SHIFT is an innovative employment training program for youth that utilizes the arts to teach the soft skills that are crucial to employment success. SHIFT uses art to engage and facilitate learning among youth and allows them to embody soft skills linked to situational awareness, time management, self-regulation, and effective communication that will assist them in navigating the workplace landscape, improving job retention, and overall career success.
Centre for Artistic and Social Practice is the backbone organization that developed SHIFT.
It is a charitable artist-run centre and its mission is to support artists and collaborate with communities to create social change through art.
SHIFT was piloted in 2016 with funding from the Ontario Trillium Foundation. It was a response to the realization that the lack of soft skills was the number one barrier to youth obtaining and retaining employment.
Centre developed a theory of change that art is an effective vehicle for skills development as it engages youth and facilitates the embodiment of soft skills. Youth would be trained to communicate assertively, handle conflict, receive criticism, work in teams, and manage their time and emotions. This would build resiliency within the youth and result in increased job retention and employment success.
Centre collaborated with local employment agencies, youth and artists to design, implement and evaluate the programs over one year. The feedback and outcomes from the programs were so positive that the Ontario Trillium Foundation supported the expansion of the program for another three years that would see the SHIFT team co-design, deliver and refine the program in collaboration with employment agencies throughout Ontario including; Hamilton, Brantford, Kitchener, Peterborough, Haliburton, and North Bay.
These proven lesson plans are the product of four years of testing, evaluation, and refinement. We welcome you to use these guidelines as a foundation for creating soft skills training courses in your organization.
We have developed comprehensive lesson plans and video tutorials for you to follow. To get started, click on the buttons below!
Choose one of the 3 modules
Choose one of the 3 modules
These guides are intended to support program administrators in structuring an evaluation for their SHIFT content. There are two evaluation guides provided. One quick, ‘survey-format’ evaluation, and another guide for conducting more comprehensive SHIFT program evaluations. Results are intended to support program learning, development and to satisfy stakeholders’ (e.g., funders) needs for evaluation (if needed).
Goodwill Amity - Pathways to Employment (Hamilton and Burlington)
Living Rock Ministries - TRI-Rock Program
Mohawk College Community Employment Services
PATH Employment Services
The Career Foundation Hamilton
Threshold School of Building
Wesley Employment Services
YWCA Hamilton - STEP Program
CareerLink Employment Centre (Brantford, ON)
The Working Centre (Kitchener, ON)
Fleming CREW Employment Centre (Peterborough, ON)
Fleming CREW Employment Centre (Haliburton, ON)
YES Employment Services (North Bay, ON)
Assistant Project Coordinators
Lesson Plan Contributors (writing and creation):
Maddie and Hannah - McMaster Feminist and Gender Studies students