In Motion & Momentum+'s Backstory
In 2013, the Government of New Brunswick (GNB) set out to address client recidivism within its social assistance ecosystem. It first targeted the obvious systemic barriers (e.g., health/addictions services, transportation, childcare and housing). Yet, despite significant investment, recidivism rates remained high. The GNB recognized that the root challenges were not limited to systemic issues. They formed a working group of front-line case managers who pointed to an urgent need for programming focused on intra- and interpersonal factors (GNB, Department of Social Development, 2018). The GNB engaged CCDF to conduct an international scan of existing programming focused on current responses to these needs in the hopes of identifying promising practices.
CCDF reviewed nearly 300 recommended programs. Many had merit. Yet, there was a common shortcoming: they all approached these challenges conceptually (e.g., reviewing the definition of self-esteem or talking about what factors contribute to hope or motivation) rather than dynamically (directly addressing underlying factors and resulting in real change). Based on this review, CCDF recommended to the GNB to take on a completely new approach: one that addresses the lack of positive experiences in clients' lives, mines their strengths and accomplishments as sources of motivation and pride, actively builds sustainable networks, builds foundational skills and creates evidence that their contribution in this world matters. Taking a leap of faith, the GNB contracted CCDF to create In Motion and Momentum+ (IM&M+).
MODULE 1: IN MOTION is a 3-week (3 days a week) module. This first part of the program is about helping participants to:
- Create a vision for now and the future that is consistent with their personal life, realities and core values
- Identify and build targeted life and basic employability skills (communication, healthy interpersonal relationships, problem-solving, dealing with stress, money management/budgeting, dealing with change)
- Practice setting realistic and meaningful goals connected to their needs and vision for the future
- Practice developing and implementing action plans that reflect their vision and goals, address barriers and include appropriate supports
- Explore possible roles (work, learning, volunteer) that connect to self and have the potential to contribute to family/community
- Explore a wide range of options and opportunities, so their horizons of what could be possible for them are broadened
MODULE 2: MOMENTUM is a 4-week module (four days a week). This second part helps participants continue building on their vision and moving towards making it a reality. It is also an opportunity for them to give back to their community. The resilience research is clear that a key protective factor for resilience is the capacity to contribute to the community – a protective factor that is often severely lacking for those who have been chronically dependent on social assistance. The group conducts an environmental scan of their community and, based on this and their composite skill set, they develop and implement a community project. Not only do they experience the pride of giving back, they also practice and build skills, extend their networks and know they’re capable of achieving something significant for both themselves and their community.
MODULE 3: MOMENTUM+ is a six-week module (one day a week) that builds skills, motivation to take the next step, and hope for the future. It provides needed action planning support so that participants are actively supported and coached toward their work, learning and personal development goals.
The three modules are developmental. They move gradually and flexibly. They recognize that change is individual. Participants, when they are ready, can launch.
Why is IM&M+ Needed?
CCDF's decades of research points to a consistent cycle impeding the progress of under-represented groups from making strides towards sustained labour market attachment:
- The employability of service recipients is not consistently or rigorously assessed;
- They are referred inappropriately and/or too quickly to training or employment;
- They do not succeed due to unresolved pre-pre-employability issues - perhaps most pervasive, a lack of intra- and interpersonal stability and strength; and,
- They return to services and the cycle repeats.
This cycle brings with it significant socio-economic costs to individuals, communities and industry sectors.
We have also seen that the population not active in the labour market has changed in profile. We know that there have been increases in recidivism among those seeking social assistance (Bossenberry, 2011) due, in part, to the increased demand for social assistance following the 2008 recession (Maytree Foundation, 2019). Anecdotally, however, service providers and provincial/territorial governments report increases in clients presenting with more complex and multifaceted needs related to health, housing, childcare and inter/intra-personal issues, such as unsafe relationships and lack of hope, motivation or self-esteem. Recent research suggests that 85 to 95% of those seeking employment/ career services in Canada are coming to service with pre-employability/job readiness issues (Hopkins, 2021). Front-line staff have identified a pressing need for pre-employability programming to tackle these challenges, break cycles of recidivism and, importantly, support those furthest from the labour market to move toward sustainable work attachment.
IM&M+ has worked towards a better understanding of the needs of those furthest away from the labour market. It has built a unique approach in addressing the cornerstone skills that support participants in moving forward. IM&M+ fills a foundational skills development gap that, left unfilled, results in recidivism, clogs the entire service ecosystem and detrimentally affects employers across industry sectors. The IM&M+ approach develops the capacity and competencies of the service delivery ecosystem to support scalability and impact.
About the Canadian Career Development Foundation
CCDF is an internationally renowned organization with proven expertise in the field of career development. CCDF is a non-profit, project-based organization with a national Board of Governors, expert staff and a global network of specialist Associates. Incorporated in 1980, CCDF is a recognized leader in the areas of:
- Research: Creating a rigorous evidence-base for career and employment services to inform and strengthen policy and practice;
- Resource Development: Creating leading edge career programs, products, and tools that respond to client, practitioner and employer realities and priorities;
- Training: Developing and delivering accredited training to strengthen practitioners’ competence and promote innovation and excellence in practice;
- Service Capacity Building: Working with diverse partners to integrate career, community, economic and workforce development and to promote a strong service ecosystem; and
- Policy Consultation: Creating sustainable policy solutions that are informed by practice and research and aligned with the realities of the emergent labour market.
CCDF conducts projects that:
- Prepare youth and adults distant from the labour market to enter the workforce, manage ongoing learning and successfully navigate career transitions;
- Build the capacity of workers to manage their careers skillfully;
- Address the barriers that impede under-represented groups from accessing and succeeding in learning and work opportunities;
- Assist employers to create quality workplaces that maximize worker satisfaction and productivity;
- Reintegrate adults entering or re-entering education/training or employment;
- Help older workers to transition to alternative avenues for work, learning and/or community engagement.
CCDF leverages career development to enable Canadians to manage learning and work, acquire and enhance skills, seek/create employment, and access community services in an increasingly complex, interdependent and changing world. Through this work, CCDF promotes positive health, social and economic outcomes for individuals, institutions and communities.