Heather McMillan accepted into the Metcalf Foundation

Heather McMillan, executive director DWA.

DURHAM — As the executive director of the Durham Workforce Authority, Heather McMillan works daily at advancing sector-based workforce development policy, services and training.

In short, she studies the skills employers seek from employees and helps bridge the skills displaced workers need in order to find new jobs. Given the changing needs of employers and the numbers of unemployed in Durham Region it’s a job that keeps her busy.

“Moving the labour market forward it is a priority of the DWA and finding effective strategies for people to maintain an attachment to the labour market is important for me,” McMillan said.

McMillan’s work recently caught the attention of the Metcalf Foundation as she was one of 25 people accepted into the inaugural Toronto Sector Skills Academy. The foundation, in partnership with Aspen Institute’s Economic Opportunities Program and with support from The Counselling Foundation of Canada and CERIC announced the inaugural cohort Oct. 1.

“I am absolutely thrilled to be chosen, this means that the DWA’s work will be enhanced through this fellowship,” McMillan said. “The work we do is a natural fit with Metcalf’s mandate.  The fellowship will focus on career ladder projects and the DWA worked in partnership with the Literacy Network of Durham Region to research a project here.”

This leadership program is the first of its kind in Canada. it’s a 10 month learning and leadership program. for senior professionals who advance sector-based workforce development policy, services, and training in the Toronto region. Each cohort will work with peers from a variety of organizations to learn from experts, strengthen partnerships, engage in experiential learning with practical applications, and acquire new skills to explore, catalyze, and enable sectoral workforce strategies.

McMillan will be working on a career ladder project that will seek to provide micro credentials to provide literacy, numeracy and post secondary level training recognized by employers.  Her focus will be employer engagement in the multi modal sector, a priority economic sector identified by the Region of Durham Economic Development Department.  She will be working with a committee of employers, educators from both secondary and post secondary, Employment Ontario Service Providers, Ontario Works and other community-based service providers to provide information and insight into planning a career ladder for those furthest from the labour market.

McMillan’s report will be available to the broader community in late June 2017.

“It’s going to be an immense amount of work but it’s exciting because it has the potential to help both employers and people seeking meaningful credentials and employment in our region.”

To find out more about the Metcalf Foundation, Aspen Institute’s Toronto Sector Skills Academy visit http://metcalffoundation.com/stories/metcalf-stories/introducing-the-toronto-sector-skills-academy-cohort/