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New Project Announcement: Incentives for Achievement
We are excited to announce that we have received funding through Living SJ to offer incentives to learners for achieving their goals.
Participants will work closely with members of our staff to set goals and then receive a financial incentive when they have accomplished these goals. This process builds confidence and also more closely models a culture of work.
Part of the funding will also scale our soft skills training and build capacity for soft skills growth in the community in partnership with other agencies.
The project includes collaboration with government and other stakeholders on policy issues relating to transition to work programming and sustainable workforce attachment.
We look forward to sharing stories of success and achievement as we begin to roll out our incentive program!
Building a Coaching Culture
27 Learning Exchange staff packed into room 202 for three full days of intensive training in non-directive coaching - a coaching approach that builds an individual's capacity to change, adapt and grow.
Nearly the entire Learning Exchange team, including staff from our businesses, participated in the Excelerator Coaching Program with Essential Impact. The skills gained will help us better serve our clients and will also help us better support each other in our work.
We are so grateful to David Busse and Robert Gray from Essential Impact for leading us through this intensive and transformative training!
Solar Panel Installation
Participants from our new youth program, GOALS, as well as BEST and CALP helped with the beginning stages of a solar panel installation up on the roof at the Social Enterprise Hub.
This is the largest project of its kind in the city and helped our learners develop some impressive new skills! Thank you so much to NEXGEN and the Saint John Community Loan Fund for allowing the learners to participate, we're excited to see the installation finished.
Stone Soup & Camp Glenburn
This year Stone Soup is excited to be back for another year at Camp Glenburn. As in past years we'll be serving up delicious and healthy meals to the campers throughout July and August. Our team can't wait to get back into the kitchen!
Wyndham's Women on the Way
Earlier this year we were approached by Patti White of Wyndham's Women on the Way to see about partnering. The group asked about providing some of our female job seekers with professional wardrobes to attend interviews.
The WorkLinks team provided Wyndham with some details to help them put together some pieces. We were very excited when Patti and Mary McKiel of Wyndham stopped by the Hub with multiple outfits for each lady complete with shoes, purses, and jewelry. We're looking forward to continuing the partnership in the future!
Jenn Shatford, a CALP learner and WorkLinks job seeker, models one of her new outfits to the left.
Stone Soup Café Update
The menu at Stone Soup is expanding! Throughout June there are going to be some new items for you to try. Also, don't forget that there are now sandwiches available daily at the café!
You can find more information and get updates on the week's menu on our Facebook page and website (https://www.stonesoupsj.ca/).
Stop by the café and enjoy a coffee, one of our delicious baked goods, or lunch!
Program Announcement: WESLinks
We are excited to announce the NEW continuous intake WESLinks program that began in April 2018.
The program offers essential skills (document use and numeracy), soft skills, goal setting and paid on the job training in social enterprises and is a great options for individuals transitioning to work.
For more information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 648-0202.
Innovation & Flexibility Award
We are happy to announce that we were the recipients of the Innovation and Flexibility Excellence Award from the United Way. A representative from EY presented Christina with the $2,000 award at the United Way's Community Excellence Awards on April 9 and had this to say:
"EY has a long history in supporting the community and the United Way. As past chair of the United Way campaign and working on projects with United Way, I have had the opportunity to get to know charities in our a little better. When Wendy asked if we would be interested in sponsoring the Innovation and Flexibility Excellence Award, it was an easy yes. That was before we knew who the winner was. Promoting Entrepreneurship is a corporate priority for EY and this charity has been incredibly entrepreneurial. Their clients told them they did not just want to learn to read, but wanted to work, so they transformed the literacy organization and created transition to work programs. When there were few jobs available for their clients to transition to employment, they started businesses. They have an exceptional leadership team that has embedded innovation, learning, and accountability to outcomes into their DNA. It is with great pride I invite Christina Fowler and her team of the Saint John Learning Exchange to receive the Innovation and Flexibility Award." - Claude Francoeur, EY
Claude Francoeur presents our Executive Director, Christina, with the EY Innovation & Flexibility Award.
Program Announcement: G.O.A.L.S.
Our new GOALS (Growing Occupational, Academic and Life Skills) Program is an exciting initiative involving five non-profits aimed at removing barriers for youth in the Saint John community and helping them move towards their employment and education goals.
GOALS participants will access:
- Academic and soft skills training in a flexible and
dynamic learning environment
- Authentic work experience in social enterprises
- Financial incentives for participation
- Wrap around supports through the Teen Resource
Centre (TRC) to reduce barriers to education and
If you, or someone you know, is between ages 17-20, has barriers to education and employment and has not yet finished high school, please contact the Learning Exchange at 648-0202 or by email at email@example.com to find out if this program would be a fit for you!
Stone Soup Café Update
The café at the Hub is now open 5 days a week and is serving up delicious breakfast and lunch items. There are daily lunch specials including an African peanut soup, homemade mac & cheese, our dragon bowl, and a chicken curry. You can find more information and get updates on the week's menu on our Facebook page and website (https://www.stonesoupsj.ca/).
Stop by the café and enjoy a coffee, one of our delicious baked goods, or lunch!
Learner Baking Day
In April, Jillian Jessulat, one our board members, generously donated her time to give our learners a one-of-a-kind experience and lesson in cake decorating. With her help they created some beautiful AND delicious baked goods. We're all excited for Jillian to come back and give the learners another lesson!
Spring Cleaning With Voila!
It's that time of year again: the snow has finally melted and we're all getting ready for warmer weather. Why not treat yourself to a spring clean from Voila? Our staff is eager and ready to help clean your home or business using our line of allergy and environmentally friendly cleaners.
WES Project: Living Wall
It's beginning to look a lot like Spring inside the Learning Exchange, especially because of one of the latest projects of the WES class: a living wall.
The class researched, designed, and built the wall and sourced all of the plants from Cedarcrest Gardens.
The wall has a pump built into it that automatically waters all of the plants. It's only been in operation for about a month but the plants are all flourishing. We're all excited to watch it grow!
International Down Syndrome Day
Staff and Learners celebrated International Down Syndrome Day on March 21 by wearing crazy and mismatched socks. Lily, at our front desk, and Ginny organized the event and had Impact Market selling odd socks to help raise awareness.
Grand Opening: Stone Soup Café @ The HUB
The day has finally arrived! Stone Soup's café here at The HUB will have its grand opening on Wednesday February 14 from 8:30am - 2:00pm. We'll be serving up a selections of soups, salads, sandwiches and sweets with a menu that we plan on growing over the months to come.
Throughout February the café's hours will be: Wednesdays - Fridays from 8:30am-2:00pm.
In January of 2018 we added a new member to our team, Lisa-Marie Mapile. Lisa is the new face at the front desk at the Learning Exchange and we couldn't be happier to have her join us.
She recently moved to Saint John and brings with her an extensive background working in Office Administration. She is quick to make sure that everyone coming into the Learning Exchange feels welcome. If you haven't had the chance to meet her yet, feel free to drop in and say hi!
Power Up to Employment @ The HUB
To find out more about the Women's Empowerment Network and Power Up click on the image above
In February Power Up to Employment returned to the HUB. This 10 week leadership and empowerment program works with women who are focused on their next steps and achieving their career goals.
The WorkLinks team will be delivering some sessions to the ladies in March and April and couldn't be more excited.
Introducing WorkLinks Skills Series
Erin Gallagher, our new Community Soft Skills Developer, has launched a soft skills development series to improve productivity, performance and retention for companies and organizations. We help individuals and teams self-asses, build new habits and develop new ways of thinking and behaving in the workplace. Workshops can take place here at the HUB or at the company's own offices.
There are 7 Soft Skill areas of focus: communication, conflict resolution, problem solving, professionalism, receiving feedback, teamwork and time management.
Our first WorkLinks Skills Series is currently underway with Adams-Green, a mission-driven accounting and consulting firm. We kicked things off with a session on Communication. The workshop took place at the HUB and everyone left with real goals and action items to put into practice in the office.
Staff Announcement: Community Soft Skills Developer
We're excited to announce that Erin Gallagher has joined our team in a brand new role as the Community Soft Skills Developer. Erin has been building on the successes and innovations in soft skills training and development already taking place at the Learning Exchange.
She has a diverse employment and education background that includes training, coaching, facilitation, and social enterprise development. She's passionate about applying holistic and collaborative approaches to the complex challenges facing Saint John.
Her goal is to continue to help the Learning Exchange to be a leader in soft skills training – from classroom to working in our social enterprises. We know what employers want and how to foster real changes in thinking and behaviour for soft skill success.
Hub & Hemmings House Birthday Bash
A huge thank you to everyone who joined us on December 1 at the Social Enterprise Hub to celebrate our joint birthday party with Hemmings House Pictures. The evening was a massive success with so many members of our community coming out to show their support, enjoy the music, films, performers, food, vendors, and drinks.
End of Year Learner Lunch
On December 19 we celebrated the upcoming holidays with our learners with a delicious meal of hot turkey sandwiches catered by Stone Soup. We also received a generous gift of books from a member of the community and so we were able to provide every learner with a gift for the holidays.
Employer Spotlight: Green Coast Energy
Green Coast Energy was a new partnership formed in 2017. They reached out to our Job Developer for help with the recruitment of an administrative assistant. The manager expressed his frustration working with fee for service agencies in the past because they were not able to find the right fit for the organization and they had hired this position multiple times in the last couple of years. After working closely with the Job Developer and the WorkLinks team we were able to help them find Jenny who has settled into her role as their Administrative Assistant. We look forward to continuing with this partnership in the future.
Voila! Essentials Relaunch
Since we originally launched our line of natural cleaning products in 2016 we have been hard at work to make the products even better. We are relaunching the line in December with 3 products total: Multi-Purpose Cleaner, Paste and our new Yoga Mat Spray!
The Multi-Purpose Cleaner and Paste are both available in 4 scents (including unscented) and the Yoga Mat Spray is available in our new signature blend of essential oils. The Feel Good Store and Impact Market will both be restocked with these items just in time for the holiday season!
Don't forget, refills of all product are available for a discounted rate.
Hub & Hemmings House Birthday Bash
Join us this coming Friday December 1 @ 6pm to celebrate the Social Enterprise Hub's 1st birthday! It's going to be a real celebration with live music, artists and vendors, fire performers and the Hemmings House Port City Impact Film Festival!
Stop by the Hub between 6 and 10pm and enjoy a delicious drink from Foghorn Brewing or Yip Cider, sample some food from Stone Soup's new café and celebrate the Hub's birthday!
Stone Soup's New Café
We are very excited to announce that Stone Soup Catering and Express Café will be opening a second location at the Social Enterprise Hub toward the end of 2017. The café will serve as a training ground for program participants and provide us with more opportunities to hire our graduates at a living wage.
Construction is already underway and everyone here at the Hub is so excited about this new addition to our space.
Stay tuned for an announcement about our grand opening!
Changes in the Workplace Essential Skills program!
We are excited to announce that the NEW continuous intake Workplace Essential Skills program began at The Learning Exchange on September 11, 2017. The program now accepts referrals for new participants on an ongoing basis and participants can start as soon as a spot becomes available.
The program combines elements of:
- Group work
- Project based learning
- Essential skills (Document Use, Numeracy)
- Soft skills (Communication, Working with Others, and Thinking Skills) focused on
- Employment outcomes (interviews, conflict resolution on the job, resume building etc)
Stay tuned because even more changes are coming!
Social Enterprise Update: Impact Market & Stone Soup Fallsview Location
We're always looking for ways to grow our social enterprises so we can give more learners the opportunity to gain valuable work experience and on the job coaching in a supportive environment so they are better able to achieve their goals.
In September, Impact Market and Stone Soup teamed up to open a satellite location over at 100 Fallsview Ave. We wanted to reach the cruise ship passengers coming into the city and give them the opportunity to try our food and shop in our store. We wanted to provide snacks and gifts to any tourist who chooses to check out Saint John's natural wonder.
We made the announcement on Huddle and we're happy to report that it's been a success so far! You can find Emily at Impact Market's satellite location Monday through Friday from 9:30am - 4pm.
Click on the image to read Huddle's article about our new location!
Hemmings House Pictures & The Learning Exchange
Hemmings House Pictures (HHP) has been a great supporter of the Learning Exchange and our work over the years. In the spring they launched the Saint John Stock Exchange which provides beautiful stock images and videos for businesses and non-profits in the city to purchase. The proceeds from the Stock Exchange go to The Learning Exchange and help fund our programs.
Over the course of the past month HHP provided us with a summer student, Zach, who worked alongside Emily (our Team Lead at the Impact Market) to create videos of learner success stories. These videos are currently in the final editing phases but stay tuned for their release!
Social Enterprise Update: Voila!
Throughout the past year we’ve expanded our customer based so much that we have had to hire more staff. When Tina (our manager) began with Voila we barely had enough customers to employ 2 or 3 cleaners, but now we have a strong staff of 6 cleaners, Tina, and our Social Enterprise Developer!
Our team is very strong and each and every Voila employee is a valuable asset to the company. We wouldn’t be growing as much as we are without the staff that we have – they’re flexible and reliable and always happy to help the team out when we get some last minute cleans added. The majority of our staff has come out of one or more of the Learning Exchange programs.
Voila also uses our main office here at the Social Enterprise Hub as a training grounds for participants of the Workplace Essential Skills (WES) program to gain meaningful work experience in a safe and supportive environment.
Our residential cleaners use the Voila Essentials line of cleaning products in the homes of our clients. These products are all natural, made by the WES class at the Learning Exchange, and smell and work great. Voila Essentials are carried by the Impact Market, The Feel Good Store, and on our website. Click on our Voila logo above to find out more or book a walk through for a clean!
Social Return On Investment Update: Going into Year 3
As many of you know, WorkLinks has been working on a Social Return On Investment project with an evaluator, SiMPACT Strategy Group. 2017 is Year 3 of this 5 year project and we're happy to report that at the end of Year 2 for every dollar invested in WorkLinks approximately $5.01 is created in social and economic value. We're looking forward to seeing what Year 3 will bring!
On October 27 members of staff attended the 40th Anniversary Gala for the Greater Saint John Community Foundation. Now that we've officially received the grant we're hard at work coming up with innovative ways to integrate technology into our programming.
We're excited to announce that the Learning Exchange is the recipient of the Community Foundation's 2016 Anniversary Grant!! We will be presented with the grant of $40,000 at their 40th Anniversary Gala on October 27. Stay tuned until after then to find out more about what we're planning to do with the grant that will help us bring technology into the classrooms in new and innovative ways!
The Saint John Learning Exchange is excited to announce Stone Soup Catering & Express Cafe, located inside the new YMCA.
The Learning Exchange is thrilled to be a partner in the new Social Enterprise Hub. We have worked very hard at securing the funding and thanks to this last piece from ACOA we are now ready to start the build. Let the countdown begin!
2014 marks the 30th Anniversary of The Learning Exchange. We have evolved tremendously over that time but have stayed true to our mission of meeting the community's needs with holistic and innovative solutions. While our primary focus is helping you meet your academic and employment goals, we are also committed to making our neighborhood a better place to call home. Check out this short video to see how we decided to celebrate!