Employment & Training Programs and Services

Published Date: August 01, 2011
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Workforce Partnerships

Workforce Attraction and Retention Partnerships

AUTHORITY

Building and Educating Tomorrow’s Workforce
Employment & Immigration Grant Regulation

PURPOSE AND PRINCIPLES

Purpose

Workforce Attraction and Retention Partnerships is a program element under the Workforce Partnerships Program. The purpose of the element is to assist employers and employer associations take timely and direct action to attract and retain workers.

The objectives of the Workforce Attraction and Retention Partnerships program are to:

  • Develop, test and share innovative approaches to labour market issues.
  • Support small and medium sized employers with information and networking opportunities in order to maximize the performance of their workforce.
  • Facilitate the action required to respond to specific attraction and retention issues.
  • Address unique labour market issues, including workforce adjustment activities, where established Alberta Human Services programs and services do not allow for a timely response.

Principles

Key principles that govern the design and implementation of this program are:

  • Responsiveness – Program activities will be timely and respond to employer and regional labour market needs.
  • Simplicity and Ease of Access – Program access will be straightforward, simple to understand and simple to undertake.
  • Adding Value – Program activities will address workforce issues, build on current activity and leave a legacy that benefits the broader labour market. Activities that have been successful will be shared with others who can benefit from the experience/knowledge.
  • Partnership – Effective program activity is dependent upon government and employers working together in partnership to address skill and labour shortages.

POLICY

Eligible Projects

Workforce Attraction and Retention Partnerships must support attraction and retention activities that:

  • Connect employers and employer associations to current knowledge and resources that will support the attraction and retention of workers.
  • Promote information sharing about effective practices within the employer community (for example, career fairs, conferences and effective practice forums).
  • Pilot test and/or apply tools, techniques and processes that assist in the attraction and retention of workers (for example, job counselling and retention supports to employers of under represented group members).

The range of projects possible through the Workforce Attraction and Retention Partnerships will vary, but projects are intended to:

  • Be project-based. Projects will be finite and specific.
  • Involve collaboration among Human Services, employers and other stakeholders to design and implement projects that respond to the changing and pressing skill requirements of employers.
  • Support activities that are variable in duration, scope and approach. 
  • Clearly state the purpose and outcomes of each project.

It is not the intent of this program to give an employer an unfair advantage over competitors. Human Services will assess whether or not an investment by government is required and appropriate.

If projects are multi-year in length, a multi-year agreement will be required. Multi-year agreements will be subject to an annual review and dependent upon the availability of budget resources.

Workforce Attraction and Retention Partnerships is to be used when established Human Services programs and services do not allow for a timely response. This program is not designed as a research and development initiative. The Labour Market Partnerships program should be used when research and development is the primary focus of a project. This program is also not designed as a training resource for literacy or essential skills. A proposed Workforce Partnerships element is intended to serve this function and is currently under development.

Performance Measures/Standards

Program Outcomes

The expected outcomes for the Workforce Attraction and Retention Partnerships program are:

  • Increase the capacity of employers and employer associations to attract and retain workers.
  • Increase employer and employer associations’ awareness of current information and effective practices that support successful attraction and retention strategies.
  • Increase the ability of employer and employer associations to anticipate and manage workforce attraction and retention challenges.

Human Services will measure the success of all projects based on both qualitative and quantitative results. Short-term and long-term measures will be identified and discussed with employers and employer associations prior to project commencement.

Note
Although it is expected that Alberta workers may benefit from this program, the program is directed at employers and employer associations in order to increase their investment in attraction and retention strategies.

Monitoring the Program

Human Services’s Community Strategies and Workforce Supports Division and Employment Services Delivery Division are jointly responsible for monitoring the Workforce Attraction and Retention Partnerships to ensure local practices are consistent with Human Services legislation and policies.

Human Services’s Community Stratgies and Workforce Supports Division will monitor Workforce Attraction and Retention Partnerships to:

  • Review provincial program results to determine if Human Services business plan objectives are met,
  • Review any issues or concerns in provincial program policies, in consultation with the Employment Service Delivery Division and Corporate Services Division, and
  • Make adjustment to programs as required.

Program Evaluation

Provincial program level evaluation will be carried out in partnership with Human Services’s Community Strategies and Workforce Supports Division and Corporate Services Division. Local project evaluation will be carried out in accordance with Human Services's standard procedures for grants and/or contracts.

A formal review of the Workforce Atrraction and Retention Partnerships (ARP) program is planned for the 2010/2011 fiscal year, with an evaluation to determine success and continuation of the ARP program.

Eligible Partners

Small and medium size profit and non-profit employers (typically less than 100 employees), employer associations and other employers who do not have the capacity to act successfully on their own to address workforce issues are eligible for assistance under this program.

Collaborative partnerships may be formed between partners including:

  • Profit businesses (primarily small and medium sized enterprises of less than 100 employees),
  • Non-profit organizations or social agencies,
  • Industry associations/employer organizations,
  • Employee organizations,
  • Health and education providers (public and private),
  • Local planning groups/community action groups,
  • Charitable foundations,
  • First Nations organizations,
  • Métis organizations.

Employers may have offices outside of Alberta. However the program outcomes must benefit employers and employer organizations within Alberta.

Program Roles and Responsibilities

Human Services’s role is to:

  • Develop program and partnership parameters,
  • Work with eligible partners to adjust project and partnership parameters as required,
  • Support and advise projects,
  • Monitor projects.

The Partner’s role is to:

  • Develop the project and partnership(s),
  • Link the project to the organizations’ priorities and business plan,
  • Work with Human Services and other partners to make adjustments to the projects and partnerships as required,
  • Undertake/execute the project,
  • Evaluate the project,
  • Meet all conditions of the conditional grant with Human Services.

Duration

The Workforce Attraction and Retention Partnerships program projects are finite. Commitments with respect to funding and support must be clearly identified. If a project activity will need to be sustained after project completion, it is suggested that a sustainability strategy be developed. Human Services’s role is not to provide on-going funding to the employer/employer association for workforce development.

PROCEDURE

Delivery Methods

Human Services and/or the employer/employer association can initiate discussion of a Workforce Attraction and Retention Partnerships project. There are three key steps to the program.

  1. Confirmation of Project Purpose and Intent

    • Through discussion, Human Services and the employer/employer association will determine if the employer/employer association’s workforce development need is in keeping with the purpose and scope of the Workforce Attraction and Retention Partnerships program.

  2. Project Design

    • If the area of need fits within the scope of the program, then the parameters for the project, project partners and roles and responsibilities will be identified.
    • Establishing a partnership is a critical requirement of this program. Participating employers/ employer associations must contribute financially and/or in kind.
    • Partners are organizations that recognize that there is a workforce issue, want to solve it, and are willing to work together to address the issue. Human Services is considered to be one of the partners. Under this program, a partnership is when two or more parties come together to realize the purpose of the program.
    • A written proposal from interested partners should be submitted to Human Services and clearly outline the following:

      1. Project Purpose/Objective
      2. Project Outcomes
      3. A list of all project partners with roles and responsibilities identified
      4. Total cost of the project including the funding amount from Human Services (if applicable)
      5. A break down of each partner’s contribution to the project (financial and in-kind)
      6. Project Duration
      7. Detailed information on how the project will sustain itself and not be reliant on future Human Services funding for success

  3. Funding Arrangements/Partnership Commitment

    • If Human Services is providing funding, a formal funding arrangement will be required that adheres to the policies for Contracts/Conditional Grants as outlined in the Human Services Contracts and Grants Policy Manual.
    • If funding is not required, a partnership a commitment statement will be developed and signed by all parties. The partnership commitment is simply designed to ensure common understanding of the project purpose, partnership roles and expected results.
    • Each region will determine how to best allocate their budget. No provincial minimum or maximum contribution has been identified for this program.
    • Human Services will not fund capital purchases.

      Note
      A Checklist that identifies program criteria, the information required for the design of a project and the funding-partnership requirements is included in Appendix A to support this process.

The Appeal Process

In the event that an interested party has a complaint with the conditional grant process, they may request a meeting with local management to discuss program eligibility criteria.

Appendix A – Application Checklist
Summary of Workforce Attraction and Retention Partnerships
Project Selection Criteria1

Conditional Grant Applicant:
Grant Requested:
Application Date:

ARP PROJECT MUST MEET THE FOLLOWING CRITERIA:

CRITERIA MET?

Yes No2
Written Proposal A detailed and written project summary has been prepared and submitted to Human Services.    
Purpose/Objectives The purpose and objectives of the project are clearly outlined and the project is consistent with the Principles and Purpose of the ARP program.    
Eligible Projects The proposed project must support attraction and retention activities that fall under one or more of the following areas:
  • Connect employers and employer associations to current knowledge and resources that will support the attraction and retention of workers.
     
  • Promote information sharing about effective practices within the employer community (for example, career fairs, conferences and effective practice forums).
     
  • Pilot test and/or apply tools, techniques and processes that assist in the attraction and retention of workers (for example, job counselling and retention supports to employers of under represented group members).
   
Outcomes The outcomes of the project are clearly stated and upon completion the project will produce one or more of the following results:
  • Increase the capacity of employers and employer associations to attract and retain workers.
     
  • Increase employer and employer associations’ awareness of current information and effective practices that support successful attraction and retention strategies.
     
  • Increase the ability of employer and employer associations to anticipate and manage workforce attraction and retention challenges.
   
Eligible Partners The employer/association is an eligible partner as described in the ARP Program Guidelines. The employer/association has demonstrated they have the knowledge; skills and abilities to successfully execute the project. A list of all partners is provided and roles and responsibilities identified.    
Project Cost The total costs for the project are clearly outlined. A breakdown of the requested contribution from Human Services as well as the financial and/or in kind contributions made by all partners is identified.    
Duration and Sustainability The timeframe for the project is finite and clearly stated. The project can be completed in this timeframe and is not dependent upon future funding.    
Project Need A Departmental assessment of the need for and priority of the project has been completed and there is a demonstrated need for government investment. This means that the project supports eligible partners to respond to specific attraction and retention issues and the project is in keeping with Regional and local priorities.    

1 Human Servces staff are required to ensure the criteria of the ARP program are fulfilled prior to entering into a contract or providing grant funding. This checklist is to filled out by Human Services staff and placed on the internal Human Servces working file.

2 If it is determined that a criterion is not met, the project will be rejected under the ARP program and/or Human Services and eligible partners may discuss project alterations for program support.

Appendix A – Continued Application Checklist
Summary of Workforce Attraction and Retention Partnerships
Project Selection Criteria

ARP PROJECTS MUST NOT:

CRITERIA MET?

Yes No
Create a long-term funding dependency    
Cover costs that are ongoing and the regular responsibility of the employer/association or that give the employer/association an unfair advantage over competitors    
Provide ongoing workforce development    
Duplicate and/or replace programs or services already provided by Human Services    
Provide funding to cover training for literacy or essential skills    
Support research and development initiatives    
Provide funding to cover capital expenditures    

COMPLETENESS OF APPLICATION Yes No Comment
Is the ARP Proposal attached?      
Does the ARP Proposal meet all mandatory criteria?      
Is the Application for Grant form complete and properly filled out?      
Is the full legal name of the applicant on the Application for Grant ?      
Is the total grant amount included on the Application for Grant form?      
Are the minimum reporting requirements included on the Application for Grant form?      
Has the Application for Grant form been signed by the authorized signing authority for the applicant?      
Has the budget officer reviewed the coding on the conditional grant and confirmed available budget?      
Has the Application for Grant form been signed by the delegated Human Services signing authorities?