Port Alice, Port McNeill and Port Hardy, British Columbia

Port Alice from the water
Photo by Trish Weatherall.

Connect4Work: Digital Literacy for Displaced Workers

Project Lead: Trish Weatherall, Mount Waddington Family Literacy Society


Mount Waddington Family Literacy Society’s “Connect4Work: Digital Literacy for Displaced Workers” beta-test project was delivered in three small communities on North Vancouver Island.

The 100-year-old Neucel Cellulose pulp mill in Port Alice went into production curtailment in 2015, eventually closing completely in 2019 and leaving more than 400 North Vancouver Island employees out of work. The remote area, three hours north of the nearest city of Campbell River, has very limited employment opportunities and the mill’s ancient equipment and lack of technology left about two thirds of the union employees without job-related transferrable skills.

About 75 percent of those workers are over age 40 and about two thirds have a significant digital literacy gap that hinders their ability to search for and apply for work. There are currently no reliable, regular digital literacy programs in the region.

The Connect4Work digital literacy project was for workers who have been displaced from their jobs to have hands-on learning in a small class environment in three communities. Topics included looking for and applying for work, accessing online services, pursuing continuing studies and connecting with family and community.

This beta-test site has developed and shared curricula for their training delivery, and was selected to continue to the Pilot Test phase of this project.

Read the beta-test report.


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