To enhance workforce and literacy services in our community by coordinating the planning, research, and innovation among our partners.
Who we are
Simcoe/Muskoka Skillforce is a non-profit, charitable organization that operates with a volunteer Board of Directors comprised of representatives from a variety of community stakeholders.
Simcoe/Muskoka Skillforce is the first organization in Ontario to amalgamate the functions of a Regional Literacy Network and a Local Workforce Development Board. Both departments are funded mainly by the Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development (MLITSD) through Employment Ontario (EO), Ontario’s employment and training network.
Simcoe/Muskoka Skillforce is one of 16 Regional Literacy Networks established throughout Ontario. These literacy networks have similar roles in their own geographical areas and are part of a system of support organizations for the Literacy and Basic Skills Program (LBS) of MLITSD. Simcoe/Muskoka Skillforce supports the staff, volunteers, and, indirectly, adult learners at 20 different Literacy and Basic Skills (LBS) locations operated by 10 agencies in our geographical region. These adult upgrading programs represent Anglophone and Francophone agencies in three main sectors in our community: school board, community-based, and college. The programs offer a full range of skills upgrading in communication (reading, writing, speaking), numeracy, digital literacy, critical thinking, problem solving and other essential everyday and employability skills. We work closely with other agencies that are part of Employment Ontario, to ensure that students in upgrading programs are linked with the other training and employment services and information they may need. We also link with community and social service agencies, and employers whose employees or clients may want literacy and essential skills upgrading.
Simcoe/Muskoka Skillforce is one of 26 Local Boards established in Ontario. Also called Workforce Planning Boards, they are funded through Employment Ontario to gather information about the supply of labour and the demand side of the local labour market by working with employers to identify and meet their current and emerging skills needs. The primary role of Workforce Planning Boards is to help improve understanding of and co-ordinate community responses to labour market issues and needs.
Simcoe/Muskoka Skillforce also provides direct services to individuals, employers and organizations throughout the region, including literacy and essential skills orientation/awareness, Soft Skills Solutions© facilitator training, the Foundational Assessment for Skilled Trades (FAST), clear language services (workshops, document consultations and re-writes) and Essential Skills Assessments. Some of the services we provide are fee-based.
How do we do this?
The following are some of the activities we do to support these services:
- Act as a communication hub to enhance communication among literacy delivery agencies, MLITSD, Employment Ontario (EO) partners and other community partners in the region and the rest of the province.
- Work with service delivery agencies and stakeholders to provide a regional information and referral strategy that includes referral into and out of LBS, and provide regional referral and information as necessary.
- Distribute, promote and discuss research, resources and professional development opportunities related to adult upgrading/literacy, sometimes hosting professional development for literacy practitioners (paid and volunteer)
- Educate the public and other key stakeholders at the regional level on the nature and extent of literacy needs of adults and youth in Ontario
- Co-ordinate and manage literacy development projects on behalf of the region
- Providing the community with high quality local labour market information for planning, to identify and propose strategies to address key labour market issues .
- Developing and enhancing partnership projects to address local labour market issues, such as local skills misalignments and workforce development challenges, collaborating with employers, service providers, educational institutions, industry/labour organizations, governments and other stakeholders, as required.
- Raising awareness of and promoting use of labour market programs and services.
- Facilitating local service planning and co-ordination by interpreting local labour market information to help with decision making.
- Linking employers, service providers and other ministries/levels of government and broader support agencies to enhance wrap-around services for job seekers and other clients.