Our Story

We created a 3-module 10-week career development program that addresses critical employability gaps impacting individuals and employers across every sector and community. The group-based design empowers people to chart their own career paths with success.

IM&M+ is the 10-week transformation needed for life stabilization and a sustainable career trajectory.

It is radically participant-centred and solutions-focused. It meets people where they are; their desired outcomes are the end goals of the program. There is no pressure to complete it. People come to get what they need to move forward and exit when ready.


At its heart, IM&M+ is guided by these principles:

No One Chooses Poverty

Poverty is degrading, humiliating, and no one chooses to be poor. The modules explicitly address the blame and judgement often associated with poverty. We wanted to build a workshop series that not only acknowledged the challenges of living in poverty, but proactively integrated those realities right into the series.

It seems simple, but everything changes if we don’t fundamentally see participants as capable of success. IM&M+ participants are resilient, adaptable, creative, flexible, courageous, innovative and skilled. They have a wealth of life experience, skill and wisdom. They are the experts on their own life and the architects of their future. They have an enormous amount to teach each other and teach us. IM&M+ facilitators are guides, supporters, encouragers, challengers and co-learners.

IM&M+ is strengths and solutions-focused. It builds on Newton’s laws of physics which suggest that it’s easier to redirect existing motion than to get motion started. We recognize that participants are all already in motion –they are living lives, making decisions and moving in a direction already. The modules’ strategy is to help redirect it if it’s going in a direction they don’t want.

Trust is a precious gift earned through respect, consistency, appropriate disclosure and risk-taking (including by the facilitator), providing a safe and accepting environment where expectations are clear and control is shared equitably. The space is co-owned and co-created.

Integration of a holistic view of health is an essential thread throughout the program through activities that cultivate physical movement, the sharing of meals and facilitating discussions that center around healthy habits.

The program is underpinned by Prochaska’s Change Theory, recognizing that personal transformation doesn’t happen overnight or at the same pace for different people. IM&M+ and its facilitators normalize the change process acknowledging that starting is hard and setbacks can happen. The program and facilitators setout to nurture the seeds of hope in everyone, reinforcing that everyone is always working on something and there is no perfect endpoint.

Finally, such transformation is fostered when everyone is coming together –all seeking to move positively. This means the active collaboration and contributions of the facilitators, their organizations, community partners and participants

IM&M+ Backstory

In 2013, the Government of New Brunswick (GNB) faced the highest per capita load of social assistance costs in Canada. They set out to address this by targeting systemic barriers, such as:

Yet, client success rates remained lower than expected. Internal government research found that programming targeting intra- and interpersonal needs, like: hope, confidence, belonging, and connection, was needed. These unaddressed factors made it much harder for people to progress and succeed on their journey.

CCDF was contracted by the GNB to conduct an environmental scan of pre-employment programs focused on building these skills for success. Many of the 300 programs reviewed by CCDF had merit. Still, many approached these skills from a conceptual frame (e.g., providing the definitions of self-esteem and talking about the factors that contribute to motivation) rather than a strengths-based approach that acknowledges that a deficit in inter and intra-personal factors is not because of a lack of conceptual understanding but rather a lack of positive life experience and attributions, supportive networks or a belief that one’s contributions matter.

With this research, CCDF created IM&M+. The program has been implemented province-wide in New Brunswick for six years. A 2017 pilot in Eastern Ontario with the Ontario Centre for Workforce Innovation replicated statistically significant positive results. In 2020, CCDF received funding from the Future Skills Centre (FSC) to expand implementation to 25 agencies across six provinces. This funding allowed CCDF to test IM&M+ with organizations serving equity-deserving groups, including: 

Positive interim findings resulted in further FSC funding to extend testing using a randomized controlled trial (RCT).

Overall, the findings conclude that by addressing underlying conditions that are critical barriers to education, training and employment, IM&M+ provides life stabilization, significantly improves employment outcomes, and reduces long-term reliance on social assistance.

“Before this group we were seeds, and we didn't know our potential. But this group was like the sunshine we needed to grow and peek through the soil. And everyone in the group nourished each other in our growth.”

IM&M+ Participant

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.  CCDF is proud to be the creator and scaler of IM&M+.