25 Aug Further Education Society of Alberta wins top spot in the Canada Life Literacy Innovation Award
ABC Life Literacy Canada is pleased to announce the top and honourable mention winners of the 2022 Canada Life Literacy Innovation Award (LIA). The annual award recognizes organizations that develop and implement innovative adult literacy skills programs in communities across Canada.
The LIA top award will be given to Further Education Society of Alberta along with $20,000, which the organization can use towards future programming. In addition to the top winner, two honourable mention winners will each receive $10,000.
Each of the winners have demonstrated that their program has made a positive contribution to the lives of their adult learners as well as the community, and also serves as a model for other organizations to adapt.
“With so many fantastic submissions this year it was difficult to choose just three winners, but these programs were so impressive in terms of not only their creativity and innovation, but also their impact on Canadians’ literacy levels,” says Alison Howard, Executive Director of ABC Life Literacy Canada. “We are thankful to Canada Life for their support of this award, which ultimately helps build capacity in the literacy and learning field.”
Since its inception in 2012, 53 LIAs have been awarded to literacy organizations across the country (11 top awards and 42 honourable mention awards), representing $440,000 in funding for the field.
“At Canada Life we recognize the need for community programs that focus on implementing innovations in advancing literacy,” said Debbie Down, Director, Community Relations at Canada Life. “We’re proud to work alongside ABC Life Literacy Canada to recognize organizations supporting diverse communities by finding tailored ways to improve adult literacy skills. Congratulations to Further Education Society of Alberta and both of the honourable mention winners.”
Further Education Society of Alberta will be presented the LIA in October during a virtual event. The award presentation followed by a moderated discussion will showcase all 2022 LIA winners as models for best practice in the literacy sector. Register for the virtual event.
TOP WINNER, receiving $20,000
Further Education Society of Alberta (FESA), Calgary, AB
Program: Cooks with Stones
Cooks with Stones (CwS) celebrates the unique, traditional teachings of the Iyarhe Nakoda Eyithkabi, which means Mountain people of Nakoda (also known as Stoney Nakodo). The program builds literacy skills and supports meaningful job placements with any employer partner through traditional Stoney Skills and teachings and demonstrates how they relate to workplace success. CwS was created with the community as part of FESA’s Going the Distance Project to address the under representation of Indigenous populations in the labour force by supporting businesses in Tourism and Hospitality.
CwS builds the capacity of employer partners to recruit, mentor and retain Indigenous employees by building their cultural competencies, their understanding of mentorship, Indigenous culture in relation to the workplace, and of the role of literacy and essential skills (LES) in the workplace. The program is a collaborative effort to remove barriers to employment for Stoney youth and creates opportunities for employment in the Hospitality and Tourism sector in the Stoney region. Through CwS, participants not only improve their literacy and essential skills, but they also start with a foundation of Stoney culture, traditions, history, and learning from the land, and then are shown how their skills are transferrable to a non-Indigenous workplace.
HONOURABLE MENTIONS, receiving $10,000 each
Pinnguaq Association, Iqaluit, NU
Program: Inclusive Futures: Skilled Workforce Development in Nunavut
Inclusive Futures: Skilled Workforce Development in Nunavut is a digital literacy program that focuses on employment and essential skills training for unemployed adults living in remote communities in Nunavut. The majority of their learners are Inuit with low digital literacy skills and/or who have faced barriers to accessing technology. As part of the program, each learner is provided with a laptop, which they keep, as well as internet connectivity.
The program is structured in two parts. The first part of the program is a 4-day workshop on foundational digital literacy skills and includes drop-in sessions. Some learners use the program to help write resumes and cover letters while others tackle more challenging skills such as learning how to code. Part two of the program involves ongoing support and learning through Pinnguaq’s online self-directed learning platform. This learning platform is free and includes over 400 learning resources for participants to access covering topics on technology and digital literacy, essential skills, financial literacy, employability skills, life management, and employment readiness.
Stella’s Circle Community Services, St. John’s, NL
Program: Stella’s Circle Adult Basic Education Level 1 (ABE)
Stella’s Circle Adult Basic Education Level 1 (ABE) is an employment program for learners in need of basic adult education. Many of their learners come to the program with physical and mental health challenges, are struggling with addictions and/or poverty, and have experience with the justice system. In response to these many barriers to employment, ABE uses a holistic approach to support its learners.
In addition to in-class employment training, participants can choose to work in one of the three operations that the program offers; a restaurant, a cleaning service, and a home repair business. Participants are able to use the skills that they have learned in the classroom and apply it to their work as well as learn skills to help them gain and maintain any future employment. The goal of the program is to tie learning to meaningful, real-life outcomes that improve the lives of the participants.