Program promotes workplace literacy
Funding should begin next month

NNSL (NOV 011/96) - NWT businesses and unions have the opportunity to improve workplace literacy through a new territorial government program.

The program will allow businesses, unions or agencies to devise education programs for their workplace and receive funding for the project.

Organizations can receive a maximum of $15,000 per year from a pool of $200,000, said Charles Dent, education minister.

"What we're trying to do is encourage employers to provide skills training to help employees become more qualified within that organization," he said. "These are programs set up within the workplace set up by the employer and run by the employer."

A committee will be set up to assess applications to the program, help companies further develop their proposals and evaluate the approved projects.

The programs can help workers improve reading, writing, math or critical thinking skills.

Surveys show about 60 per cent of jobs in the NWT require at least 13 years of education, Dent said. Currently, however, more than 57 per cent of Northern adults do not have a high school diploma.

"This is an attempt to start some upward mobility within the workforce," he added.

Money for the program should be available next month. The pilot project will run for about two years.