technology on traditional employment services, and the evolving profile of job seekers with multiple barriers.

    These changes occur in an environment where service providers deal with limited funding, difficulties retaining qualified staff, and heightened competition. Despite these challenges, collaboration is essential to strengthen community-based networks and address the country's economic needs. We highlighted concerns about the growing dominance of online services but emphasized that collaboration presents an opportunity for innovation.

    During our presentation, we shared practical tools like the CARMIS case management system, industry-specific online training (e.g., Alberta Hotel and Lodging Association), and online support resources like FutureFit AILinkedIn learning, and Google micro-credential certification. Following the presentation, we engaged in group discussions, addressing key questions:

    1. In re-thinking service design, what resources or tools does your organization use?
    2. What would you like the funders and policymakers to know about the value of community services?
    3. In what ways are you using new technologies and generative AI in your communities? 

    We are compiling a full report, but in general, what we heard is that some contracts are too prescriptive and do not make room for innovation, the increasing work with employers is not adequately funded, and that mid-career support is an excellent way to navigate out of the current "fail first" public employment system in which we find ourselves. 

    ASPECT faces a huge task in ensuring that funders fully comprehend the comprehensive range of activities carried out by community-based employment service providers. Although the initial impact of technology and the shift toward virtual services may lead to a reduction in contracts, a substantial amount of essential work in the community remains unfunded and possibly unnoticed. This work is crucial for meeting future labour market and economic requirements. Disrupting this ecosystem could have severe consequences for communities, and the repercussions might not become apparent until it is too late.

    Remember to use #HumansofEmployment in all your social media posts to help us get the word out about the work that you do.

    Janet Morris-Reade, CEO

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