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  • 15 July 2022 12:40 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    I have more excellent resources to share with you again this week.

    Last Friday, there was a funding announcement of $8.5 million to "advance reconciliation in the BC community social services sector." This money will go toward several projects, but one I want to draw your attention to is cultural safety training. I know that many of you in the sector have already taken it, but if you have new staff or others like me who have not done the course, you can access it through the Federation of Community of Social Services of BC (FCSSBC). I am delighted at this offering because at our last Social Services Sector Roundtable Reference Group meeting in Richmond, BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres executive director, Leslie Varley, talked about the early days of the cultural safety training program and the difficulty of getting it into a single health authority. Listening to her persistence and dedication throughout her career was truly inspiring. 

    I was also re-acquainted this week with a resource from the Conference Board of Canada and the Future Skills Centre. They have released two seasons of podcasts that you might want to listen to. I am impressed with the timely topics, and the 20-minute format makes them perfect for your lunch-time walk. The screenshot below shows just a small part of the offerings.

    Finally, I want to remind you that the BC Prior Learning Action Network, of which ASPECT is involved, has released some of their own podcasts with topics such as the early PLAR work, how PLAR is done at various organizations and an update from the 4th Validation of Prior Learning Biennale international conference held in Iceland in May of this year. 

    It feels impossible to keep up-to-date on everything but these resources might be helpful and relevant to you. Have sector resources to share? Please send me an email and let me know about them.

    Janet Morris-Reade

  • 08 July 2022 11:35 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    I've been away for a while, and coming back to catch up on email has shown a ton going on in the sector. I wanted to draw your attention to the following:


    We are promoting 3 surveys this week; all close very soon and are directly related to your work. I understand that many of us are survey-weary, but please take a moment to respond as the result will impact your work and, in some cases, the funding and resources available to our sector. 

    Disability Inclusive Employer Self-Assessment

    With the labour market as it is, now is the perfect time for all to focus on our diversity inclusion goals to help fill some empty positions. Open Door Group (ASPECT member) and the Presidents Group have created a self-assessment tool for employers to help them reach their diversity inclusion goals. The self-assessment takes about 15 minutes to complete and covers leading practices in a dozen categories, including Mental Health, Disability Representation, Employee Benefits, Recruitment and Digital Accessibility.

    I am so impressed with this tool that ASPECT will host a webinar on September 14 to walk through the assessment tool, learn how to use it for your organization, and help your employers recognize an underrepresented workforce. Register now for the webinar.

    Imagine Canada Tools & Resources

    Another ASPECT member, Imagine Canada, has released some really helpful tools for the sector. If you are developing HR policies and don't want to start from scratch, they have helped develop starter templates for everything you need. It's a good way to identify gaps you might have in your existing policies.

    Also, I love a good organization template; this grant management application template is fabulous. Download it into your own google drive and start customizing it. This template will help you fill gaps in tracking your annual procurement plans as it functions both as a project management and team communication tool.

    Janet Morris-Reade

  • 10 June 2022 11:16 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    For the last 2.5 days, I was in Richmond with the ASPECT board of directors discussing the association's strategic plan and the present and future employment programs in BC. We discussed at length issues of JEDI (justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion) and ways that we can advocate to remove barriers for all to access employment services. 

    At the heart of all these discussions are the clients our members serve, which is the driving force we also have in common with our sector funders. Our meeting notes are in the process of being put together, and once ready, we will share them with you all. In the meantime, I wanted to use this opportunity to remind you of our vision and mission, which is at the centre of everything we do and especially evident at our meetings.


    The Vision of ASPECT is that all people have access to quality community-based workforce development services that support their opportunity to achieve a meaningful and sustainable livelihood.


    ASPECT provides leadership, education, advocacy and public awareness in support of its members who provide community-based workforce development services.

    I think you can all be proud of the ASPECT volunteer board of directors for their work over the past few days. They came prepared to work and stayed engaged throughout. They didn't retreat from difficult discussions, made space for everyone's opinions, and brought innovative ideas to the table. Thanks also to John Kay at Realize Strategies for helping us through the process. Yes, we are all exhausted, and it may take a couple of days for me to recover, but I am happy to say it's a good tired and not a bad tired. 

    Janet Morris-Reade, CEO

  • 03 June 2022 11:29 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This year, someone very close to me came out. It was no surprise, and quite frankly, I still wonder why it took so long, but it's made me realize that even in the most accepting situations, those of the LBGTQ2+ communities can face so much fear. It made me wonder about employment and the barriers I thought didn't exist but still do. 

    ASPECT advocates for equity-seeking groups through our efforts to make workplaces more inclusive for those with disabilities (e.g., Youth with Disabilities Employment Strategy NetworkInclusion BCCanadian Association of Supported EmploymentBC CEO Network), Youth (e.g., Canadian Council for Youth ProsperityFirst Work), newcomers/immigrants (AMSSA), and Indigenous populations (e.g., Social Services Sector Roundtable Reference GroupAboriginal Essential Skills Guiding Team). I'm always looking at what's missing, and it is now clear that I am missing formal and informal relationships with equity, diversity, and inclusion groups. I've taken a ton of training in this area, but the voices of these groups are not in my advocacy actions.


    That is going to change now, and I need your help. Please let me know if you know of employment-related advocacy organizations that work specifically with equity, diversity, and inclusion populations. Pride month reminds me that there is still a lot of work to be done at ASPECT on your and your clients' behalf.


    A story of exclusion hit close to home recently. A friend of my daughters has worked at a coffee bar located in a hospital and has loved doing so for almost four years. They will be starting their hormone transition soon, and the new manager has fired them because they no longer fit the coffee bar's "business model." I can read between the lines and am outraged that this practice still exists and shocked by my own naivit√©. Pride month and Pride season is an excellent opportunity for us to take a deeper dive into the challenges and find out how to be a better ally


    For those who may be interested in our advocacy connections and relationships, I have updated the ASPECT Advocacy & Relationship map on our website. 

    Janet Morris-Reade, CEO

  • 20 May 2022 12:47 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Yesterday I was in Richmond for my first in-person meeting since the pandemic doing advocacy work on your behalf. It was a meeting of the Social Services Sector Roundtable Reference Group, which brought together leaders in social service umbrella organizations throughout BC. Not everyone in this group was able to meet with us in person, but those who were there represented hundreds of years of experience working as advocates on behalf of their communities. It was moving to hear their stories, share successes, and figure out our next steps together. 

    For those of you who may not remember, the Social Services Sector Roundtable (SSSRT) was formed in May 2019 by the former Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, Hon. Shane Simpson. It brings together seven BC government ministries and organizations and nine social service sector umbrella groups. The Reference Group has an additional thirty or so members, of which ASPECT is a member.

    As the SSSRT moves out of pandemic emergency mode, the focus is retackling the province's wicked problems associated with social services. The advisory group has identified three themes of focus: implementing Reconciliation for social services; recruitment and retention of staff within the sector; and issues related to social services procurement. I am eagerly awaiting to see how all our notes are processed and parsed and will share them with you all when they are ready. In the meantime, here is a treasure I picked up that could provide you with support for your current staffing needs or the needs of the labour market in your community.

    Sherry Baker, Executive Director of the BC Association of Community Response Networks, talked about how seniors are often an untapped resource. Many are looking to volunteer, work part-time, or on contract but need flexibility.

    I agreed because just earlier that morning, I was meeting with my Canadian Coalition of Community-Based Employability Training (CCCBET) colleagues with a program manager from Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC). Norma Strachan, who used to do my job before me and has over 20 years of working in the sector, was also on the call. She volunteers her time on the CCCBET board. We tried to explain to our ESDC colleague how sector funding going directly to employer groups is not always the best way to fund programs as employer groups don't always have the skills and competencies to design programs for themselves or manage government contracts. However, the community-based service providers can see the entire workforce development landscape and quickly and inexpensively determine training and skills development pipelines in partnership with employer groups. Our ESDC colleague understood, but not entirely until Norma stepped in and provided a historical context of the work and its effectiveness. She eloquently summed up the points we were trying to make in less than a minute. It was a true rock star move, and at that moment, I realized how less effective we would have been without Norma on the call. 

    My point is that while we are in the middle of one of the most dynamic labour markets for our sector, there are many experienced people who may be happy to share their knowledge and expertise post-career. We only need to reach out to them. Thank you again to Norma, who contributed to the sector and continues to do so. 

    By the way, at our SSSRT Reference Group meeting, two people shared that they are in their 80s and a couple others are also "retired" are leading their organizations. Their contributions of the day were outstanding, as is their continued leadership. I wonder if we would be busily reinventing the wheel if we did not have them in the room with us.
     Janet Morris-Reade

  • 13 May 2022 8:45 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    A lot is going on, not only here at ASPECT but also in the sector at large. It's weeks like this when using an electronic calendar is an asset.

    In our Aspectives News, you'll see a listing of the member meetings, consultations, and professional development opportunities ahead. I wanted to draw your attention to a few of them.


    CERIC is undertaking a survey to investigate professional development in the career development sector. Part market research and part identifying gaps in much-needed training, this survey will help inform CERIC in their future offerings. Take the survey.

    One such future offering builds on CERIC's research Career Development in the Canadian Workplace: National Business Survey. The results were released in January of this year, and this last week, we had two excellent webinars helping us unpack the results. Watch the recordings. Kudos to Dr. Candy Ho of the University of the Fraser Valley for doing a fantastic job moderating both webinars. 

    Next, we will meet provincially and virtually as a community of practice on June 7th to discuss how we can collectively meet businesses' needs. This is a "cameras-on" session limited to 100 people. Reserve your spot here. The goal is to create a suite of resources and best practices for career developers.


    Later today, ASPECT is partnering with the BC Career Development Association to host a consultation about the potential Career Development Professional Institute from the Canadian Career Development Foundation (CCDF). This is exciting as the CCDF was approached by the Future Skills Centre for a project proposal meaning possible angel funding. The consultations across Canada end today. If you can't join us this afternoon, there's still time to complete the online survey. In the meantime, check out their microsite and join the community of practice now.

    I know that this is a lot of information to process, especially when many of you are busy ramping up your spring workshops and services. Rest assured that ASPECT will endeavour to be on top of the latest national developments and news to share with you. 

    Janet Morris-Reade, CEO

  • 29 April 2022 10:41 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The early results of our stakeholder analysis show that advocacy is the number one reason why member organizations join ASPECT and renew their membership every year. As you may know, advocacy takes a ton of work and expertise to represent the collective voice of all our members. One paramount message in all our work is to remind funders, and anyone else who will listen, that our employment service providers are the experts. Employment service providers can quickly see the gaps in client services, have connections to local employers and their needs, and spot flawed policies quicker than ever.

    By all accounts, we are heading into another round of RFPs this summer over the next 12-24 months. The feedback from the experts on the ground, i.e., you, is critical to inform future funding programs and policies. That's why we are excited to offer multiple opportunities to get together virtually to have you share your thoughts.


    Our ASPECT events page, you will see that we have a lot going on in May, and I understand that what we are asking of you requires a time commitment away from your day job. Getting this right is crucial if we are to advocate for our clients, local employers, and our communities. We have information that cannot be gleaned from analyzing data collection or individual reports. Getting together to discuss some of these topics will allow us to form a collective voice, support each other, and maybe build new relationships within our community of practice.

    Janet Morris-Reade, CEO

  • 22 April 2022 1:03 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This week ASPECT held its Annual General Meeting virtually and picked up two brand new board members. Please help me welcome our new board members:

    Katt Britton
    Kootenay Career Development Society
    Senior Manager, Employment Programs and Procurement

    Katt has worked in the sector for the last 20+ years in rural and remote communities and has a deep understanding of employment services in BC. During this time, she has amassed a variety of skills that she can contribute to the work at ASPECT. 

    Kirsty Peterson
    YMCA of Greater Vancouver
    Director, Employment and Immigrant Services
    Community Operations

    Kirsty has more than 10 years of experience in board and committee leadership within the Employment Services Sector and in other advocacy organizations. She is joining the ASPECT board because she wishes to contribute to the sector at large.

    Thank you to our current board members and to Kim Lauritsen (Community Futures North Okanagan) and Lori Forgeron (Workforce Development Consulting North) for volunteering to serve for another 2 years. 

    ASPECT is currently undertaking a stakeholder analysis that will inform our strategic planning process in June this year. 

    Janet Morris-Reade
  • 01 April 2022 11:52 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    I can't remember when I have been so busy with ASPECT's advocacy work, which I think is a result of today's dynamic labour market. It's exhilarating, providing opportunities to inform policy and funding as we move into a post-pandemic world.

    The CERIC request for proposals for a market analysis of career development across Canada helped me identify a gap in BC that ASPECT is quickly filling. The provincial organizations aren't talking to each other enough even though we experience many of the same fundamental challenges and may be doing similar work.

    ASPECT has membership in or worked with other organizations such as the  BC Career Development Association, the Career Education SocietyBC Prior Learning Network, and Affiliation of Multicultural Societies and Service Agencies of BC. However, we don't always know what the other organizations are doing and are, in many cases, doing the same work. Funding streams spread out amongst various ministries and levels of government have created silos. For research projects like CERIC's and other advocacy outreach to be successful, we need to support each other actively. 

    ASPECT will host regular "show & tell" meetings where provincial organizations share our successes, challenges, and projects. This way, when the government needs help or a research project needs to access the experts in employment and pre-employment services; we'll be able to connect each other to experts on the ground working with the clients and employers and providing community-based labour market information.

    Rest assured that while you may not see the results right away, ASPECT is madly working in the background on your behalf. Advocacy is about building understanding, collaborating with others, and ultimately supporting the clients we serve.


    Janet Morris-Reade, CEO
  • 04 March 2022 11:10 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Sharon Ferriss from CERIC asked me to promote Wayfinder, their new reflective practice resources tool to enhance Career Development within Experiential Learning, so I thought I would try it out. All I can say is, "Wow!"

    You can access so many resources at a click by searching by your role -- post-secondary staff or faculty, designer or developer, event or workshop facilitator, employer, community organization, K-12 teacher or counsellor, student or learner -- and then filtering your search by resource categories: tool, network, concept, or catalogue. 

    Funded by CERIC and developed by OneLifeTools, Wayfinder is a valuable portal that is a tool like I have never seen before. On April 8th, CERIC will be hosting a free launch event where OneLifeTools co-founders Mark Franklin (University of Toronto) and Rich Feller (Colorado State University) will walk through the tool and show how experiential learning can be integrated into your practice.

    Kudos to the CERIC team for producing this product.

    Janet Morris-Reade

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