Community Literacy of Ontario has been funded by the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities to develop this online training module to look at Ontario’s Literacy and Basic Skills (LBS) programs’ information and referral requirements, practices and tools. Information and Referral (I & R) is one of the five services provided by LBS Service Delivery Agencies (along with Assessment, Learner Plan Development, Training, and Exit and Follow-up).
This module is an overview of the Information and Referral service for practitioners in LBS agencies. Practitioners who are new to the literacy field and Ontario’s Adult Literacy Curriculum Framework (OALCF) will find a wealth of information and resources in its content. It will also be useful for those more experienced practitioners as a review and as a source of sample tools and resources. In addition to having their own sections, resources and samples are embedded in all sections of the module.
Information and Referral is the first of the five services provided by LBS Service Delivery Agencies. Why do we say it is the first service? It is listed first in the LBS Service Provider Guidelines. It is also the first service we provide to individuals, partner agencies and the community. It is said “first impressions last the longest,” so, as our I & R service is the first exposure others have of us, it is critical.
As its name implies, the I & R service incorporates two activity areas:
• providing information to other parties
• making referrals to, and receiving referrals from, other programs and services
There is a third activity, though, which is interwoven through both information and referral, and that is collaborating with partners.
According to the LBS Service Provider Guidelines:
“The lnformation and Referral service ensures that information about the LBS service provider’s literacy training opportunities, approaches and targeted clients is available to learners, clients, volunteers, other interested individuals and referring organizations.
LBS service providers also offer information and referrals to all Employment Ontario employment and training programs and services.”
When we discuss I & R as a Literacy and Basic Skills delivery service, we need to look at it in the context of the Ontario Adult Literacy Curriculum Framework (OALCF). The OALCF is the ‘product’ we are ‘marketing.’ It is what we are providing information about and why we are receiving referrals. Therefore, we need to have a general understanding of that framework. If you are not already familiar with the OALCF, we recommend that you work through the OALCF section of the Service Delivery Modules.