Making Durham Region the Best Place to Work
The Durham Workforce Authority hosted keynote speaker Paul Born, co-founder and president of the Tamarack Institute, at the launch of its Local Employment Planning Council (LEPC) pilot project in Whitby March 23. Born is a bestselling author internationally recognized for community-building activities that have won awards from the United Nations, while the Tamarack Institute is considered a global leader in community innovation and the process of collective impact.
Unemployment and poverty costs everyone, said Born.
“The very foundation of our quality of life is good jobs for people,” said Born. “If you work, you shouldn’t be poor.” The service industry in particular, he said, is a low-wage sector where workers struggle to make ends meet.
Pointing out that many community agencies currently work in silos, Born called on Durham community leaders to consider the collective impact process in a collaborative approach to labour force planning that encourages employers to pre-hire workers prior to education and training, ensuring that people are being trained for jobs that exist.
He outlined the key points to the collective impact process:
- Create a common agenda. Everyone needs to commit to the vision outlined in the strategic plan, said Born. “To move forward with a labour plan, do you see yourself in the plan? Your input is only as good as your commitment. A common agenda is so important, but don’t think of it as just a plan.”
- Create shared measurement. Find the data that’s regularly looked at, and bring it together. “What do you need to know that requires data? Try to bring the data in and use data to diffuse the common agenda. The data has to agree with us as well. Data is important.” Stories and data need to be together, he said. “Which data helps us understand we’re making progress?”
- Have mutually reinforcing activities. To make working together easier, stakeholders come out of their silos and take on projects in multi-sector work teams that include people with “lived experience” at the table who keep the project “honest”, Born said.
The process creates a strong, continuous community system that ensures everyone has good information and builds community consensus that will attract funding, he said. Calling collective impact a “growing movement”, Born said the final key is to hire staff to ensure the process runs smoothly.
“In order for massive collaborations to work, we need staffing, because we’ve got to go back to our regular jobs.”
The LEPC pilot, funded by the Ontario government, is intended to address local workforce development challenges and opportunities through consultation with community, provincial and municipal partners.
— Judi Bobbitt Media Services