Role of an employment service
The following information is taken from a document entitled “Employment Service Program Guidelines” which is provided to employment service providers under contract with the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities.
Employment Services in Ontario offer a range of resources, supports and services to respond to the career and employment needs of individuals and the skilled labour needs of employers. The goal of the Employment Service is to help Ontarians find sustainable employment.
The five components of the Employment Service are:
- Client Service Planning and Coordination;
- Resource and Information on local training and employment opportunities, community service supports, occupational and training requirements, and resources to support independent or “unassisted” job searches. Also helps individuals in career clarification and planning, and with informed decisions on education, training, and employment.
- Job Search;
- Job Matching, Placement and Incentives; and
- Job/Training Retention.
The eligibility criteria for access to any of the last three service components are that the individual is unemployed and not participating in full time training or education. For the purpose of the Employment Service, an individual who is working less than an average of 20 hours per week is considered to be “unemployed”; an individual is considered to be in full time training or education based on the definition supplied by the institution in which they are enrolled.
Obligations of employment service providers
Every Employment Service provider in Ontario must provide its clients with information on and referrals to all Employment Ontario employment and training programs and services, whether or not the service provider is contracted to deliver that program or service. Each must:
- have a process in place to identify each customer’s information and referral needs in an efficient and effective way;
- make information accessible to the customer, in print, over the phone and/or electronically, about all Employment Ontario services;
- ensure customers receive accurate and current information on the Employment Ontario services relevant to their needs;
- help customers understand their program and service options from across the Employment Ontario network; and
- match customers with the service and provider that best meet their needs in the fewest possible steps, even if this means referring them to another provider when the referring provider also delivers the service;
Assessment of individual needs
In assessing an individual’s need, all Employment Service providers must consider the following criteria when making decisions about service components to help clients achieve their desired outcomes:
- Demographics – includes basic information about the individual, including gender, age, employment status, disabilities, source of income
- Education – includes level of education attained; consideration of education or credentials from outside of Canada or credentials not recognized in Ontario Performance
- Indicators – includes characteristics of individuals which prevent them from performing as required on the job.
- Interpersonal Skills – includes difficulties in maintaining positive relationships with employers and/or work peers.
- Market Perceptions – includes characteristics which lead potential employers to form negative biases or perceptions about the individual and their ability to perform on the job and may include substantial time out of school, work or training.
- Motivation – includes willingness and ability to begin employment; attitudes which prevent clients from initiating the job search, or participating fully in the activities required to secure and maintain employment.
- Employment Expectations – includes the need for assistance in clarifying the individual’s job preferences, or their understanding of how their skills meet opportunities in the job market.
- Self-Marketing – includes the ability of clients to successfully present themselves to employers in the competitive or hidden job markets.
- Stability Issues – includes lifestyle patterns, personal situations, or self management issues that may impede the ability of the client to initiate a successful job search and remain employed.
Based on this information, the service provider will identify and decide if the Employment Service is appropriate, and whether assisted or unassisted Employment Service will most benefit the client.
Development of an employment service plan for each individual
If assisted services are deemed to be the most appropriate response, the service provider works with the client to develop an Employment Service Plan. Over time, as the client begins to work with the service provider and more in-depth analysis and assessment is undertaken, additional service needs may be identified and provided by the service provider or coordinated with other service providers.
An effective Employment Service Plan will incorporate (as appropriate) concurrent or sequential access to the Employment Service assisted service components and will incorporate required changes as well as new opportunities as they arise. The service provider will also ensure continued support for access to other required services and programs, i.e. literacy, ESL/FSL, settlement services or any other services that support the client employability and resolve possible stability issues.
The service provider monitors and evaluates progress and adjusts the plan accordingly.
Employment Service Plans must:
- note clear achievable goals
- build on or match skills, interests and needs identified by employer or in relation to labour market information;
- identify steps to reach the goals and methods for monitoring progress;
- show evidence of personal ownership, (i.e. sign-off, record of discussions, use of self-assessment tools);
- indicate supports are in place for job search or training/education;
- indicate ongoing monitoring, and show that supports are in place as needed;
- be updated as steps are accomplished, skills or knowledge are acquired, or new information is acquired through such activities as volunteer placements or job test and hire.
In addition to the suitability indicators, service providers will need to consider additional client information and characteristics to determine the type of service components that will have the greatest positive impact on the client.