Despite increased employment potential in the Maritimes, low-income individuals continue to be disproportionately affected by high unemployment rates. The AspireAtlantic project is a sector-based training model that has the potential to enhance the employment, career advancement and earnings of job seekers.

In May 2021, the Future Skills Centre announced an investment of $3.59 million to expand the AspireAtlantic project, which aims to bridge the gap between the needs of employers and workers seeking to advance from unemployment or low-wage jobs into middle-skilled jobs with advancement opportunities. This follows $230,000 in seed funding announced in June 2020 to assess the needs of job seekers and employers for the design and planning of the model. This additional investment will enable 150 participants to complete the program and gain specific credentials that support employment, job retention career advancement, and a stable income. Simultaneously, employers will benefit from the increase in quality candidates trained for available jobs as well as higher retention of employees. 

This program is a collaboration between three service providers in Nova Scotia focusing on three sectors: construction, home building/renovation and manufacturing. Recruitment for the program is scheduled to start in September 2021 and each participant will receive 18 months of individual advancement coaching. 

AspireAtlantic builds on the strengths of Nova Scotia’s employment services and is based on a US evidence-based sectoral training program called WorkAdvance. This approach identifies local sector demand and works with employers to develop skills training and job placements.  

The AspireAtlantic program is delivered through a collaboration between service provider organizations (SPOs) and sector councils or industry associations. It is supported by a technical assistance team led by Pier Labs.

The program includes intensive pre-screening of participants, sector-specific occupational skills training, supports for job development, and post-employment retention and advancement services. This initiative puts a strong emphasis on post-employment services and a focus on upward mobility for workers, moving them from unemployed or low-wage earners into middle- skill level jobs with more opportunities for advancement.

Evaluation Strategy

This project will be evaluated using tools and approaches aligned with its goals, context, and stage of development. The evaluation will focus on generating the right evidence at the right moment to move the intervention forward. Read more about our evaluation strategy.

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