SAINT JOHN (GNB) – Long-term performance-based agreements will become the norm for services contracted through the Department of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour.

The new approach, announced today, will be a shared-risk model that is based upon performance targets which are intended to ensure results.

“We recognize the need to reshape how the department approaches labour and programming services to get the results New Brunswick needs” said Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour Minister Trevor Holder. “This new approach will allow our partners to budget and plan long-term, which should improve their ability to train, retain and build capacity in their staff. We expect this will greatly benefit our clients through improved stability and consistency.”

Under these agreements an organization will receive base funding but can receive more if performance targets are met or exceeded. Performance targets will vary based upon the specific needs of a region and may include any combination of measurable criteria such as employment, job retention, wage levels, or barriers faced such as: age, time spent out of the workforce, being indigenous, or being a newcomer. This approach will be used provincewide when new contracts for services are required.

The first such agreement was also announced today. The Saint John Learning Exchange will provide employment assistance services over the next five years to the Greater Saint John region.

The Saint John Learning Exchange is a non-profit organization with 30 years of experience assisting individuals with significant barriers to education and employment.

“A five-year analysis showed that the services we provide generate a significant return on investment; for every dollar invested in the organization, there is a seven dollar and fifty cent return,” said Christina Fowler, executive director of the exchange. “This new model is built to demonstrate that non-profits can be run smartly, like a business, with good, sound data, targets, and outcomes that are measurable and achievable. Our wrap-around model is about individualizing the outcomes for each learner so they can obtain the most benefit from the services we provide.”

“The Learning Exchange has provided services on the behalf of the government for the past 14 years, through a series of one to three-year agreements,” said Holder. “They are a prime example of the government unnecessarily complicating the work of a great local partner. We are very pleased to be moving away from that practice.”

The objective of this agreement is to support 200 unemployed individuals per year in the Saint John area through skills development, one-on-one coaching, barrier removal, incentivised goal setting, and providing the support needed to obtain and keep a job.

Performance funding for this agreement, a first for the department, will be based upon employment retention, wage levels and the number of barriers faced by participants.