Financial Training Supports
Your Literacy and Basic Skills agency may be able to offer training supports to help low-income learners attend training. Training supports are for travel in the form of mileage reimbursement, fees for rides from suppliers, parking fees, bus tickets or passes, etc. Training supports may also be used to help learners with childcare costs as long as the services are not provided by a family member living in the same household as the learner. In some circumstances, you may get permission from their Ministry Employment and Training Consultant (ETC) to use training supports for some other expense that assists a learner in successful LBS training.
How training supports are dispersed is determined by policies set by individual service delivery providers and may vary from agency to agency. According to the LBS Service Provider Guidelines, Effective October 2016, to administer their training support funds, organizations are responsible for developing and implementing policies and procedures which include:
- eligibility criteria for learners and the documentation they must provide to establish need and to verify expenses
- eligible child care service providers (cannot be the learner’s spouse or relatives living with the learner)
- eligible expenses, for example, maximum rates for child care, public transit, private cars, car pools, and parking
- policy and procedures for payment, including direct payment to learners; and indirect payment to suppliers, and circumstances where advance payment may be possible.
Training supports also need to be carefully tracked and accounted for using learner claim forms. You enter claims/payments into the Employment Ontario Information System Case Management System (EOIS-CaMS) as sub-goals. Copies of the claims should be kept in the learners’ files for MTCU review. If total claims for a learner are over $500 in a calendar year, your agency must issue a T4A form to the learner.
Learner Supports Through Coordinated Services
An important element of transition-oriented programming is supporting learners through coordination with other Employment Ontario and community services. This is referred to in the Training section of the LBS Service Provider Guidelines (2016). It is also included in a number of questions on the Site Monitoring Questionnaire that LBS Service Providers must complete on EOIS-CaMS.
Supporting learners through coordinated services is done by
- sharing accurate information about other services
- providing appropriate and timely referrals
- coordinating service delivery to work with other providers for the best interest of the learner
- ensuring learners are prepared for transition to their next step along their goal path
- avoiding duplication in services
In the Information and Referral module, we discussed in more detail various ways of supporting learners through service coordination, such as
- Client and Learner Needs Determination
- Service Information Gathering, Coordination and Integration
However, it is important to remember that information and referral does not end when the learners start their training. Learners may face new challenges at any period in their training. You should be attentive to their needs and issues, providing support and referrals as needed. As we researched this module, we interviewed practitioners about how they provided support to learners. For these practitioners, open communication was the tool used most often.
“We ask, we listen and we respond. If we can’t help directly, we bridge to the help.”
“Spend time chatting with them and getting to know them as individuals.”
“We inform them of other services in the community all the time, refer to those services and contact people for the help and support they need with their various barriers. If we can handle it in-house, we do (training support allocation, for example). Otherwise we refer or partner with outside sources.”
“We discuss what might get in the way of learning. For example, ’What will you do if your children get sick?’ ‘How are you going to get here?’ ‘What kind of costs might you have by coming here (low/lack of income while at school)?’ ‘How will you get to school in inclement weather?’ We discuss medical issues, mental health issues, etc. that kept the learner from completing school in the past. We refer to other agencies if we cannot help them. We encourage them to come.”
As the name implies, transition-oriented programming is focused on the transition. During a learner’s training period, you should constantly be seeking ways to prepare the learner for a smooth and easy transition. The first step to doing this is having a clear idea yourself of what the next step involves. This way you can have answers to the learner’s questions or at least know where to find or direct the learner to find answers. Some of the Literacy and Basic Skills service providers we have talked to suggested these ways to make learner transitions easier:
- know what credentials or other proof of learning is needed to enter the goal
- take learners on field trips to the training or education site they plan to attend
- have guest speakers come and talk about the “next steps,” such as employers, educators and past learners who have transitioned
- work with Employment Services or a Secondary School Credit program to set up a work placement or co-op while the learner is still in LBS training, and support the learner through the placement
- coordinate LBS training in job search and interviewing techniques along with an Employment Service provider
Questions and Activities for Reflection
- Why do you think learning supports should be included in a module on training?
- What learning supports do you have in place to support learners with learning disabilities?
- How do you prepare learners to transition smoothly from your program to their next step?
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