Toronto Sector Skills Academy
Real impact and system changes require multiple well-aligned efforts by many partners. Innovative community-based strategies and strategic partnerships addressing complex issues benefit from collaborative learning, capacity building, and research that connects policy and practice.
The Toronto Sector Skills Academy (TSSA) is a year-long fellowship for workforce leaders who are focused on improving our regional workforce system to create employment opportunities for low-income workers while supporting business competitiveness in specific industry sectors and occupations. This academy is developed in partnership with the Aspen Institute’s Economic Opportunities Program and builds on Aspen’s long-standing commitment to workforce development and capacity building. In 2015, the Metcalf Foundation with the support of the Counselling Foundation of Canada, replicated, designed and delivered the Sector Skills Academy.
As a year-long fellowship program, fellows attend twelve days of retreats and workshops. Participants work with peers from a variety of organizations, learn from experts in the field, strengthen existing and create new partnerships, and engage in experiential learning with practical applications. The TSSA focuses on building a better understanding of our workforce system, and explores organizational strategies and partnerships.
The third TSSA cohort will begin in 2020.
Sector-focused workforce development is a promising practice to improve employment opportunities for low-income workers while supporting business competitiveness. Sector strategies are focused on two outcomes. One is helping workers move into better jobs by removing barriers and skills gaps, or building ladders. The second is improving the quality of low-wage jobs, or raising the floor.
To address the growing interest and need for sector-focused workforce development in Toronto, the Metcalf Foundation established the Toronto Sector Skills Academy in partnership with the Aspen Institute. The goal is to build the capacity of leaders to grow, strengthen, and sustain sector strategies within the city. This leadership program is the first of its kind in Canada.
The highly regarded Aspen Institute Economic Opportunities Program created this leadership development model in 2005. Participants in the Toronto Sector Skills Academy become Aspen Sector Skills Academy Fellows and work with peers from a variety of organizations, learn from experts in the field, strengthen partnerships, engage in experiential learning with practical applications, and acquire new skills to explore, catalyze, and enable sectoral workforce strategies. Fellows attend three retreats and three workshops over a 10-month period.
The Toronto Sector Skills Academy brings together leaders from community-based organizations, colleges, workforce development organizations, government agencies, labour, labour management groups, employer associations, and worker centres.
- be leading existing sector initiatives or leading industry programs that are seeking to develop sector strategies;
- hold positions of leadership and decision-making authority regarding sector-focused strategies;
- be based and active within the Toronto region;
- submit a letter of support from their supervisor approving their participation in the Academy; and
- commit to full participation over these set dates:
- Three 3-day retreats:
- Retreat 1 – April 10 – 13, 2018
- Retreat 2 – June 4 – 6, 2018
- Retreat 3 – November 14 – 16, 2018
- Three events/workshops held in Toronto (dates to be confirmed):
- Welcome Reception – March 2018
- Fall Toronto Workshop (2 days) – September 2018
- Closing Presentation and Graduation Reception – December 2018
The selection process will be based on demonstration of leadership competencies; commitment to improving job opportunities for low-income people; ability and desire to design, implement and strengthen sector-focused workforce development initiatives; and interest in learning about sector strategies to advance systems change.
Inclusivity and diversity of race, ethnicity, and gender are core values of the Toronto Sector Skills Academy. Members from equity seeking groups are encouraged to apply.
The deadline for the 2020 Toronto Sector Skills Academy will be announced in spring 2020.
TSSA Snapshot & Pamphlet
I’ve learned more here than in some of the degree programs that I have taken.
Duke Heights BIA
We learn from each other and that allows us to grow.
Quinte Economic Development Commission
It’s really important for policy makers and practitioners to be together.
Toronto Employment & Social Services