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YWCA Toronto is excited to announce a new national project -
Building Sustainable Futures: Essential Skills for Employment (ESE)!

YWCA Toronto is facilitating a learning collaborative made up of YMCA-YWCA organizations across Canada that deliver employment training to vulnerable communities. Together, we will produce a Compendium of promising practices and curricula in essential skills for employment training that will be shared nationally.

This project will contribute to developing the capacity of literacy and essential skills (LES) organizations and support people to strengthen their own capacities, seize employment opportunities, and increase their incomes.  


Would you like to join the Essential Skills for Employment community? Sign-up to receive program updates, invitations to events, and notices of opportunities for involvement in the project. Please complete the form below. Email any questions to

Join the ESE community here.


The Government of Canada and other national and international agencies have identified nine essentials skills needed for work, learning and life: reading, writing, oral communication, numeracy, thinking, working with others, document use, computer use and continuous learning. These skills provide the foundation for learning all other skills, and enable people to evolve in their jobs and adapt to workplace change.

For more information about Essential Skills, visit the Office of Literacy and Essential Skills website.


In 2010, YWCA Toronto produced a Phase 1: Compendium of Best Practices in Employment Programming and an accompanying Professional Business Practices Curriculum designed to work with vulnerable women. The pilot project helped to build the capacity of LES service delivery organizations and raised interest in the field amongst a wide range of stakeholders nationally. The Compendium final version is available, free of charge, through the links below. 

Compendium of Best Practices in Employment Programming

Professional Business Practices Curriculum