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The politics of needs interpretation : a study of three CJS-funded job-entry programs for women Butterwick, Shauna J. 1992

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THE POLITICS OF NEEDS INTERPRETATION:A STUDY OF THREE CJS-FUNDED JOB-ENTRY PROGRAMS FOR WOMENbyShauna J. ButterwickB.Sc.N (Nursing), The University of British Columbia, 1978M.A. (Adult Education),The University of British Columbia, 1987A DISSERTATION SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OFTHE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OFDOCTOR OF EDUCATIONinTHE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES(Department of Administrative, Adult and Higher Education)We accept this dissertation as conformingto the required standardTHE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIADecember 1992© Shauna J. ButterwickIn presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanceddegree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make itfreely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensivecopying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of mydepartment or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying orpublication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my writtenpermission.(Signature)Department of -Ad VtAA Vit 6+114.1106) .Aitt,L+ A LAG(The University of British ColumbiaVancouver, Canada‘ Iftw at,t‘aTu.niADateDE-6 (2/88)iiAbstractThis inquiry explored the everyday struggles of severalwomen who worked as coordinators and instructors in threegovernment-funded job-entry programs for women in the non-profit sector. The programs studied included an entryprogram for native women, a program which trained immigrantwomen in bookkeeping skills, and a program which trainedwomen on social assistance to enter the construction trades.The work of the staff in these programs was considered inlight of a theoretical framework developed by Nancy Fraser.Fraser has called for a different approach -- a morecritical discourse-oriented inquiry -- to the study ofsocial-welfare policies and programs. This approach focuseson the political struggle over the interpretation of needs,particularly women's needs, which she sees as central tosocial-welfare policy-making. In her study of the Americansystem, she has found that "needs talk" is the mediumthrough which inequalities are symbolically elaborated andchallenged. She also has found that needs talk isstratified and differentiated by unequal status, power, andaccess to resources, and organized along lines of class,gender, race, ethnicity and age.For this study, information was collected throughinterviews with the staff in the three programs,observations of lifeskills classes, and examination ofprogram proposals. Government and government-relatediiidocuments were also examined. The analysis revealed that,in the official policy documents at the national level,women's needs were interpreted within a dominant policyframework which focused on reducing spending, matchingworkers to the market and privatizing training programs.Programs for women were developed based upon a "thin"understanding of women's needs -- one which focused onwomen's lack of training and job experience and ignored thestructural inequalities of the labour market and women'sdifferent racial and class struggles.At the local level, analysis of the interviews,observations and documents indicated that the staffstruggled to respond to the trainees' diverse and complexneeds which the official policy discourse addressed in onlya limited way. In their negotiations with the state, thestaff employed a plurality of needs discourses, engaging ina process which both challenged and reproduced the dominantpolicy orientation toward getting women "jobs, any jobs".There were moments of resistance by the staff to thedominant policy orientation, most notably in the program fornative women. The trainees also challenged the narrowinterpretation of women's needs, particularly in the programtraining women to enter the construction trades.Generally speaking, the analysis indicated that thestaff played a crucial role in mediating between women andthe state and in producing a kind of discourse which tendedto construct the trainees as subjects needing to be "fixed".ivThe analysis also revealed that the relationships betweenstaff, trainees and the state were organized around unequalaccess to resources based on gender, race and class.In order to transcend the limitations outlined in thisstudy, efforts are required to democratize decision-making,collectively organize the non-profit private sector,challenge privatization and the exploitive practices of thestate, and bring alternative approaches which supportparticipatory and dialogical processes of needinterpretation.The analysis brings to light the importance of studyingthe implications of state policies on adult educationpractice, particularly policies which promote privatization.It also reveals the explanatory power of a feministtheoretical framework which provides a more critical,discourse-oriented approach to examining policy andpractice, and the usefulness of this framework for furtherresearch and political advocacy.VTABLE OF CONTENTSAbstract^ iiAcknowledgements^ viiiCHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION TO THE STUDY^ 1Context of the Study^ 4Contributions and Limitations of the Study^8Overview of Chapters^ 9CHAPTER 2: CONCEPTUALIZING THE STUDY:THE POLITICS OF NEED INTERPRETATION^ 10Mapping the Territory^ 10Choosing A Conceptual Framework^ 17A "Meaning-Oriented" Inquiry 22The Politics of Need Interpretation^ 25A Plurality of Needs Discourses 28A Model of Social Discourse^ 33Fraser's Analysis of the U.S. Social WelfareSystem^ 35Distinguishing Good from Bad NeedsInterpretations^ 37Applying Fraser's Framework To The Analysis^38CHAPTER 3: GATHERING INFORMATION^ 40Towards A Feminist Sociology 40Selecting the Programs for Study^ 43The Process Of Gathering Information 45Focus of the Data Collection Methods^ 47Ethical Considerations^ 49viSummary^ 51CHAPTER 4: THE CANADIAN JOBS STRATEGY: SERVINGTHOSE "MOST IN NEED"^ 52I. Prelude to the CJS 54Canada's Welfare State Practices- A Liberal Tradition^ 54Labour Marlet TrainingAs An Economic Strategy^ 57Economic Restructuring& Changes to Supply & Demand of Workers^60The Neo-Conservative Agenda^ 62II. The Canadian Jobs Strategy 66Serving Those "Most In Need"^ 66CJS Decision-making Processes 69Spending Reductions^ 71The Gendered Subtext of CJS^ 72Challenges to CJS^ 74Summary^ 77CHAPTER 5: THE PROGRAM FOR NATIVE WOMEN- CULTURE AS CURRICULUM^ 82Working with CEIC and the Government^ 86Working with the Trainees^ 97Working with the Community 106Summary^ 111CHAPTER 6: JOB ENTRY FOR IMMIGRANT WOMEN -STARTING OVER AGAIN^ 115Working with CEIC and the Government^ 120Working with the Trainees^ 130viiWorking with the Community^ 140Summary^ 143CHAPTER 7: WOMEN'S CARPENTRY AND CONSTRUCTIONPROGRAM: JUST GIVE US THE MONEY!^ 146Working with CEIC and the Government^ 152Working with the Trainees^ 161Working with the Community 174Summary^ 183CHAPTER 8: THE POLITICIZATION VERSUSTHE ADMINISTRATION OF WOMEN'S NEEDS^ 187Needs Talk of the Staff:A Plurality of Discourses^ 189Mediating Between the Trainees and the State^195Summary and Discussion^ 201CHAPTER 9: TOWARDS A MORE PARTICIPATORY DIALOGICAL PROCESSOF NEED INTERPRETATION^ 206Privatization and the Exploitation of Workers^209Democratizing the Needs Interpretation Process^213Recommendations for Further Research^ 217Summary and Conclusions^ 219Hyacinth (A Poem About Reentry)^ 221REFERENCES^ 223Appendix A 233Appendix B^ 234Appendix C 235viiiAcknowledgementsI want to thank my research committee members -- KjellRubenson, Jane Gaskell and Dawn Currie -- who have beenever-faithful and have given me guidance and constructivecriticism from beginning to end. My partner in life DavidThomson has been a great editor and essential to mysurvival. I must acknowledge the women and feministorganizations I have worked with, including the CanadianCongress for Learning Opportunities for Women and theWomen's Employment and Training Coalition. I also owe agreat debt to the women who are the focus of this study, whoprovide front line service in these difficult and uncertaintimes.Many friends and colleagues have been a major source oflearning and support including Lesley Bellamy, Marcy Cohen,Andrea Kastner and Celia Haig-Brown. The faculty and staffof the Administrative, Adult and Higher Education departmentat U.B.C. have also assisted me. Finally, I have been veryprivileged to receive funding from the Izaak Walton KillamMemorial Foundation, the Univeristy of B.C. GraduateFellowship Fund, the Adult Education Program Coolie VernerMemorial Research Prize, and the Social Sciences andHumanities Research Council of Canada.1CHAPTER ONEINTRODUCTION TO THE STUDYI think it is vital that feminist and other progressiveteachers remember the power that social forces exert onthemselves and on their students and that theyrecognize the limits of what it is possible toaccomplish in a classroom. But by recognizing thelimits of what is possible, teachers (and all of us)should recognize the value and the importance of doingwhat is possible. (Weiler, 1988, p. 153)The focus of this study is the everyday struggles ofseveral women who worked as adult educators in three job-entry programs for women within the non-profit sector whichwere funded under the Canadian Jobs Strategy, a federallabour market policy introduced in 1985. This research isgrounded in an interest in exploring both the opportunitiesfor and the constraints on feminist emancipatory practicewithin adult education. The study is also an attempt toprovide a historically sensitive and locationally specificanalysis of the practice of providing women's job-entrytraining.My particular interest is in understanding therelationships between women - that is, the women who ranthese programs and also those who participated as trainees -and the state, in the context of government-funded adulteducation programs. I am also concerned with theimplications of the ongoing fiscal crisis of the state andthe privatization of job training programs on the practice2of feminist adult educators and the employment trainingopportunities for women.An important caveat needs to be stated at the beginningof this inquiry. The notion that the adult educators whoare its focus are feminist practitioners is my owninterpretation. Some, but not all, of these women wouldagree with this characterization. For the purposes of thisstudy, I argue that their work can be considered ascontextualized examples of feminist practice because all ofthem were striving, as Weiler has articulated, to do what ispossible within the limits of what is possible.Another important clarification is needed in thisintroduction. I have not begun this inquiry with any apriori definition of what "good" feminist practice is, nordo I assume that this study will result in theidentification of a recipe for feminist practice withgeneralized principles and procedures. Rather, theassumption is that strategies for feminist practice must beworked out practically in relation to specific situations.As a feminist researcher, I am interested in employinga research process which creates knowledge and understandingfor women, rather than about them. This perspective hasbeen richly informed by the work of Dorothy Smith (1987), inparticular her criticisms of mainstream sociology and itsobjectification of women. She has argued for an approachwhich begins with women's everyday world, which recognizesand illuminates women as knowledgeable actors and which3maintains women as subjects and not objects of the researchprocess. Smith also insists that inquiries go beyondeveryday experience to reveal how these worlds are organizedand determined by social relations immanent in and extendingbeyond them.Thus, in addition to illuminating the everyday world ofrunning CJS programs for women, the concern of this study isto examine how this everyday or "micro" world is organizedby larger or "macro" themes, particularly the dominantpolicy framework of the Canadian Jobs Strategy within whichthese job-entry programs were structured.The central argument of this inquiry is that the womenrunning these job-entry programs were key players in apolitical struggle over the interpretation of needs -specifically, what women "needed" in order to enter thelabour market. This conceptualization is based on aframework developed by Nancy Fraser (1989) a feministcritical theorist and philosopher. The analysis indicatesthat in their position as coordinators, counsellors andinstructors, the staff acted as mediators between the womenwho participated as trainees, and the state - in particularCanada Employment and Immigration (CEIC), the majorgovernment department having responsibility for managinglabour market programs. As mediators between women and thestate, and as players in the political struggle over needsinterpretation, these women put forward variousconstructions of women's needs.4This study has found that in producing a discourseabout what the trainees needed and how these needs could besatisfied, the women who ran these programs challenged andresisted the dominant policy framework and its simplisticinterpretation of women's needs.^At the same time,however, aspects of this discourse also reproduced andreinforced the dominant policy interpretation of women'sneeds. Fraser's conceptualization of the politics of needinterpretation is further elaborated in Chapter Two.Context of the StudyThe women who are the focus of this study worked forthree non-profit organizations in the lower mainland ofBritish Columbia. All three agencies ran programs whichwere federally funded under the Entry program of theCanadian Jobs Strategy (CJS), a labour market and jobtraining policy introduced in 1985 by the Conservativefederal government. The Entry program of CJS was developedprimarily to assist youth and women who were havingdifficulty entering the paid work force. One of theprograms studied was a "SED" program for native women whowere considered to be "severely employment disadvantaged".Another program was designed to train immigrant women withintermediate English skills in bookkeeping and accounting.The third program trained women, most of whom were single5parents on social assistance, to enter the constructiontrades.The selection of job-entry programs for women as thefocus of this study emerged from my work as an active memberof a feminist community concerned with government policy andhow it affects women's employment and trainingopportunities. My curiosity about these programs grew as aresult of my experiences as a research assistant in aprevious study of a government-funded office trainingprogram for women.I had also been interested in exploring women's jobtraining programs as sites of consciousness raising (CR) orusing Freire's term, conscientization. There appeared to befew modern counterparts of the CR groups of the 1970s. Iwondered whether CR was still an important aspect of thewomen's movement and whether, instead of disappearing, ithad shifted away from informal gatherings of women in theirrespective communities and was now occurring in activitieslike job-entry programs for women.These concerns and experiences directed me towardfurther exploration and critical analysis of the constraintsand opportunities within government-funded job trainingprograms for women. As an activist feminist, adult educatorand researcher, I attempted to understand the enabling andconstraining aspects of state-supported programs for women.On the one hand, government policy and programs seem tomaintain women's subordinate position in the labour market6because the majority of these programs assist women to enterlow-paying, "feminized" job ghettos and have made littleimpact on structures of domination. On the other hand,government-funded programs provide the only alternative formany disadvantaged women to receive assistance to enter thelabour market, and women are finding opportunities withinlabour market programs to create women-positive learningenvironments.Contributions and Limitations of the StudyBy employing a critical feminist approach to anexploration of CJS-funded programs for women, and byfocusing on the role of the women who run these programs inthe political struggle over women's needs interpretation,this study brings an alternative approach to policyanalysis. Such an approach addresses the concern, asoutlined by Jarvis (1988) and Silver (1980), that adulteducation research should pay more attention to theimplications of social policies on practice. This approachalso provides a kind of policy analysis similar to thatproposed by Finch (1988), who called for "bottom up" studiesthat examine how practitioners interpret and operationalizepolicies in the course of their daily work. This study alsoaddresses Fischer's (1986) call for a more criticalassessment and evaluation of the arguments central topolicy-making.7I hope that this study can contribute to the fields ofadult education and feminist scholarship in education. Inparticular, this analysis can deepen understanding of thecrucial role labour market policy plays in shaping practiceand in the future organization of women's job training, animportant aspect of adult education. As Jackson ( 1987)hasindicated, further research into such training is importantbecause, in general, it remains poorly examined andunderstood even by feminist scholars. This is unfortunatebecause short-term state-funded job training situations areoften the only learning opportunity for women who aremarginalized. This lack of research, Jackson has argued,perpetuates some powerful and unexamined assumptions aboutknowledge, skills and learning that are related to women'sworking lives.Generally speaking, this study can contribute to afurther understanding of the relationship between thepractice of adult education and the state. Examining thisrelationship is particularly important given the impact ofeconomic restructuring, the demand for more adult educationopportunities and the government's desire to reduce spendingand privatize training. This study of training in the non-profit sector also helps to illuminate the reality of state-provider relationships as the federal government continuesto privatize labour market programs.The focus of this study was the work of several womenrunning three CJS job-entry programs for women, all of them8located in the non-profit sector. I have attempted tocollect as much detailed information as possible, throughinterviews, observations, informal conversations anddocumentary analysis, so as to provide a "thick" descriptionof the policy and programs. Further information on thefocus of my data gathering is provided in Chapter Three.Given that I am interested in revealing thecontextually specific practices of these programs, theargument could be made that generalizations to otherprograms and situations are not possible. Because I haveattempted to illuminate the relationship between policydiscourse and everyday practice, however, I believe thatcertain claims can be made about the ongoing struggle thatoccurs across the broad spectrum of state-funded job-entryprograms for women. I hope that this research will form apartial yet critical contribution to feminist theorizingabout the state and feminist practice within adulteducation.Overview of ChaptersChapter Two begins with a "mapping" of the themes andissues I found in my exploration of various literatureswhich helped me to determine a conceptual framework for theanalysis. This is followed by a more detailed account ofFraser's approach to studying "the politics of needinterpretation". Chapter Three outlines the methods used to9collect information for the study, the process of selectingprograms, ethical considerations and my role as researcher.Chapter Four examines the policy context, specificallythe political, economic and social concerns that the federalgovernment was attempting to address through the CanadianJobs Strategy and how women's needs were interpreted withinthis framework. The next three chapters describe the threejob-entry programs and include accounts of the staff oftheir work with the state, the trainees and with thecommunity. Chapter Five presents the job training programfor native women, in Chapter Six the program for immigrantwomen is discussed, and Chapter Seven presents the programfor women in the construction trades.Chapter Eight analyzes the information gathered andattempts to reveal the interpretations of women's needsconstructed by the women running these three programs andhow the dominant policy framework, and the processes andstruggles within these programs, contribute to theseinterpretations. Implications for practice, policy-makingand theory are discussed in Chapter Nine, as well assuggestions for further research.CHAPTER TWOCONCEPTUALIZING THE STUDY: GENDER, POLITICS ANDRESISTANCEI have tried to provide the sort of big diagnosticpicture necessary to orient political practice while atthe same time respecting historical specificity,societal differentiation, and cultural multiplicity. Ihave tried, in short, to develop a new type ofsocialist-feminist critical theory that overcomes thelimitations of the currently available alternatives.(Fraser, 1989, p. 11)This chapter begins with a brief overview of the ideasand concepts which have served as conceptual sign posts,directing me to attend to various issues in my search for aframework which would help me make sense of the everydaystruggles of those running government-funded job-entryprograms for women. Following this review, the work ofNancy Fraser is introduced along with the reasons why Iselected her approach as my conceptual framework. Theremainder of the discussion elaborates on Fraser's "criticaldiscourse-oriented" approach to the study of welfare statepractices. The chapter concludes with a discussion of thekey issues I have employed in the analysis.Mapping the TerritoryA significant part of the initial stages of this studyinvolved an exploration of a variety of literatures1 0including critical theory, critical and feminist analysis ofeducation and adult education, analysis of the link betweenpractice and policy-making, and feminist theorizing aboutwomen's relationship to the state.Much of the critical education literature which emergedin the early 1970s explored the link between education andcapitalism and the role that schools play in thereproduction of inequalities (e.g. Althusser, 1971;Bourdieu, 1977; Bowles and Gintis, 1975). This literaturewas helpful in challenging the notion that education wasneutral or independent and helped to reveal the linksbetween schooling and the structures and practices ofcapitalism. Building on these initial analyses, butconcerned with the deterministic character of these'correspondence' arguments, other researchers and theoristsexplored the resistance of teachers and other actors, inparticular the efforts to develop more democraticinstitutions (e.g. Apple, 1981; Connel, 1985; Giroux, 1983;Willis, 1977).I found this relationship between structure andindividual action a reccurring theme throughout much of thecritical analysis of schooling. In my search for theorizingabout this relationship I encountered Giddens' (1989) theoryof structuration and found his arguments intriguing,although difficult at times because of the rather abstractlanguage. Giddens suggests that rather than there being adichotomous relationship between agency and structure, there11exists a duality - that is, social structures are constantlybeing created and recreated through individual action, butindividual action that takes place in determinant socialconditions.I also found the work of critical theorists such asGramsci (1971) illuminating, particularly his notion ofhegemony and the role of worker education in developingorganic intellectuals and supporting "counter-hegemonic"activities. Gramsci's work has been employed, sometimesproblematically, in critical analyses of education. Itappears that Gramsci's assertion that hegemony is nevercomplete and is always contested has been lost and replacedby a fixed and static view of power and control incapitalist economies (Weiler, 1989). I have also taken noteof those who have cautioned against using Gramsci's notionswithout understanding the changes that have occurred sincehe articulated his ideas, particularly the relationshipbetween civil society and the state (Adamson, 1978).The notion of hegemony and counter-hegemonic practiceshas been central to much of the critical analyses of adulteducation. Some have argued that it is in the practice ofadult education that resistance and radical educationmoments will be found, not in schools (Entwistle, 1979;Rubenson, 1990). Interest in notions of resistance andeducational processes that support learner's empowerment isreflected in the impact of Freire's work (1971, 1973, 1978,1985). More recently, there has been growing concern for12the market orientation of much of adult education practiceand a desire to rekindle the liberatory possibilities ofadult education.Given that my work involved studying programs whichwere developed as a result of new labour market policyinitiatives, I also explored the policy analysis and policyimplementation literature. Much of the more traditionalapproaches I found problematic because of the assumptionsabout how policies were developed. Recent developments havechallenged the notion that policies were developed within acontinuous and consensual process and have pointed to thecrucial role that "front-line" or "street level bureaucrats"play in policy implementation (e.g. Berma, 1978; Dale, 1989;Kogan, 1975; Weatherley and Lipsky, 1977). These studieshave directed my attention to the political process ofpolicy-making and the various interests at stake in policydevelopment and implementation.Critical feminist analyses of education also added tomy understanding of the role that education plays inproducing and reproducing gender relations (Deem, 1981;Gaskell: 1978, 1981, 1983, 1987; MacDonald, 1981; Wolpe,1981). Earlier contributions to the exploration of genderand schools were limited, however, because they tended toconstruct women as passive victims of a determined system.Other scholars have attempted to shift this emphasis byfocusing on girls' and women's resistance, although earlierexplorations continued to dichotomize the relationship13between agency and structure (Acker, 1988; Anyon, 1983;Davies, 1983). Transcending this dichotomy between agencyand structure has been the focus of more recent studiesalthough the focus continued to be on the schooling system(Lather, 1983; Weiler, 1988). Fortunately some studies havebeen done within the field of adult education (e.g.McClaren, 1985; Rockhill, 1989; Westwood, 1984). I amparticularly excited by those who have pointed to theimportance of examining women's agency as historically andcontextually specific and have recognized theinterconnections of gender, race and class (Briskin, 1990;Molyneux, 1986; Wharton, 1991).Given that the adult educators on whose work this studyfocused were working in state-funded programs, I alsoexplored feminist theorizing about the relationship betweenwomen and the state. Much of this work pointed to thecontradictory outcomes of state responses to women'sstruggles (Andrew, 1984; Diamond and Shanley 1983; Dale andFoster, 1986; Franzway, Court and Connel, 1989; Eisenstein,1983; Jenson, 1986; Lipman-Blumen and Bernard, 1979;MacKinnon, 1989; Maroney and Luxton, 1987; Peattie and Rein,1983; Showstack Sassoon, 1987). In studies of theexperiences of women working both in and against the state,the importance of critically examining issues ofaccountability and opportunities was emphasized (Barnsley,1985; Findlay, 1988; Mueller & Newton, 1986; Randall, 1988).14I have also drawn upon other empirical examinations ofstate-supported women's programs (e.g. Harlan and Steinberg,1989; Horseman, 1991; Lewis, 1988; Mueller, 1988; Ng, 1988;Prentice, 1988; Tom, 1987; Walker, 1990). This research andconceptualizing has proven invaluable to my understanding ofstate-funded job-entry programs for women, particularly thetendency for women's issue, once taken up by the state, tobe reinterpreted and institutionalized.Recent contributions by feminist scholars who employpoststructuralist and postmodernist approaches to theorizingabout the state have cautioned against employing amonolithic notion of the state and have emphasized theimportance of historical and contextual specificity (Kenway,1992; Yuval-Davis and Anthia, 1989). They argue againststudies which assume there is something called "the state"that is a unifying, omnipotent structure.Postmodern approaches have also focused on thediscursive practices of the state, in particular the rolethese practices play in maintaining women's subordination(e.g. Gordon, 1992; Jensen, 1988). These studies have begunto examine the "gendered discourse" of social welfarepolicies and the contradictory outcomes as women's needs areinterpreted by various interests, particularly those ofcapital.This exploration of the literature played an importantrole in mapping the theoretical territory for this study.It pushed me to continue my search for a conceptual15framework which transcended some of the limitations ofearlier developments such as the high level of abstraction,the lack of empirical analysis, and the focus on classdomination with little attention given to gender, race andethnicity. This exploration of the literature emphasizedthe importance of examining the larger framework of socialrelations of which education is a part. It also directed myattention to the influence of political and economic agendason adult education practices.My mapping of the territory also indicated that Ishould attempt to illuminate the structural and ideologicalforces and avoid a deterministic approach.^Such frameworkwould be one in which I could understand the tensions which,as Giddens has outlined, exist between structures and themoments of resistance and disruption. Such an approachwould also recognize the state as complex and contradictoryand would illuminate the detail and subtlety of the workingsof the state.With these concerns in mind, I came upon the work ofNancy Fraser and found her approach to address many of theissues I believed were critical for this study. In thefollowing section, I outline the particular strengths ofFraser's work and my reasons for employing her approach formy analysis.16Choosing a Conceptual Framework - Politics, Resistance andGenderWithin the postmodern feminist analyses of thediscursive practices of the state, and in particular thestate's role in producing and reproducing gender and racerelations, I encountered the work of Nancy Fraser (1989).Fraser asserts that policy-making and the provision ofstate-funded programs involve a political struggle over howwomen's needs are interpreted and satisfied. This politicalstruggle, which she refers to as "the politics of needinterpretation", takes place within a contested terraincharacterized by unequal access to resources based ondifferences in gender, race and class. In this contestedterrain different interests, such as oppositional movements,business and government, struggle to politicize andinterpret needs.Fraser argues that a feminist analysis of socialwelfare policies and programs that serve women should focuson "the politics of need interpretation". Central to thisapproach is the examination of the production of "needstalk". Fraser argues that "needs talk" has become themedium through which conflict is played out and inequalitiesare elaborated and challenged.Fraser's approach was selected for a number of reasons.It seemed to have transcended some of the limitations of theliterature I had been examining in my earlier explorations,17including discussions which were too abstract and had littleempirical basis, theorizing without attention given togender or race, and dichotomization of the notions of agencyand structure. Situated in a postmodern realm oftheorizing, Fraser's approach consciously avoids seeking outgrand theories of the state, and directs attention insteadto historically specific, conjunctural struggles. I foundher analysis to be an exciting and powerful account of thepractices which reinforce relations of domination and, inparticular, how the state itself is constituted by genderand race relations.As was mentioned in Chapter One, Dorothy Smith'scritique of mainstream sociology greatly influenced myinitial approach to this study. I found her arguments abouthow power, organization and regulation are pervasivelystructured to be extremely important in my understanding ofthe relationship between women and the state. Her notion ofthe "ruling apparatus" -- a complex of organized practices,such as education, that manage to take the particular andconstruct it into the abstracted and generalized, was alsovery powerful.I found it curious, however, that Smith's explicationof the ruling apparatus was in itself generalized andabstracted which made it difficult to tie herconceptualizations to actual concrete situations. Iselected Fraser's approach because her categories arehistorically and contextually specific to my study. For18example, her focus on "needs talk" made sense when I beganto consider what I was hearing within the local and nationalfeminist community about CJS programs for women. Forexample, there was frequent reference to what the women whocame to these programs really needed and how difficult itwas to address those needs. There was much talk about howthe government did not seem to understand women's needs andthat CJS was really a policy which served the government'sneed to reduce spending through privatization of training.There was also talk about what the women who ran theseprograms needed to do a decent job.As I reviewed the policy documents of CJS and relatedmaterial, I also found that "needs talk" was central to thediscussion. For example, CJS was based on the claim thatCanada needed highly skilled and flexible workers in orderto remain competitive in a changing global economy. Thegovernment also claimed that the private sector needed tobecome more involved with the provision of training and thatthe government needed to be more fiscally responsible in itsspending on programs. Finally, CJS programs were developedto ostensibly serve those "most in need".Both Smith and Fraser directed my attention topractices which contribute to maintaining unequal powerrelationships. Although Smith's discussion deepened myunderstanding of relations of domination, it left me withlittle room for imagining practices which resist, challengeand seek to transform the ruling apparatus. I found19Fraser's approach embraced what I found critical inGramsci's notion of hegemony -- that it is never fixed butalways contested. I also share her interest in exploringthe relationship between intellectuals and social movementsand the processes of constructing oppositional practiceswhich are resistant and disruptive and therefore "counter-hegemonic".Given my desire to illuminate both the structural andideological constraints organizing the work of the adulteducators in this study and my desire to explore the agencyor resistance of the actors involved, I found Fraser's workto provide both a language of critique and a language ofpossibility. This tension between critique and possibilityis threaded throughout her work, particularly in hercritical analysis of Foucault (1979, 1980) and Habermas(1987). She has taken up the accounts of these postmoderntheorists and attempted to integrate the useful dimensionsof their work and to avoid their weaknesses.For example, Fraser draws upon Foucault's account ofthe "capillary" character of power to strengthen herarguments regarding the possibility of multiple sites ofstruggle. But she also finds that Foucault does notdistinguish the forms of power that involve domination fromthose that do not. In her critical review of Habermas, shefinds his contribution to the understanding of thestructural dynamics and forms of conflict of advanced20capitalism useful; however, she also finds that his worksuffers as a result of his apparent indifference to gender.Fraser goes on to argue that there are lessons to belearned from the "blind spots" of these critical theorists -- lessons which direct attention to what a "... categorialframework of a socialist-feminist critical theory ofwelfare-state capitalism should look like" (p. 138). Onefeature of the framework would be that it does not separateor see as oppositional the male-headed nuclear family andthe state-regulated official economy. Instead, a frameworkfor socialist-feminist critical theory would see them assimilar institutions which enforce women's subordination,albeit in different ways. The second requirement would bethat the framework be sensitive to "the ways in whichallegedly disappearing institutions and norms persist instructuring social reality" (p. 138). The third requirementoutlined by Fraser is that the framework seek to reveal the"evil of dominance and subordination" in welfare statecapitalism, not simply the evil of reification.The clarity of her conceptual framework speaks to hercommitment to developing a socialist-feminist criticaltheory which she has tested in her own political practice.She argues that "it is in the crucible of politicalpractice that critical theories meet the ultimate test ofvalidity". I support such a principle and have attemptedmyself to bring such a "bifocal" gaze which looks for boththeoretical and political viability. I also appreciate and21share Fraser's efforts to combine her role as an academicintellectual and her role as an active member of the women'smovement.It also seemed important to bring to the scholarship ofadult education a critical discourse-orientated approach tothe notions of needs and needs assessment, notions which arecentral to much of the practice and adult education programplanning literature. Fraser problematizes an aspect ofadult education practice which is often taken for granted bypointing to the political process of interpreting needs, aprocess which often marginalizes those whose very needs arein question.Finally, I selected Fraser's approach because heranalysis provided both a structural and an interpretiveaccount. Such an approach seemed to address the limitationsof studies which have ignored how social-welfare programs --in this case, labour market programs -- "provide clients andpublic at large with a tacit but powerful interpretive mapof normatively, differently valued gender roles and genderneeds" (Fraser, p. 9).A "MEANING-ORIENTED" INQUIRYFraser's analysis of the gendered discourse of socialwelfare policies in the United States grew out of herfrustrations with the limitations of what she describes asobjectivist-functionalist models. Such models, Fraser22argues, focus only on how systems are reproduced, andtherefore ignore the efforts of those who resist and disruptthe reproduction of dominant social practices andinstitutions.In their place, Fraser argues for research whichilluminates rather than hides conflict and the ongoingtensions between the construction and deconstruction ofcultural meanings. She is particularly interested infurthering feminist understandings of late capitalist formsof male dominance that can be found in social welfareprograms. Her discussion of policy-making within advancedcapitalist western societies directs attention to both thestructures of the state and how they tend to reproducewomen's subordination, and the activities of individuals andthe women's movement which resist these tendencies.Fraser argues that the feminist movement must focusmore attention on the struggles around social welfare. Thisis critical because women's "needs" are central to thecoming "welfare wars" emerging from the current fiscalcrisis of the state, which coincides with the feminizationof poverty.Because women constitute the overwhelming majority ofsocial-welfare program recipients and employees, womenand women's needs will be the principal stakes in thebattles over social spending likely to dominatenational politics in the coming period. (p. 144)Because so many women depend on social-welfare programsas workers and clients, and indirectly because of the"safety net" these programs provide, feminists must argue23against cuts in spending. At the same time, feminists mustchallenge and criticize the same policies and programs fortheir tendency to reinforce women's dependence and poverty.Thus, feminists face a struggle fraught with contradictionswhere they can neither simply criticize nor defend socialwelfare programs.Fraser identifies both structural and ideologicalproblems facing feminists who become involved in thestruggle over social spending. She does not offer anysolutions, but rather proposes a "framework for inquiry thatcan shed light on both of them simultaneously" (p. 145).Fraser takes up the notion of "public patriarchy" -- anapproach which has attempted to show how social welfareprograms, such as "workfare" in the United States, reproducethe sex-segmented, dual labour market. This structuralapproach, Fraser argues, does not tell the whole story, forit does not address the discursive or ideological dimensionof welfare practices -- "the tacit norms and implicitassumptions that are constitutive of those practices" (p.146). In order to examine both the structural andideological dimensions of welfare practices, Fraser callsfor a "meaning-oriented" sort of inquiry.To get at this dimension requires a meaning-orientedsort of inquiry, one that considers welfare programsas, among other things, institutionalized patterns ofinterpretation. Such inquiry would make explicit thesocial meanings embedded within welfare programs,meanings that tend otherwise simply to go withoutsaying. (p. 146)24The Politics of Need InterpretationFraser proposes a kind of inquiry that would do twothings simultaneously: first, it would reveal aspects of thestructure of welfare systems by identifying "underlyingnorms and assumptions that lend a measure of coherence todiverse programs and practices" and second, it would examine"the politics of need interpretation" by exposing theprocesses which construct women's needs.It could expose the processes by which welfarepractices construct women and women's needs accordingto certain specific -- and, in principle, contestable -- interpretations, even as they lend thoseinterpretations an aura of facticity that discouragescontestation. (p. 146)The ideological problems arise from the discursivecharacter of social welfare policies. Fraser argues that"needs talk" is the medium now used to construct policy.That is, policy discussions are organized around talk aboutwhat various people need and who should have a say in thematter of policy-making.Needs talk functions as a medium for the making andcontesting of political claims: it is an idiom in whichpolitical conflict is played out and through whichinequalities are symbolically elaborated andchallenged. (p. 161-62).Fraser calls for a "more politically critical,discourse-oriented alternative" to examining policy.Social-welfare issues, Fraser suggests, are often presentedas if the definition of the needs in question were self-evident and beyond dispute. Most approaches to policy25analysis do not focus on the politics of constructing needand as a result ignore the fact that the interpretation ofpeople's needs is itself a political matter. Fraserdescribes this as "the politics of need interpretation".This way of framing issues poses obstacles for feministpolitics, since at the heart of such politics liequestions about what various groups of women reallyneed and whose interpretations of women's needs shouldbe authoritative. Only in terms of a discourseoriented to the politics of need interpretation canfeminists meaningfully intervene in the coming welfarewars. But this requires a challenge to the dominantpolicy framework. (Fraser, p. 145)Given the central role of needs talk in policy making,Fraser calls for research which illuminates the often taken-for-granted needs claims within dominant policy frameworks.In challenging dominant policy frameworks, feminist analysesmust bring into view the relational structure of needsclaims.It is the implication of needs claims in contestednetworks of in-order-to relations to which I callattention when I speak of the politics of needinterpretation. (Fraser, p. 163).Needs claims implicitly or explicitly have the form "Aneeds Z in order to Y". Fraser suggests that whendiscussions about needs are at a "thin" level, there are fewproblems. For example, in a "thin" discussion abouthomeless peoples' needs, there would be little dispute thathomeless people who do not live in tropical climates needsome kind of shelter in order to survive. But soon as thediscussion moves on to a "thick" discussion about what kindof shelter is required and who should be responsible for26providing it, then needs claims become more contested andcontroversial.Fraser emphasizes that her approach is not about needsthemselves, but about the discourses various groups andinterests produce about needs. She contrasts her focus onthe politics of need interpretation with what is usuallyunderstood to underlie the politics of needs - a concern forthe distribution of satisfactions.Fraser outlines three analytically distinct butpractically intermingled struggles within the politics ofneed interpretation. First, there is the struggle to secureor to deny the political status of a need. In this struggletraditional boundaries between public and private are oftenchallenged. The second kind of struggle is for the power todefine a need, and thus to determine how to satisfy it.These struggles often involve challenges to the apparentlynatural, traditional interpretations still enveloping needsas they move from the domestic and private realm to thepolitical.^Third, there is the struggle over thesatisfaction of the need which includes efforts to empowerwomen to determine their own needs and the satisfaction ofthese needs.Oppositional movements play a major role in the firststruggle to move needs onto the political agenda. Forexample, the feminist movement has struggled to move theproblem of wife abuse out of the private and domestic realmonto the political agenda. As feminists attempt to27politicize needs, they face fixed assumptions within male-dominated, capitalist societies about what is of a public orpolitical, as compared to a domestic or private nature.Women's issues are often viewed as being located within theprivate, domestic realm.Fraser has found that domestic institutions such as thefamily and economic institutions such as paid workplaces andcorporations are also involved in the resistance topoliticization of women's needs. These institutionsdepoliticize matters by either "familializing" them or"economizing" them, thus preventing them from beingconsidered as public, political matters. These boundariescan be and are disrupted and challenged, however, whenalternative, oppositional and politicized interpretationsemerge in their stead.A Plurality of Needs DiscoursesWithin the political struggle over needs interpretationvarious interests produce a plurality of discourses aboutneeds. Fraser has identified three major needs discourseswhich she calls oppositional, reprivatization, and expert."Oppositional needs discourses" offer alternativeinterpretations and create new "discourse publics".Feminist and other social movements have played a major rolein creating oppositional needs discourses which contest28established categorizations such as "domestic" or "economic"and which offer alternative interpretations."Reprivatization needs discourses" are produced in aneffort to maintain previous boundaries and contain needs inthe domestic or economic realm. These discourses are oftena reactive attempt to depoliticize the needs identified bythe work of social movements. Business and government areoften producers of reprivatization discourses."Expert needs discourses" are those which translateneeds into objects of potential state intervention. Fraserhas found that expert needs discourses often act as bridgediscourses because they link social movements to the state.Professionals who work in state institutions are oftenproducers of expert or bridge needs discourses.As Fraser has worked to classify the needs talk foundwithin the contested terrain of policy making, she has alsoidentified the moments of tension when different interestswhich construct different versions of needs compete. Oneaxis involves the struggle over the politicization of needs.The contestants in this struggle are often social movementswho employ oppositional needs discourses and interests suchas business and government who employ reprivatization needsdiscourses. In the process of politicizing a need or needs,groups such as women or workers are contesting theirsubordinate status and creating new forms of discourse.These efforts are often met with attempts to defend old29boundaries between public and private and to cut back onsocial-welfare services.Another axis involves struggles over the interpretedcontent of contested needs once their political status hasbeen secured. The main contestants are, once again, socialmovements and organized interests such as business, whichboth try to influence public policy. Fraser uses theexample of day care to illustrate the differentinterpretations involved in this axis of struggle. Somewould argue that day care helps poor children and servestheir "need" for enrichment. Others argue that day carehelps single mothers get off welfare, thereby reducingwelfare costs. A third view suggests that day care can helpbusinesses and employers improve their productivity.Finally, a fourth perspective is that day care helps womenby redistributing resources and therefore easing theirworkload. Many parties are involved here, includingfeminist organizations, employer groups and children'srights advocates.A third axis of needs struggle comes into being whenthe satisfaction of politicized needs points to theinvolvement of the state. Here the struggle is betweenpolitics and administration. These struggles are usuallyfound in the various private and semi-public institutions.Fraser identifies a number of different discourses producedin this struggle as various experts suggest the mostappropriate response to satisfying the need or needs. These30include the social science discourses of universities, thelegal discourses of judicial institutions, theadministrative discourses of various agencies of the state,and therapeutic discourses which circulate in public andprivate medical and social service agencies.The production of expert or public policy discoursesoften involves professions such as law and psychiatry.Social movements can also become involved when they use theknowledge of these professions or when the members of thesemovements are also professionals, who then createoppositional segments of expert public policy discourse. Anexample is women who have become lawyers and are workingwithin the profession to create expert discourses thatchallenge traditional judicial arguments.Fraser suggests that such discourses often becomebridge discourses, linking social movements to the state.For the most part, expert or public policy discourses areadministrative in that they translate politicized needs intoadministrable needs. In the process, however, these needscan become decontextualized, that is, abstracted from theirgender, race and class specificity. This translationprocess also repositions those whose needs are beingredefined so that they become individual cases instead ofmembers of a group. As people are redefined as individualcases, they become recipients of predefined services ratherthan agents who interpret their own needs and constructservices to meet those needs.3132By virtue of this administrative rhetoric, expert needsdiscourses, too, tend to be depoliticizing. Theyconstrue persons simultaneously as rational utilitymaximizers and as causally conditioned, predictable,and manipulable objects, thereby screening out thosedimensions of human agency that involve theconstruction and deconstruction of social meanings.Moreover, when expert needs discourses areinstitutionalized in state apparatuses, they tend tobecome normalizing, aimed at "reforming," or more oftenstigmatizing "deviancy." (p. 174)The feminist struggle to politicize the issue of childcare is a useful example of the various interests which cometogether along different axes of struggle and of the typesof needs discourses outlined by Fraser. Placing the issueof child care on the public-policy agenda has been a focusof feminist efforts for many years. These efforts involvechallenges to old boundaries which had kept the issue firmlywithin the domestic or familial realm. Much of the argumentby various organizations within the women's movementrepresents an oppositional discourse, one which argues thatthe caring of children should not be the sole responsibilityof women, but should be considered a national and publicresponsibility. Efforts have also been made to create a"bridge" discourse which translates the issue of child careinto a demand for state intervention. For example, childcare advocates are asking for a national government-fundedchild care system.Resistance to this challenge to old boundaries and tomaking child care a political issue is evident in thefederal government's response, which has attempted todepoliticize and reprivatize child care. This responserepresents an effort to familialize child care through theintroduction of new child care tax credits, the provision ofallowances to cover child care costs for women ingovernment-funded training programs, and the introduction ofexpanded parental leave coverage with changes to theUnemployment Insurance Act. More recently, the governmenthas clearly stated that a national child care policy willnot be forthcoming.The government's position has been supported byarguments grounded in concerns for fiscal responsibility andthe necessity of cutbacks in spending to reduce the nationaldeficit. This rationalization also represents an effort toeconomize the debate about child care. The neo-conservativeagendas of other groups have also contributed to thedepoliticization and familialization of child care, bringingin another kind of reprivatization discourse, one basedprimarily on arguments about the trauma to children of non-parental care.A Model of Social DiscourseFraser has developed a model of social discourse whichassumes the multivalent and contested character of needstalk. In her model, Fraser describes the "socioculturalmeans of interpretation and communication" or "MIC".^TheMIC refers to "the historically and culturally specificensemble of discursive resources available to members of a33given social collectivity in pressing claims against oneanother" (p. 164). She includes among these discursiveresources the following (p. 164-165):1. The officially recognized idioms in which one canpress claims, for example "needs talk", "rights talk","interests talk".2. The vocabularies available for instantiating claimsin these recognized idioms; thus, with respect to needstalk, therapeutic vocabularies, administrativevocabularies, religious vocabularies, feministvocabularies, or socialist vocabularies are availablefor interpreting and communicating one's needs.3. The paradigms of argumentation accepted asauthoritative in adjudicating conflicting claims; thus,with respect to needs talk, the methods for resolvingconflicts over the interpretation of needs may includeappeals to scientific experts, brokered compromises,voting according to majority rule, or privileging theinterpretations of those whose needs are in question.4. The narrative conventions available forconstructing the individual and collective stories thatare constitutive of people's social identities.5. Modes of subjectification - the ways in whichvarious discourses position the people to whom they areaddressed as specific sorts of subjects endowed withspecific sorts of capacities for action; for example,as "normal" or "deviant," as causally conditioned orfreely self-determining, as victims or as potentialactivists, as unique individuals or as members ofsocial groups.These means of communication are not part of a coherentweb, but rather are multiple and diverse. Fraser cautions,however, that they are not simply pluralist, but stratifiedand differentiated by unequal status, power, and access toresources, and organized along lines of class, gender, race,ethnicity and age. Needs talk, therefore, is a struggleamong different groups with unequal resources.34... needs talk appears as a site of struggle wheregroups with unequal discursive (and nondiscursive)resources compete to establish as hegemonic theirrespective interpretations of legitimate social needs.Dominant groups articulate need interpretationsintended to exclude, defuse, and/or co-opt counter-interpretations. Subordinate or oppositional groups,on the other hand, articulate need interpretationsintended to challenge, displace, and/or modify dominantones. In neither case are the interpretations simply"representations." In both cases, rather, they are actsand interventions. (p. 166)Fraser has called the place where these struggles occur"the social" - a highly contested political arena which isoutside of the familiar institutionalized spaces of familyand official economy. She sees "the social" as not exactlyequivalent to the traditional public sphere, nor anextension of the state. Rather, it is the place where"runaway needs" are debated. The state may become involvedas attempts are made to develop interventions to satisfythese needs.The social is a site of discourse about people's needs,specifically about those needs that have broken out ofthe domestic and/or official economic spheres thatearlier contained them as "private matters". Thus, thesocial is a site of discourse about problematic needs,needs that have come to exceed the apparently (but notreally) self-regulating domestic and official economicinstitutions of male-dominated, capitalist societies.(p. 156).Fraser's Analysis of the U.S. Social Welfare SystemFraser charges mainstream policy analysts with beingblind to the feminized terrain and the unmistakable gendersubtext of social welfare policies which reflects a commoncore of assumptions about the sexual division of labour and35the division between the domestic and public spheres. Shehas identified two subsystems of the welfare state:masculine and feminine.The "masculine" subsystem consists of programs likeunemployment insurance where the normative ideal-type ismale. The recipients of these programs are seen as"workers" with "rights". They are purchasing consumers. Inthe "feminine" subsystem, which includes programs likewelfare, the ideal-type is seen as female. They areregarded not as consumers, but as beneficiaries or clientsof public charity. They do not have "rights" like thosereceiving unemployment insurance.Fraser sees the welfare state as having linked togethera series of juridical, administrative and therapeuticprocedures to form a structure that she calls the "JAT".Within this structure, political issues such as poverty aretranslated into legal, administrative or therapeutic issuesthereby depoliticizing them. There is also a strongtendency for feminine social welfare programs to redefinegender-political and political-economic problems intopsychological problems. As a result, the clients of thesystem must be "fixed" in order to bring them into line withtheir administratively defined situation.Fraser argues that the effect of the JAT is todisempower people. The system identifies individuals as"cases" and ignores the reality of the oppression of groupsof people by a dominant order. It imposes definitions of36need which deny any attempts at self-definition or self-determination. The "clients" are rendered passive and theirdiscontent becomes a focus of adjustment, rather than of anyconsciousness raising effort. In this way, the socialwelfare system "... substitutes the monological,administrative process of need definition for dialogical,participatory processes of need interpretation" (Fraser,1989, p. 156).Distinguishing Good from Bad Needs InterpretationsFraser claims that it is possible to distinguish betterfrom worse needs interpretations. She cautions that it isnot simply a matter of matching the interpretation with the"true" nature of the need, nor of indicating that oneparticular group has a privileged standpoint.I claim we can distinguish better from worseinterpretations of people's needs. To say that needsare culturally constructed and discursively interpretedis not to say that any need interpretation is as goodas any other. On the contrary, it is to underline theimportance of an account of interpretive justification.(Fraser, p. 181)She identifies two distinct considerations when judgingneeds interpretations: procedures and consequences.Procedural considerations refer to "the social processes bywhich various competing need interpretations are generated"(p. 182). Attention should be given to two key issues: theinclusivity of needs discourses and the relations among theinterlocutors (e.g. hierarchical or egalitarian). Fraser37suggests that the best needs interpretations are those whichhave been constructed in a process that is fair, democraticand equal.The second consideration is the consequences of needinterpretations. Attention should be given to a number ofissues: whether acceptance of a needs interpretation woulddisadvantage some groups and advantage others, whether theinterpretation reinforces or challenges relations ofdomination, and whether it rationalizes inequality. Whenconsidering consequences, "the best need interpretations arethose that do not disadvantage some groups of people vis-a-vis others" (p. 182).For Fraser, the struggle over needs interpretation ishere to stay. Feminists, as political agents, must operatein this new terrain. Research into this struggle, Fraserargues, should aim to "... clarify the prospects ofdemocratic and egalitarian social change by sorting out theemancipatory from the repressive possibilities of needstalk" (P. 183).Applying Fraser's Framework To The AnalysisThe concern in this study was to explore the difficultand contradictory work of the adult educators working inthree government-funded job-entry programs for women.Several of Fraser's key notions and concepts have been takenup in the analysis of this study. Generally speaking, I38have attempted to examine the ideological and structuralforces influencing the process of interpreting women's needsat both the macro and the micro level.More specifically I have examined the policy context inorder, as Fraser has argued, to "... identify someunderlying norms and assumptions that lend a measure ofcoherence to diverse programs and practices". Attention hasbeen given to revealing the dominant needs discourse and thegendered subtext of the policy and how women's needs havebeen interpreted within this framework.I have also attempted to illuminate the contested andcontextual character of the process of interpreting women'sneeds and the plurality of needs discourses employed by thestaff and the process of constructing these variousinterpretations. Specific attention has been given to howthis process is characterized by unequal access toresources, particularly how the gender, class and race ofthe staff and trainees influenced the process of needsinterpretation.I have also attempted to consider the implications ofthe analysis for the three main struggles outlined byFraser: politicizing women's needs, bringing a feministperspective to the interpretation of these needs, andarguing about how these needs will be satisfied.39CHAPTER THREEGATHERING INFORMATIONI suggest we recognize that if there were some simplerecipe we could follow and prescribe in order toproduce powerful research and research agendas, no onewould have to go through the difficult and sometimespainful - if always exciting - processes of learninghow to see and create ourselves and the world in theradically new forms demanded by our feminist theoriesand practices. (Harding, 1987, p. 33)This chapter outlines the process of gatheringinformation for this study -- a process which, as Hardingsuggests, involves learning how to see. The discussionbegins with a review of discussions by several feministscholars regarding feminist approaches to social inquiry.The remainder of the chapter outlines the selection processfor identifying programs to be included in the study, themethods used, my role as researcher, and ethicalconsiderations.Towards a Feminist SociologyAs was mentioned in the first chapter, Smith'sarguments for a sociology for women has greatly influencedboth the theoretical and methodological approach taken upfor this study. Smith has developed a particular approachto gathering information about women's everyday world andthe complex of social relations shaping that experiencewhich she calls "institutional ethnography". She contrasts4041this approach with standard ethnographic research whichdescribes a local setting as if it were a self-containedunit of analysis. Smith argues instead for inquiries whichlocate the dynamics of local setting within the complexinstitutional relations giving shape to the local dynamics.According to Smith, there are three main features ofinstitutional ethnography. First, attention must be givento the ideological procedures which render work organizationaccountable. Second, institutional ethnography involves aprocess of exploring how individuals are involved in theproduction of their everyday world and how this process isorganized by and sustains institutional practices. Thethird feature of this approach is the concern for socialrelations organizing the everyday world of work.Smith's cautions that institutional ethnography shouldnot be considered as a single fieldwork enterprise, rather,it is part of a larger project which "grapples with theactualities of extensive social relations ... taken up byinquiries opening up a number of different windows,disclosing a number of different viewpoints from which theworking of a whole complex of relational processes come intoview" (Smith, 1987, p. 177). The ultimate goal of Smith'ssociology is to provide methods of making women's experienceaccountable to themselves and other women, rather than tothe ruling apparatus.Harding's (1987) discussions about feminist methodsalso contributed to my decision-making about the42information-gathering process. She argues that there existthree basic information-collecting techniques: talking withand listening to people, observing them and historicalanalysis. Harding's position is that what is distinctiveabout feminist research is its focus on gender, theidentification of research problems based on women'sexperiences, and the recognition of the researcher,particularly her race, class and gender assumptions, as acritical element of the study. Harding proposes that theconcern of feminist researchers should be not to search fora distinct feminist method, but rather to identify sourcesof power.Similar arguments are made by Lather (1991) whosuggests that "to do feminist research is to put the socialconstruction of gender at the center of one's inquiry" (p.71). Lather, however, does suggest that there are aspectsof gathering information that are distinctly feminist. Inparticular, empowering approaches to inquiry should be basedon reciprocity between researcher and researched whichinvolves a dialogical and interactive information collectionprocess. Achieving reciprocity involves self-disclosure onthe part of the researcher, sequential interviewing to allowfor deeper probing of research issues, and negotiatingmeaning through recycling description and sharing with theparticipants emerging analysis and conclusions.As I have gathered information for this inquiry, I haveattempted to respond to the aforementioned concerns outlined43by Smith, Harding and Lather. I have used the three basicmethods outlined by Harding to gather information: Ilistened to what people had to say, I observed their workand I examined documents. Specifically, I gatheredinformation through in-depth tape-recorded interviews of theprogram staff lasting from one to two hours, informalfollow-up discussions with the staff both in person and bytelephone, participant and nonparticipant observations oflifeskills classes, informal discussions with trainees, andanalysis of documents.Selecting the Programs for StudyThis study involved a comparative analysis of the workof adult educators from three different programs, ratherthan an in-depth study of one program. Having had theopportunity to study one program in detail during my work asa research assistant, I found myself wanting to know whatwas happening in other programs as well. I also hademployed a comparative approach for my masters thesis(Bereday, 1964), which examined the feminist notion ofconsciousness raising and Freire's notion ofconscientization (Butterwick, 1987). The outcome was agreater understanding of the principles of consciousnessraising that seemed to transcend specific situations.My decision to employ a comparative approach was thusbased on my previous positive experience with this approach44and my belief that a comparison, rather than an in-depthstudy of one program, would provide a richer understandingof the politics of needs interpretation. Using acomparative approach has allowed me to identify commonthemes present in different situations. It has also allowedme to identify differences, in particular the differentinterpretations of women's needs produced by the staff.The identification of the programs included in thisstudy was facilitated by my links with a feminist advocacygroup which had been formed to examine labour market policyand its impact on women. Most of the members of this groupwere providers of CJS programs and were familiar with otherswho were also running CJS programs. I asked several membersto recommend programs in which the staff were committed todeveloping a program within the constraints of the CJSpolicy which could address women's needs. From theirresponses, I generated a list of several CJS re-entryprograms. Time constraints and limited resources obliged meto consider only programs in the geographical area in whichI lived. In the end, six programs were identified.A letter was sent to the coordinator of each of theprograms, describing my research and what would be involvedif the staff decided to participate (see Appendix A).Follow-up phone calls were made and three programs whichwould allow me access and which had indicated an interest inparticipating were selected.45The selection of these three programs was influenced bya number of concerns, in addition to that of access. Threeprograms seemed a manageable number for one researcher. Thethree programs were similar enough to allow for comparisons:all programs were funded by the same CJS program, all weremanaged by the same regional office of Canada Employment,and all were provided by non-profit agencies. They werealso sufficiently differentiated by the variety of skillstraining provided, their client focus and length oftraining.The Process of Gathering InformationAs the focus of this study was the work of severalwomen running job-entry programs and the role they played inthe political struggle over the interpretation of women'sneeds, it was important to hear their descriptions of whatthey do in their everyday work, and to ask them about theirperspectives of the policy under which the programs werefunded, about their relations with the government departmentresponsible for implementing the programs and about theirwork with the trainees.I conducted a total of 13 interviews. The interviewswere open-ended, but to aid in asking questions, I used aninterview schedule which outlined several key areas I wantedto cover (see Appendix B). With one exception, all theparticipants agreed to have the interview tape-recorded. In46the latter case, detailed notes were taken and atranscription was produced and returned to the intervieweefor comment. All tape-recorded interviews were transcribed,and individuals were given pseudonyms to ensureconfidentiality.Copies of the transcriptions of the tape-recordedinterviews were provided to each of the interviewees. Thepurpose of this was to allow the practitioners to elaborateor even change the responses they had given if they sodesired. A further reason was to provide the participantswith copies of their accounts in the form that would be usedin the analysis. Seeing the discussion in the form of atranscript helped the interviewees to see the text that wascreated from these interviews. As it turned out, only oneof the participants wished to make any changes and that wasto elaborate on a particular point and to fill in where thequality of the recording had been poor. Most did comment,however, on how different it looked to have their verbalreplies produced in a written form.I also visited the sites of their practice andobserved, where possible, the work that the staff wasengaged in. All three programs had a "lifeskills" componentin the curriculum, which seemed an appropriate place andtime to collect information about the staff's classroompractice and to observe the interactions between and amongtrainees and staff. Other important sources of informationincluded the proposals developed by the staff and the47curriculum materials they used in their teaching. Theinitial contact and field work covered a period ofapproximately one year beginning, in 1990 and extending into1991.In order to further understand the work of runningthese programs, I also examined the policy under which theseprograms were funded. To this end, I collected and analysedCJS documents and related background material. I also spokewith CEIC staff who were directly involved in decision-making regarding CJS re-entry programs for women. Thesediscussions helped to illuminate the process of decision-making, particularly how proposals were developed and howdecisions about funding were reached. In addition, I spoketo a women's representative who sat with otherrepresentatives from business and labour on a council whichgave advice to local CEIC managers about labour marketprogramming. I was interested to hear about her experiencesof these advisory structures and their relationship todecision-making.Focus of the Data Collection ProcessIt is important to clarify the boundaries andlimitations of the methods used to gather information forthis study. Although both interviews and observations arefrequently identified as ethnographic techniques, thisresearch cannot be considered a traditional ethnography.48The information collected was partial.^It focused mainlyon one group of participants, the adult educators runningthe programs, and on the policy context in which theprograms were funded. Several visits were made to each ofthe programs, but I did not observe all the variousactivities taking place. It would have been both difficultand inappropriate to observe some activities such as privatecounselling sessions between staff and trainees and meetingsbetween staff and CEIC personnel. I also did not collectthe kind of information that would have been available if Ihad maintained contact with the programs from the beginningof proposal writing to the graduation of the trainees.Another important limitation to this study is myrelationship with the trainees. Although I spoke informallywith the trainees during my visits to the programs, I didnot undertake to do in-depth interviews with them. Thisdoes not mean that I considered the trainees unimportant. Iwas very concerned to observe how the staff and traineesinteracted and to hear their talk when I visited theprograms. The focus of this study, however, is the work ofthe staff, those women who ran the three CJS-funded job-entry programs for women, and it is their accounts of theirwork that I attended to.It is also important to understand that this study isnot about uncovering women's needs per se. Rather, it isabout the interpretation of needs produced by adulteducators in the provision of programs. Again, this is not49to say that the trainees' interpretation of their needs isnot important. A focus on the interpretation orconstruction of women's needs produced by the adulteducators and staff within these programs raises importantquestions about the role the trainees play or should play inthe creation of curriculum and activities that will trulyempower women.Ethical ConsiderationsThere are many ethical considerations to be addressedin any research project, including informing theparticipants of the nature and purpose of the study andproviding for their protection from possible risks. Writtenand verbal descriptions of the nature and purpose of thisresearch were provided to all participants and writtenconsent was obtained (see Appendix C). I explained that Iwould keep all information collected in my confidence exceptwhere disclosure to my research committee members wasnecessary. Given the political and competitive nature offunding for such programs, care was taken to anticipate andavoid any embarrassment of or sanctions against the subjectsof the study. I used pseudonyms to identify subjects andwork locations.^A summary of the study will be sent toparticipants.Another critical ethical issue is the process ofknowledge building and whether, as Lather has argued, the50process I engaged in was a reciprocal one. As I becameinvolved with each of the programs I included in mydiscussion with the staff, to the extent that timeconstraints allowed, ideas and issues that were emerging asthe study progressed. Their reactions to these suggestionswere very important for furthering my work. I alsocontinued to be an active member of both local and nationalfeminist advocacy groups, where I employed my analysis andtheoretical knowledge to help further our work and developstrategies for influencing policy.Finally, some discussion is required regarding myrelationship to the participants as researcher in thisstudy. My position as both an academic researcher and amember of a feminist community that was familiar with CJSprograms and concerned with influencing policy made me bothan insider and an outsider. As an "insider", my sympathieslay with the practitioners who were the focus of this study.However, I was also an "outsider" - a doctoral studentwithin a large university, a researcher, not a member of thestaff, nor someone who was invited to study these programs.My position as a white, middle class, heterosexualwoman certainly influences how I see, hear and understandthe world. Because of my position as a privileged woman, Istruggled to pay attention to issues that I might be unawareof. At times, it was obvious that my experiences andassumptions were different from those of the participants.For the most part, I was warmly welcomed and felt51comfortable in my role as researcher. My experience didvary in important ways, however, as I visited the differentprograms. Further details of my experiences as researcherand my relationship with the staff and trainees are providedwhen each of the programs are described in chapters five,six and seven.SummaryThis chapter has outlined the process of gatheringinformation for this study. I conducted formal and informalinterviews with staff of the programs and some governmentpersonnel. Observations were made of classroom activitiesand documents such as proposals were analysed as well asother curriculum materials.In order to understand the dominant policy framework inwhich these programs were funded, I also examined the policydocuments of the Canadian Jobs Strategy and relatedgovernment material. This policy information is the focusof the next chapter.52CHAPTER FOURTHE CANADIAN JOBS STRATEGY: SERVING THOSE "MOST IN NEED"?Job Entry provides for individual needs, while at thesame time addressing local labour market requirements.It also offers unique opportunities for the businessand voluntary sectors to ensure that specific trainingprojects relate to real labour market needs and thatthe skills provided are meaningful for women and youth.(Working opportunities for people, Canadian Jobs Strategy, July 1988, p.4)In order to understand the everyday struggles of theadult educators providing the three job-entry programs, andhow these struggles are organized by social andinstitutional relations immanent in and extending beyond theeveryday, some sense of the dominant policy framework inwhich these programs were funded is necessary. EmployingFraser's approach, this chapter attempts to reveal theideological and structural aspects of the Canadian JobsStrategy. It is hoped that this examination of CJS canillustrate "the underlying norms and assumptions which lenda measure of coherence to diverse programs and practices"and illuminate how women's needs were interpreted within thedominant policy framework.Fraser has argued that "needs talk" has become themedium of welfare state policy-making and that the processof interpreting needs is characterized by unequal access toresources based on gender, race and class. In thisexamination of CJS and the context in which it wasdeveloped, I hope to illustrate a similar pattern to53decision-making that Fraser found in her examination of U.S.social welfare policies and practices. There are severalarguments I want to make in this regard.Although women's needs and those of other marginalizedgroups were addressed in this policy, they were subsumed andreinterpreted within a market-driven, neo-conservativeframework in which the primary concerns were supplying thechanging labour market with skilled workers, reducinggovernment spending and privatizing training. Furthermore,I suggest that CJS is consistent with Canada's liberalapproach to welfare state practices in that it is based onan assumption that by addressing the needs of the labourmarket, the needs of workers will be also taken care of. Ialso suggest that the structure of CJS programs wasorganized into "feminine" and "masculine" spheres.Examination of women's participation in CJS reveals thedominant masculinist ideology upon which this policy wasbased, an approach that considers worker as male and womenas 'other'. Finally, I want to indicate in the followingdiscussion the contested character of labour market policy-making in order to challenge the notion promoted bygovernment that CJS reflects a consensus of views.The discussion in this chapter is organized into twomain parts. The first half attempts to outline thehistorical, political and socio-economic developments atwork prior to the introduction of CJS in 1985. The secondhalf focuses specifically on CJS. The first part contains54three subsections beginning with a discussion of Canada'sliberal tradition of welfare state policies and practicesand also includes a brief overview of the changes in federalintervention into labour market training. The nextsubsection looks more closely at the third and latest periodof labour market interventions including the political andeconomic forces which were beginning to take shape in the1980s. The next subsection focuses on the discourse of thenewly elected Conservative government evident in several keydocuments.The second half of the chapter begins with an overviewof the main changes introduced by CJS including the programareas, decision-making and training expenditures. The nextsubsection considers these changes and points to themasculinist character of CJS and its impact on the structureand funding of women's programs. The final section reviewssome of the criticisms of CJS in order to challenge theassumption that CJS reflected a consensus of labour marketpartners.I. Prelude to CJSCanada's Welfare State Practices - A Liberal TraditionIn order to illuminate the underlying norms andassumptions upon which CJS was developed, this sectionbegins with a brief discussion of Canada's welfare statepolicies and practices, followed by a review of previous55labour market interventions. Although CJS was introduced asa completely new approach to labour market programming, itwas still consistent with a market-oriented liberal approachthat has characterized Canadian welfare state practices.There are a variety of approaches to defining what ismeant by the welfare state, but for the purposes of thisbrief overview, I have used Abler's (1988, p. 456)description.[The welfare state represents] ... a set of policyresponses to the process of modernization, consistingof political interventions into the functioning of theeconomy and the societal distribution of life chancesthat seek to promote the security and equality ofcitizens in order to foster the social integration ofhighly mobilized industrial societies.Canada has been described as a liberal welfare state(Esping-Anderson, 1989; O'Connor, 1989). The ideology ofthe liberal approach is reflected in a belief in the marketas an effective means of achieving equality and theredistribution of resources. Structurally, the socialwelfare programs of liberal states such as Canada ofteninclude means tested assistance, modest universal transfersand modest social insurance plans. In some respects, Canadadoes not fit completely into this picture with its highcivil consumption expenditures on health and education.When Canada's social transfer payments are considered,however, Canada performs poorly by OECD standards.Expenditures on housing and employment creation are alsominimal. Finally, not since the 1960's have policies beenoriented toward the goal of full employment.56The liberal character of Canada's welfare state hasbeen attributed to the strong links between the corporateelite and the state and to the fragmented and regionallyisolated character of pressure on the state by organizedlabour (Panitch, 1977). Other explanations have pointed tothe federalist approach to governing and its negativeassociations with welfare effort (Cameron, 1986), althoughsome have counter-argued that federalism supports the growthof public expenditure (Swank and Hicks, 1985). Canada'sopen economy, particularly its close relationship with thevolatile American economy, has also been associated with theliberal approach (Cameron, 1986).Against this backdrop of the liberal character ofCanada's welfare state, the development of Canadian labourmarket policies is now considered. Although the provinceshave responsibility for education, the federal governmenthas become increasingly involved in the training of workers,which have been for the most part men. Federal governmentactivities in relation to labour market and job trainingbegan at the turn of the century and can be seen as fallinginto three periods (Thomas, Taylor and Gaskin, 1989). Inthe first period, beginning with the AgriculturalInstruction Act of 1913 and extending to 1939, the focus wason promoting certain industries such as agriculture andhelping those not being served by formal schooling. Duringthe second period, beginning just prior to the Second WorldWar and extending to 1967, the focus was on training for57specific groups such as the disabled, war veterans andyouth. At this time, the government was also becoming moreactively involved with decisions about the selection oftrainees and the types of training to be offered. In thethird and present period, beginning with the AdultOccupational Training Act (AOTA) introduced in 1967, thefederal government began to increase its independentauthority over training and education and also began to dealdirectly with employers.Labour Market Training As An Economic StrategyThe third and present period of labour marketintervention is significant for it was during this time thatthe federal government began to focus on the training anddevelopment of the labour force as a key feature to itseconomic strategy (Witter, 1991). It became a buyer oftraining services which were then provided for individualswho matched federally defined eligibility criteria. Inaddition to purchasing training from public and privateinstitutions, the government also introduced job-creationprograms. Under the Basic Training for Skills DevelopmentProgram (BSTD) introduced in the late 1960s, the governmentalso introduced restrictions on the length of training, withthe maximum now defined as 52 weeks.These changes took place within a contested terraininvolving a plurality of interests including differentlevels of government, business, labour, and equality seeking58groups. Provincial institutions such as colleges andtechnical institutions argued that education was theirjurisdiction, not the federal government's. The job-creation programs were challenged as short-term with littleimpact on long-term creation of productive employment.There were also criticisms of the restrictions on the lengthof training which meant that those considered to be "most inneed" because of limited education were furthermarginalized.This most recent period of federal labour marketintervention is also significant in relation to the concernfor increasing the involvement of business and industry inthe training of its workers. Compared to other OECDcountries, Canadian industry gave little support to thetraining of workers (Economic Council of Canada, 1976,1982). In studies of participation in adult educationactivities, not only were employers reluctant to providetraining, they gave little support to women compared to men(Devereaux, 1985).In response to these concerns, particularly themismatch between shortages in critical skilled trades andhigh unemployment, the Allmand Task Force was established in1980. As a result of its report Work for Tomorrow: Employment Opportunities for the Eighties (1981), theNational Training Act (NTA) was introduced by the Liberalfederal government in 1982.59The overall objective of the NTA was to match theskills available in the labour force with the needs of thelabour market. This new legislation gave authority for thefirst time to the government to deal directly with privateand non-profit training institutions. Adult basic educationwas further marginalized under the NTA as funds were shiftedto areas where it was determined there was a "critical skillshortage" which included those occupations in which therewas a labour market demand and which were considered to beof national importance.There were three main programs initiated under the NTA.The National Institutional Training Program involved thedirect purchase of courses from community colleges andvocational schools. The National Industrial TrainingProgram included employer-centred training based on ashared-cost incentive. The Skills Growth Fund providedcapital to provincial governments and non-profitorganizations to establish, develop, and expand facilitiesfor training for occupations of national importance.This new act also identified women, natives anddisabled people as new "target" groups with attention givento ensuring that the employability and/or earning capacityof these participants be increased and that their access totraining be improved. In order to assist women to enter thelabour market, particularly those occupations considered tobe in demand, employers were to be reimbursed for 75% ofwages paid to women in return for on-the-job training.60Through the National Industrial Training Program seats werereserved for women in non-traditional courses.As with previous federal interventions, there were manycriticisms. With the actual numbers of women in non-traditional training declining under the NTP, women'sorganizations pointed to the ineffectiveness of the seatreservation policy (CCLOW, 1984). Seat reservations, it wasargued, would have no effect unless this approach was tiedto aggressive recruitment campaigns. Women's groups alsonoted that the policy of reimbursing employers had limitedimpact. Both of these efforts were considered to be neutralrather than proactive measures which neither promoted norencouraged women to take non-traditional training nor didthey push employers to support women's training.Labour organizations were also critical of the NTP withthe Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) arguing that no attemptwas made to ensure that those taking programs would findemployment. The CLC also supported the notion of moreflexible programs and child care subsidies for women.Others criticisms pointed to the confusing array of programswhich were poorly coordinated.Business and industry were also critical, arguing thatthe policy had not been effective in reducing the gapbetween the training provided by the public sector and theneeds of the labour market. As industry struggled to findtrained workers, employers in the primary and secondary61sectors began to withdraw their support for stateintervention.Economic Restructuring and Changes to Supply and DemandMany of these concerns were emerging at the same timeas Canada's economy and international markets wereundergoing significant restructuring. Canada's economy wasmoving away from a resource based economy toward a servicesector economy with associated structural unemployment andchanges in the skills and workers required in the neweconomy. For example, by the 1980s, all of the net jobcreation was occurring within the service sector (EconomicCouncil of Canada, 1990).With these changes, there were shifts occurring in boththe supply of workers and the demands of the labour market(Labour Market Development in the 1980s, 1981). There wassignificant reduction in labour force growth (less than 2%)and also significant changes in its character, with women'sparticipation increasing by 70%, men's by 40% and youthdeclining by 10%. In addition to these new entrants, thelabour force was also aging, with a significantly higherproportion of workers who were over 55 years of age.Along with the change in supply of workers, it was alsopredicted that the demand for workers would shift away fromthe primary industries toward non-residential construction,capital goods, communication and information, hightechnology and the business services sector. Further62changes were also predicted in the industrial base ofcentral Canada which would require major labour marketadjustment. It was also noted that there would be increasedinternational competition in standard technology goodsindustries employing a high proportion of unskilled workerswhich would result in declining opportunities for theseworkers.As the demand for more and different kinds of trainingof workers was emerging, there were also calls forsignificant changes to funding, particularly interventionsthat would encourage employers to train their own workers(Report of the Royal Commission on the Economic Union andDevelopment Prospects of Canada, 1984). It was argued that"substantial changes in financing mechanisms [be made] inorder to create a more competitive, dynamic and diversifiedsystem". Many of the recommendations argued for wagesubsidies to employers to compensate for their costs relatedto providing entry-level training.In addition to discussions about how to establish newfunding mechanisms, how to increase the involvement of theprivate sector in training and how to determine the trainingneeds given the shifting economy, there were also concernsabout how policies could address issues of inequality inemployment opportunities (Abella, 1984). Given theformidable barriers to equality for the "designated groups",including women, a massive policy response to systemicdiscrimination had to be initiated.63How were these economic and political pressures beingaddressed by the newly elected Conservative government? Thedominant concerns of the government can be detected byexamining several documents released by the Conservativesprior to the initiation of CJS in 1985.The Neo-Conservative AgendaOne of the first issues addressed by the newly electedConservative government was labour market policy andprograms. In 1984, the government released the ConsultationPaper on Training which they described as a tool tostimulate business, labour and "individual Canadians" toconsider the trends and challenges facing Canada as a resultof economic restructuring. Three main concerns werethreaded throughout the text of this paper: efficiency,effectiveness and equity.The Conservatives indicated that the central challengefor the new government was to respond to the increasingdemand for retraining because of technological and economicchanges at a time when resources were shrinking. Thegovernment claimed that although retraining was importantmore funds would not be available, and therefore effortswere to be made toward improving the effectiveness oftraining dollars. A related concern was how best toincrease the involvement of the private sector with businessand labour frequently cited as key players in the process of64deciding what kinds of training would be important and wherethis training should take place.The focus on effectiveness and equity was also taken upwithin the discussion of whether the "right people" werebeing trained with particular attention given to youngpeople, adult workers facing major career shifts, andspecial groups including "women, Native Canadians, thedisabled and visible minorities" (p. iv). The governmentclaimed that assisting these groups would be an efficientuse of resources because they were "comparatively under-trained in relation to the likely pay-off from furthertraining". The government also indicated that many "womenwould benefit if training were structured to meet theirneeds in such areas as flexible scheduling and child carearrangements".Different funding strategies were also being exploredas the government discussed the roles and responsibilitiesof providers which were identified as employers, unions,individuals, educational institutions and governments. Thegovernment argued that as the links between workplace andtraining become blurred, greater cooperation was neededbetween interested parties. More specifically, it statedthat federal and provincial interventions should becomplementary and employers must play a larger role indetermining the priorities of educational institutions. Italso stated that "different arrangements" among the partieswere necessary in order to deal with the anticipated65increase in training without a corresponding increase infunding.In the final section of the Training Paper two possibleresponses to the changing supply and demand for workers wereoutlined. The first strategy was described as a "strategyof renewal", which would concentrate on improving theexisting arrangements covered under federal programs andpolicies. Such a strategy would maintain policies such asgovernment support to community colleges. The secondstrategy was described as one of "balance and newdirections", in which more attention would be given todeveloping different options than the traditional industrialand institutional training. Here, the government's labourmarket policy direction became clearly visible. This secondstrategy would reflect the reality of spending restraint andshift funding to those areas where the need for federalsupport was clearest, such as training for the transitionfrom school to work, training for the unemployed and specialgroups, and training related to major career shifts.Regardless of the strategy selected, the paper indicatedthat priority should be given to "... consultation,cooperation, flexibility and support of innovation".Further evidence of the Conservative approach to labourmarket intervention could be seen in their Agenda forEconomic Renewal released in 1984. This document outlinedthree central principles upon which labour market policywould be based: first, the best way to create jobs is66through private initiative; second, good government does notmean more government, it means more efficient government;and third, Canadian economic prosperity depends uponrestoring responsibility to government finances.Other clues as to the Conservative agenda were revealedat the First Ministers' Conference in February 1985 whereEmployment Opportunities: Preparing Canadians for a Better Future was released. This document further outlined the thegovernment's priorities in relation to labour market policy:support for small businesses and entrepreneurship, flexibleprogramming that was responsive to regional needs, sharedresponsibility between government and the private sector,commitment to equality of access, and simplification ofprograms.The focus on fiscal restraint as the key to economicrenewal was further emphasized at the National EconomicConference in March of 1985, which included representativesfrom business, labour, and consumers', women's and seniors'groups as well as government officials. The governmentargued that deficit reduction was the best approach tosatisfying the need for economic renewal and job creation.Given this prelude to CJS, the second half of thischapter will look at the programs, decision-making andexpenditures of CJS with particular attention given toexamining how the ideology and structure of CJS reflected amasculinist approach to labour market programming.II. The Canadian Jobs StrategyIn June of 1985, CJS was formally introduced anddescribed by CEIC as:... a whole new approach to training Canadians - acomplete redesign of the government's labour marketprograms and a fundamental change in the way we developand invest in our most important resource - individualCanadians. (CEIC, Annual Report, 1985-1986, p. 18)The main differences introduced in relation to theprevious labour market programs of the NTP was the focus onemployability of workers, rather than direct job-creation.Other changes included the decentralization of decision-making, and the private sector orientation in theimplementation of training. Concerns for particulardisadvantaged groups such as women, people with disabilitiesand native peoples, had been part of the NTP.This continued under CJS but was organized around a moreselective mode of programming.Serving Those Most In NeedUnder NTP, programs had been defined in terms ofspecific labour market problems such as seasonal orstructural employment. With CJS a "programming" approachwas adopted with specific programs developed to serve those"most in need" which were identified as the following: thelong-term unemployed; those having difficulty entering the6768labour market, particularly youth and women; workersthreatened by technological or market changes; employersneeding workers with skills in short supply; and non-metropolitan communities facing high unemployment and majorlayoffs or plant closures. Six program areas wereidentified in response to these designated groups: jobdevelopment, job entry, skills investment, skill shortages,community futures and innovations.The following descriptions and parameters where takenfrom Working Opportunities for People (Employment andImmigration Canada, WH3-725/7/88). Participation rates forwomen were reported by Prince and Rice (1989) and taken fromDepartmental Expenditure Plans, (Employment and ImmigrationCanada, 1988-89, p. 3.42).^Examining these descriptions ofeligibility criteria and financial support among the sixprogram areas together with the participation rates of womenhelps to reveal the gendered character of the CJS policy.The implications of these differences are discussed later inthis chapter.Job Development was a program area developed for thelong-term unemployed and included both general projects andindividually subsidized jobs. Programs could be up to 52weeks long and could include on-site training with anemployer and/or off-site training at a training institute.Those sponsoring projects could receive wage subsidies of upto 100%, to a maximum of $7.50 per hour. Forty six percentof participants in these programs were women.69Job Entry was a program with several options developedto help new employees enter the labour market. The Entryoption provided training and work experience for youth.Eligible participants were "unemployed youth out of schoolfor at least three months and lacking a post-secondarydegree or diploma". The Re-entry option provided both on-the-job and classroom training for women who were havingdifficulty making the transition from home to work.Eligible participants included "women having difficultymaking a successful transition into the labour force, i.e.obtaining employment that realistically meets both theirexpectations and the local labour market needs, due to alack of adequate training and/or work experience". Notsurprisingly, 100% of the participants in Re-entry programswere women.The Severely Employment-Disadvantaged option providedon- and off-the-job training for persons facing significantbarriers in securing and maintaining employment. An"unemployed severely employment-disadvantaged person" wasdefined as someone who faced "significant barriers insecuring and maintaining employment for such reasons as poorwork habits; attitudinal or motivational problems; a seriouslack of education/training; functional illiteracy; prolongedperiods of institutionalization; a history of drug oralcohol abuse; or a lack of ability to communicate in eitherofficial language". Co-ordinators would receive funds topay for participant allowances as well as other related70costs including wages of staff, employment related costs,overhead costs, off-site training costs and participatingcosts for disabled participants.The Skills Investment program provided financialassistance to employers to train employees to adapt tochanging technological and competitive conditions.Financial assistance was provided to employers for up to 60%of wages or up to $7.50 per hour per participant. Fundingwas also provided for training costs but in a substantiallyhigher amount than the Entry program.In the Skill Shortages program, training costs, wagesubsidies and other allowances were provided to employers"to train employed or unemployed persons in areas ofregional or potential occupational skill shortages".Eligible employees were newly hired workers capable ofundertaking designated occupational training. Financialassistance included up to 60% of weekly wages paid duringoff-the-job training and up to $7.50 per hour during on-the-job training. As with the Skills Investment program, $20per hour per participant was available for the trainingportion. This program had the lowest participation rate ofwomen at eight percent.The Community Futures program was developed to helpcommunities adjust to the changing economic environment andexpand permanent employment. Those communities consideredeligible were "non-metropolitan areas in greatest need withexceptionally high unemployment". Five program options were71available to communities: Business Development Centres,Self-employment Incentive, Relocation and Travel Assistance,Direct Purchase of Training, or Community Initiatives Fund.Thirty six percent of participants in Community Futuresprograms were women.One additional program, the Innovations program wasestablished to provide financial assistance to pilotprojects and other short-term activities testing new andcost-effective ways to improve the functioning of theCanadian labour market.CJS Decision-making Processes Another change introduced by CJS was thedecentralization of decision-making to the regions andincreased consultation with employers and the businesssector. Examining the processes of decision-making furtherillustrates that the dominant concern was the needs ofemployers and the local labour market, not the needs ofindividuals. In order to involve business and industry indecision-making, Local Advisory Councils (LACs) wereestablished. The purpose of these councils was to "bringtogether interested parties from the community in order tohear their views of CEIC services and programs" (LocalAdvisory Council Secretariat, 1986).These councils did not review specific projects orapprove funding. Rather, they made recommendations withrespect to priorities, achieving the goals of target group72participation and other issues relating to the achievementof CEIC operational objectives. The councils were supposedto meet at least four times a year and were to be providedwith local labour market data, although many councils metonly sporadically.Members of the LAC were appointed by the local Membersof Parliament and were to include local business and unionleaders, community group representatives and members oflocal organizations representing women, youth, workers withdisabilities and visible minorities. Also participating onthese councils were the local Canada Employment CentreManagers with other representatives of federal departmentsand other levels of government participating when necessaryas resource persons.Final decisions within each CEIC office were made bythe manager. The decision-making process involved gatheringlabour market information and determining occupationalopportunities and where the demands were from employers forworkers. CEIC made contacts with employers through employergroups to inform them about the intent of the programs andthe funding available. CEIC staff also contacted non-profitorganizations and assisted them to develop proposals fortraining for their client groups in demand areas of thelabour market. For example, if office automation wasidentified as a growth area within the local labour market,the non-profit organizations were encouraged to developproposals for training in such an area.73Proposals were then submitted to a review board whichconsisted of the CEIC manager, the assistant manager, theproject officer responsible for the proposal and, at times,other project officers. Proposals whose cost exceeded$100,000 required the approval of the Minister, and would besubmitted to the national headquarters of Employment andImmigration Canada. For those under this amount, the localCEIC manager had final approval.Spending Reductions The focus on reducing government spending and shiftingfunds to the private sector was clearly illustrated when thefederal expenditures on training were examined (Employmentand Immigration, Annual Reports, 1984/85, 1986/87. 1988/90;Learning Well, Living Well, 1991). For the fiscal year1984-85, just prior to the introduction of CJS, expendituresby CEIC for labour market programs were $2.1 billion. By1986/87 expenditures were reduced to $1.54 billion and in1988-89, they further declined to $1.4 billion. By 1990-91the expenditures totaled $1.3 billion.The shift of funding away from public education to theprivate sector was also significant. On the one hand, from1985/85 to 1987/88 payments to public institutions droppedby 10% (Education Statistics Bulletin, 1989). By 1990,there had been a 50% decline in direct federal purchase oftraining from community colleges since 1986 (Witter, 1991).74And on the other hand, between 1984/85 to 1987/88, supportto the private sector had increased by almost 12%.The Gendered Subtext of CJS Although targets were set for the participation of thefour equity groups (women, peoples with disabilities,visible minorities and native peoples), the majority ofwomen were served by the Entry program. Upon closerexamination of these programs and considering the actualparticipation of women, it can be argued that, like Fraser'sanalysis of the U.S. welfare system, CJS also hadconstructed "masculine" and "feminine" spheres.The "feminine" sphere of CJS - that is, the area wheremost of the participants were women - was the Re-entryprogram designed to assist women to re-enter the labourmarket after being absent to care for children. Theparticipants in these programs received training and childcare "allowances" and made claims based on their status asunpaid domestic workers, homemakers and mothers. Like theU.S. welfare recipients in Fraser's analysis, they werebeneficiaries of government Largess" or "clients of publiccharity".The "masculine" sphere of CJS included programs such asSkill Shortages, Job Development and Skills Investment wherethe majority of participants were men. These programs weredifferently structured and had higher subsidies forparticipants' training costs and the participants received75wages rather than allowances. Most of the recipients ofthese programs could be considered as "rights-bearer" - thatis, they were receiving what they deserved or had a right to- and often worked in partnership with employers.In the previous outline of the Re-entry program and itseligible participants, eligible participants were identifiedas "women have difficulty making a successful transitioninto the labour force ... due to a lack of adequate trainingand/or work experience". This rather narrow interpretationof the causes of women's struggles to find paid work areillustrative of a "blaming the victim" approach. This"thin" description does not acknowledge the unequal powerrelationship which organize economic processes and thediscriminatory practices of the labour market. Thisinterpretation also does not suggest any understanding ofthe differences among women, rather, they are viewed as ahomogeneous group. Difficulties with access to training anddecent paying jobs resulting from systemic inequalitiesbased on race, class and ablebodiness were not addressed inthe framing of Re-entry programs for women under CJS.Examining the official policy also illuminates how thediscourse suggested a logic of coherence to a problem whichwas in fact complex and contradictory. For example, giventhe description of women's struggles, one would think thatassisting women to enter the labour market involved astraightforward process of providing information, skilldevelopment and job experience. The policy discourse76indicated that the best approach was a combination ofclassroom and and on-the-job training, with the latter beingconsidered as more effective. Women's struggles withpoverty, violence, sexism and racism were not acknowledgednor addressed in the structuring of the programs.The Re-entry programs and "SEDS" programs were alsoproblematic in that they presented the needs of theparticipants as already predetermined and the participantsas passive recipients, not active agents who were invitedinto a process of determining their own needs.Challenges to CJS CJS was not without its critics. The followingdiscussion indicates the contested terrain in which CJS wasbeing implemented. Challenges to CJS came from labourorganizations, women's organizations, public institutions,the business community, and community-based groups. Labourorganizations such as the CLC, as well as other groups,charged that the real rationale for the policy change wasnot to improve training but to reduce spending. The CLC inits Position Paper on Canadian Jobs Strategy (1987) arguedthat the LACs were not working well, that there was limitedinvolvement of labour representatives and a heavy bias bythe local MPs toward business. Labour also expressedconcern over the privatization of training and raised suchissues as: the loss of jobs in public educationalinstitutions, the lack of monitoring of private sector77training, the difficulties experienced in transferringskills from private sector to public training programs, andthe lack of public sector job creation efforts.Public educational institutions also had many concernsabout CJS. In the Brief of the Association of CanadianCommunity Colleges Report on Practical Experiences with theCanadian Jobs Strategy (1986), the central criticism focusedon the redirection of funds away from community colleges andtechnical institutions toward private sector programs. Thereport also included criticisms of poor research into localand regional training needs, lack of flexibility, unclearoperational guidelines for proposals resulting in costlydelays, and rigidity of eligibility criteria creatingbarriers to the disadvantaged.In A Community Critique of the Canadian Jobs Strategy(1986), criticisms by community-based educators includedsimilar observations about the overall reduction in trainingfunds, the privatization of training and the reduced fundingof non-profit organizations, and the elimination of fundingfor bridging and non-traditional programs for women.In a review of the impact of CJS on Ontario's communitycolleges, Luker (1990) has concluded that CJS was driven byan exclusive interest in assisting the short-term interestsof capitalists and an interest in exploiting the workingclass. "[CJS] is a profoundly anti-working-class policywrapped in the rhetoric of productivity" (Luker, p. 157).78Several reports were prepared by women's organizations,including CCLOW (1986 & 1987) and ACTEW, the Association forCommunity-Based Training and Education for Women (1986).These reports raised concerns about the implications forwomen of CJS policy and practices, particularly thereduction in funding, restrictive entrance requirements, lowparticipation rates of women in many of the CJS programssuch as Skill Shortages, the focus on training for low-paying clerical, sales and services jobs, and, with theshift to private sector and employer-based training, thelack of access to transferable, certified training availablethrough technical institutions.A report prepared for the Canadian Advisory Council onthe Status of Women (Gunderson, Muszynski and Keck, 1990)pointed to the negative implications for women of the marketorientation, the emphasis on training rather than jobcreation, and the privatization of training. Althoughdisadvantaged groups, women included, were targeted underthis policy, this report argued that the CJS supply sideapproach emphasized "equality of access", rather thanresults. There was also concern that there had been noattempt to use training or job creation to compensate for alegacy of discrimination and inequality. These criticismsargued that the basis of supply side policy was humancapital theory, which assumes that the most effectiveintervention is to enhance the human capital of thedisadvantaged.^Once this is done through education or79training, jobs will be found along with opportunities forupward mobility.There were a few changes made to CJS programs as aresult of these challenges. For example, under the initialeligibility criteria for Re-entry programs, women had tohave been unemployed for not less than three years. Women'sgroups argued that this criteria was not reflecting thereality that many women were not leaving the workforce forsuch extended times. They also noted that most of theprograms where most of the participants were men, did nothave such restrictions. This requirement that women musthave been engaged in homemaking activities on a full-timebasis over the last three years was removed.Other changes were made to increase training allowancesand to shift some program options into different programareas, however, substantial changes were not made to thestructure of programs, nor to the resources available.SummaryThis chapter has sought to illuminate the dominantpolicy framework under which the three job-entry programswere funded. The discussion began by situating CJS in anhistorical context with specific attention given to thethrust of previous labour market interventions and thepolitical and economic pressures the newly electedConservative government was responding to. The concern for80limiting public spending while at the same time respondingto increasing demands for training dominated much of thediscussions. Another key theme was the concern that therebe a closer connection made between training and the needsof the labour market.The examination of the policy and programs of CJSrevealed a discourse in which women's needs were rathernarrowly defined. It also illuminated the highparticipation rates of women in programs that could becharacterized as "feminine" in comparison to the greaterresources made available to the program areas which weredominated by men.^The contested terrain in which CJS wasintroduced and implemented was outlined revealing the manychallenges to the assumptions informing CJS and theinterpretation of women's needs.In the next three chapters, the work of the staff inthe three CJS-funded job-entry programs is explored. Thesechapters reveal the contradictory aspects of working in apolicy context which attempted to address both equity andefficiency. In talking to the women who ran these programsand visiting the classrooms, what became apparent was thediversity of women's needs, which quickly exceeded thenarrow interpretation in the official policy, and thestruggles facing the staff as they attempted to respond tothese needs.These chapters also illuminate the variety ofapproaches and discourses employed by the staff which both81opposed and reinforced the dominant policy. These chaptersreveals that the implementation of the CJS policy at thelocal level is also a contested terrain in which the staffassumed a strategic role in the political struggle over theinterpretation of the needs of the trainees and their ownneeds as workers.82CHAPTER FIVETHE PROGRAM FOR NATIVE WOMEN:CULTURE AS CURRICULUMWhat [the government] is failing to recognize is whowe're dealing with here. We're dealing with a veryabused population of women and what that means. Theydon't understand what that means. All [the government]cares about is the goal of getting a job.(Norma, Lifeskills Instructor)The program for native women I visited for this studywas offered through a non-profit native organization whichwas established in 1984 to, according to the proposal,"prepare Native women to participate fully in society andachieve and secure employment in an urban environment". Theagency had been offering job entry programs for six yearsand had based its original funding proposal on a survey ofthe employment needs of urban native women. Funding wasprovided through the Entry program of CJS under the SEDcategory (severely employed disadvantaged). Proposals weresubmitted yearly to Canada Employment and reviewed by aDistrict Advisory Board (DAB) - an all native review board.The program I visited was one of three programs offeredeach year. Each ran for 15 weeks: five weeks in theclassroom where the trainees received lifeskillsinstruction, four weeks with host employers, one week backin the classroom, another four weeks with host employers anda final week back in the classroom.83In the proposal to CEIC, the goals of the programs werestated to be:1. To prepare Native Indian women to present a positiveself-image in the Native Indian and non-Native Indianenvironments.2. To help a trainee develop growth within herself, inaddition to gaining communication skills, communitydevelopment skills, and techniques for job search inpreparation for employment and independent family life.3. To give the Native Indian woman a positive view ofherself, family, friends, employment and communityresources.4. To explore mental, physical, emotional and spiritualaspects in a culturally stimulating way so as to be able tocope with the differences between cultures.5. To be able to market one's self.6. To increase the Native Indian women's understanding ofthe attitudes and behaviours necessary to get and keepemployment in an urban society.7. To have the trainees form realistic vocational goals.8. To increase the Native Indian women's ability to choosecommunication skills and other behaviour appropriate to theNative Indian and non-Native communities.9. To increase the Native Indian women's ability to lessenthe impact of discrimination.Seventeen women participated in the training program,most of them on social assistance. Their educational84backgrounds ranged from grade six to high school diplomawith most having not completed grade twelve. Their domesticsituations varied. About half had school aged children andwere either married or living with a partner and theremainder were either single mothers or single with nochildren. Recruitment for the program took place over a twoweek period with information going out through newspaperadvertising, native organizations, community services and byword of mouth from graduates of previous programs.Women interested in the program attended an informationmeeting and those who applied were then interviewed by threeof the staff. Successful candidates were those whoindicated a commitment to the program and who fit the SEDeligibility criteria: that is, they were considered to beseverely employment disadvantaged. The SED criteriadeveloped by CEC included: inability to communicate inEnglish or French, serious lack of education or training,prolonged institutionalization, alcohol and drug abuse,functional illiteracy, attitudinal problems, motivationalproblems and poor work habits. When appropriate,information about the potential trainees was also obtainedfrom other agencies.The offices and classroom were on the second floor of acommercial building within the city urban core with accessby public transportation. The rooms were bright andspacious and appeared to be recently renovated. The noisefrom buses, traffic and sirens, however, was noticeable. A85lounge with couches and chairs, coffee maker and microwaveoven was located next to the large classroom. Part of thelounge area was partitioned off and contained fivecomputers. Each of the staff had a separate office.The first contact was made when I telephoned thecoordinator and explained my research and interest instudying their program. She suggested I send her a letterand outline of my research project, which she would presentat the next meeting of the board of directors. The boardapproved my request but advised that I should wait until anew program had begun. Several months later, when the nextprogram was about to begin, I interviewed the coordinator ofthe program and was introduced to the president of theboard. I was also introduced to the two lifeskillsinstructors and the employment counsellor and madearrangements to interview them. As part of the agreement toexplore this program I was also asked to speak with one ofthe seven native women who served on the board. I receivedpermission from the senior lifeskills instructor to visitthree of the lifeskills classes. I spoke with the traineesinformally during classes, at coffee breaks and lunches. Ialso was invited by the coordinator of the program to attendthe annual general meeting.Although I was warmly received, I was acutely aware ofbeing an outsider, a temporary visitor. As a white, well-educated, middle class woman, I had shared few of theexperiences of both the staff and trainees. I felt much86more cautious and tentative in my role as researchercompared with the other programs I studied, taking greatcare to always obtain permission for any visits or to speakwith any staff or trainee.As a researcher I was both a participant and anonparticipant observer, depending on the situation. Duringmy visits to the lifeskills classes, I was asked to waitoutside the class until the morning circle, a time ofpersonal sharing, had finished. I did not feel comfortabletaking notes during any of these visits and, as a result, Iwaited until I had returned home where I tried toreconstruct some of the conversations and record theactivities and interactions. At times I participated alongwith the trainees in viewing films, working on exercises andsmall group discussions. At other times, I tried to helpthe staff by assisting the trainees with their work, such asdescribing previous work experiences and developing theirresumes. During the annual general meeting of theorganization, I was a nonparticipant observer.Working With CEIC and GovernmentThe program for native women was one that had evolvedover the six years of CJS funding. A great deal of work andthought had gone into creating a curriculum which in manyways challenged the official policy discourse. I found avery committed but frustrated staff which worked both with87and against the policy. They expressed ambivalent feelingsabout the CJS policy and the government department andagents which managed the programs.On the one hand, they felt the programs were importantbecause they filled a major need in the community, being theonly service of this kind available. They also emphasizedhow critical it was to have a native-run agency servingnative women. At the same time, they also indicated theirfrustration with what they viewed as the government'slimited understanding of native women's lives andunrealistic administrative practices. As Judith, a boardmember, indicated they had to both support and challenge thepolicy objectives in order to serve their community.We must use [the policy] to provide programs... becausewe see what the women struggle with, we see thecultural differences and help women get through.Because we're it, the only opportunity.Norma, one of the instructors, also felt strongly aboutthe program continuing in spite of her frustrations with it:I think it's really a good thing that this programexists. I really believe in it. This organization'sdone a lot of good for women, it would be a terriblething if they ever stopped funding it.All the staff felt that CEIC had little understandingof what the women were up against and had unrealisticexpectations about what could or should be accomplishedwithin the bounds of the program. They challenged the CJSpolicy objective of simply getting women into the labourmarket and argued that the program was a space where women88could begin a long process of recovery from violence, racismand low self-worth. They emphasized long term goals, ratherthan short term. As Norma stated, the women needed muchmore than the program could offer.What they [Canada Employment] are failing to recognizeis who we're dealing with here. We're dealing with avery abused population of women and what that means.They don't understand what that means ... All theycare about is the goal of getting a job.Norma went on to challenge the official position thatsuccess meant getting the trainees jobs. In her experience,it was a major accomplishment to simply have the women keepat it and remain in the program. She and the other staffbelieved that building self esteem was the biggest task andone that would not be accomplished in fifteen weeks.The part they don't get is that number one just keepingthem in the program, secondly, recognizing the issues,for them to even have to begin to have any self esteem,it's such a complicated thing. It's not going tohappen in this program, it may do if they go to fiveyears of therapy.Judith, the board member, shared this view but wasaware that it was one not shared by the government. In herexperience, the government's approach to these programs wastoo rigid.Building self esteem is one of the most importantissues but the government doesn't see it as part of theformula.Norma believed that the government's focus on thetrainees getting a job at the end of the program led to89exploitation and underemployment, which she felt were farworse than unemployment.They say isn't it wonderful that eighty percent of thewomen got jobs that paid $6 per hour. Are we doingthem a favour? Are we just allowing companies andemployers to exploit the women? I think it's far worseand detrimental to those women being underemployed, notunemployed. There's nothing as demeaning, asdepressing, as awful as that.She also questioned the government's view of the women inthe SED program and what their potential was. She felt thatthe government had a very limited view of what the traineescould do in the labour market....they have the potential to go on for furthertraining. We're not dealing with somebody who'smentally handicapped or maybe [has] limitations andgetting a job at Orange Julius would be like they diedand went to heaven. It's whole different thing.The senior lifeskills instructor, Anne, arguedsimilarly that getting a job at the end of 15 weeks oftraining was not necessarily the best outcome. She believedthat helping the women develop longer term and sustainablegoals was more important.One of the things that I like to stress is they canactually have a career and not just go out and get ajob - any job. I stress that because we'd like to seethem working years from now and being happy with it andI know that unhappy people don't stay working. So wethink that it's better to give then a little bit ofextra time for them to figure out when they get going,what direction they want to take... it gives them asense of the long term.Norma also felt that CEIC's goal of getting thetrainees a job was counterproductive and that the trainees90could only achieve success through further education andtraining.Whether we meet CEC objectives or not, we're not aimingto get women any old job, it's not where we are at.It's to get one that they want and that means they haveto be trained or educated.Anne shared her colleagues' view regarding thegovernment's lack of understanding about the needs of thewomen:The government has very unrealistic timelines for thesepeople. Just coming into a whole new way of looking atthings and looking at life and it's unfair, it givesthese programs a lot of extra stress. We already haveenough stress working with these women. I think thatCanada Employment would do well to recognize and notjust intellectually, be cognizant of these issues, butto really get it on a gut level that this is wherethese people are living.Like her colleague Norma, Anne had a different view ofsuccess from the government's. Given the major barriersthese women faced, attending the program regularly and ontime was quite an accomplishment.The fact that they're still here at the beginning ofthe third week of the program is amazing.Anne also believed that, rather than short term goals,the important struggle was to create for the women a senseof possibility, of the long term. Given their experiencesto date, this represented a major learning experience.So many of our women are second or third generation ofbeing taken care of by the government ministry and theydon't have a sense of a year from now, or five yearsfrom now what they can be doing because every month,they go from cheque to cheque.91Judith also challenged the government's focus on simplyfinding women a job. She felt the programs were developedto serve the government's need to be doing something, andthat in the long run, neither the trainees nor theemployers were being served well.The government is serving themselves through thispolicy - looks like they're doing something. Employersaren't getting a good deal either because training ispoor, too short and the women coming out are not welltrained. Women have high hopes about these programsbut the government is only interested in just gettingthem jobs, any job, there is no thought about careersas far as the government is concerned.As the staff described the day to day running of theprogram, a recurring issue was sorting through conflictingviews regarding authority and responsibility. Thecoordinator, Claire, described her job as a politicalprocess where she had to work continually at responding tothe demands of several actors.I have to report not only to the board of directors,but [also] the project officer for Canada Employment. Itry to make everybody happy .. the board of directors,the project officer and the staff. When I'm making adecision I have to consider all these different areas.In her previous experience with a nonprofit nativeorganization, Claire found the project officer very helpfuland had expected the same in this program.He came in and made sure we were doing things properlyand also gave us a lot of support and a lot ofencouragement and so I guess I just thought this waswhat all project officers did.Claire's relationship with the current project officerwas, however, a major source of concern for her. She felt92she was being continually monitored and that the projectofficer was interested only in finding problems and usingher authority to put her in her place.[In this program] We're getting a person coming in allthe time and monitoring the program, going through thefinancial books and just feeding back negative. It'slike isn't there anything that she can see good in whatwe're doing? ... When we discuss salary, she's alwaysreminding me "just remember, you might not be hereafter August"... She wants to do everything rightbecause she's climbing the corporate ladder.Claire also found there were conflicting views aboutwho she was responsible to. Both the board and the projectofficer indicated that she was to report to them. Inresponse to this situation, Claire brought the issue to aboard meeting as a way of clarifying lines of authority andher role.She's [the project officer] giving the impression whatshe's my boss and not my board of directors. .... Ibrought [the issue] to the board. It was difficult todo because she was sitting right beside me. I wantedto have clarification of who my boss was.Judith, the board member, also described conflictingviewpoints about roles and responsibilities. She arguedthat monitoring of the program was the responsibility of theboard.One area of struggle has been about setting policy. Thestaff have felt it was their realm. We've had toestablish our authority in relation to the projectofficer. We have the administrative authority, notthem.The board plays a very important role. It is amonitoring role, a directive role, we ensure that thecurriculum is followed, that the program stays withinbudget. We follow the agreement with the governmentvery carefully.93Judith felt there had been a lack of trust from thegovernment during the early stages of developing theprograms. She felt things had improved and outlined whatshe believed were important lessons when working withgovernment funded programs.For the first few years of the program, they acted asif we didn't know what we were doing, as if we neededconstant guidance. We felt they were always watchingover our shoulders.It's a very responsible board and we have a goodrelationship with CEC. The board members have therespect of CEC. ... It's important when dealing withCEC to not give up your power. We maintain a goodrelationship with not only the project officers, butthe district manager. We invite them to meetings andgraduations, pot lucks. We've also kept in touch withproject officers that have moved up the ladder. We'vegained their respect because we're always veryprofessional. We've never gone with a bleeding heartapproach or said you owe us this. We document verycarefully, think carefully about the changes that areneeded and then present it to them.Anne also identified tensions between CEC, board andstaff and different perspectives on their individual roles.In her view, there was confusion about the role of the boardand the staff, but it was not a major problem.The board in my opinion is really a council ofadvisors, they are there to offer advice and collectivewisdom. The person who's hired to run the program isthe person who should be running the program. ...There needs to be clarification of roles, what'sappropriate and what isn't. The board is for bigpolicy changes, not day to day stuff. But we'regetting by, we're doing OK, it's not awful andterrible.Anne also expressed frustration and sensed a lack oftrust on the part of CEC. She believed that part of theproblem came not necessarily from the project officers, but94from higher up in the bureaucracy where there wereunrealistic expectations about the program.I think it's good to have something high to shoot forbut I also think that sometimes CEC attitudes are alittle heavy handed. They usually come from muchhigher up. We hear back from our coordinator aboutwhat they have said, it's a heavy thing on us ratherthan OK we're a team, we're on the same side.A common theme running throughout discussions with thestaff was the overwhelming demands of the job. Thedifficulties of this work has been reflected in a high staffturnover rate since the agency had been running these CJSfunded programs. All the staff I spoke with were relativelynew to the program. They commented on the difficulty ofjuggling their responsibilities roles including teaching,counselling, outreach, administration and curriculumdevelopment. They felt that CEC had little understandingabout the work required to run the programs. There wasfrustration at the constant monitoring by CEC for everydollar spent. Anne, for example, was outraged that CEC feltthey had little work to do when the trainees were not in theclassroom.Calling the time my trainees are out of class "downtime" .. there's nothing "down" about that time, wehave paper work to get caught up on, we have to be incontact with the women, we have women calling fromother programs that need our assistance and peoplephoning from the community that need our assistance.We have to be doing intake, ... postering, brochuring,letting other people know that we're here, gettingready for the next intake. They're saying why do youneed to be doing so much. There's no understanding.When we're in class, we don't get breaks. During lunchI usually work.95Norma, the other instructor in the program, also foundthe work very demanding and draining. Like Anne, she feltthat the government had no idea what it took to run theprogram.They get so overwrought about their functions. Itdoesn't have to be that difficult, whose side are youon? Are you assisting the native community to do theirjob, or are you acting like it comes out of yourpocket? There are 15 million rules about where to fileyour paper, how much you have to have for each thing.Things won't run smoothly because they've always gotthis little book of rules and refer to them. We haverules here but at the same time we don't want to bebound and strangled by them - we're not a governmentagency.Recent struggles with government were focused onacquiring more resources for the program, including apsychologist and updated computer programs. Norma felt thegovernment's refusal to spend money on these items reflecteda poor view of native women.We've asked for a half-time psychologist. It would costthem too much money so they wouldn't give that. It'slike saying the native women aren't worth it. We haveto fight for every little thing we get, whether it's acost of living increase, whether it's more officesupplies or updating the computer.An important part of the instructors' job was hearingand supporting the trainees as they struggled to overcomemajor obstacles. Norma found listening to the pain andtrauma that the trainees had to go through very taxing. Shetried to find some distance from the stories while at thesame time remaining empathetic.In the beginning I was overidentifying with everyone.Every story was my story. Then I got to the pointwhere I went totally opposite - got really distanced.96Then I was in the position where I wasn't too distancedor too affected.Norma frequently found herself exhausted by the end ofthe week. Given the work demands, she did not think thatshe would stay working in these programs.By Friday sometimes I'm really burned out. It stressesyou out physically, emotionally. You get really tired.I try to take care of myself. I doubt that I'll do itfor more than two years. I don't think I'll have theenergy after that.Anne described her own personal philosophy which helpedher to cope with the demands of this job. She drew on hernative spirituality as a source of wisdom and strength.I try to be caring and honest and humble and happy andhave a good sense of humour. I mess up all the timebut you don't fail unless you quit. I see myself as aspiritual being first. We are all children of ourancestors' dreams. We need to live our lives not justfor ourselves but how it is going to affect the seventhgeneration. I feel that I've been able to contribute ina small way to keep things going. That's what keeps megoing.This section has considered the staff's views andunderstandings of the federal training policy, theirexperiences of working with the local offices of CEC andtheir everyday struggles of keeping the program going. Theyexpressed considerable frustration with the policy and thegovernment workers administering the policy, sensing thatthere was little understanding of the depth and breadth ofstruggle which many trainees encountered. At the same time,they expressed strong views on the importance of keeping theprogram going, arguing that it was "the only game in town"for native women.97Working With the TraineesHaving an all-native staff running a program for nativewomen was viewed as critical to serving the needs of thetrainees. The personal connection and ability to empathizewith the trainees was clearly a unique feature of thisprogram that both contributed to its success and increasedthe demands on the staff. Much of the curriculum and manyof the classroom activities were centred around building theself esteem of the trainees through self-exploration andlearning about their native heritage.For Anne, the impact on the trainees of working in anall-native program was the key to their growth and essentialto a healing process. Living in an urban centre, thesenative women were frequently marginalized, always in aminority position and having to deal with racism. In thisprogram they were the majority, which created a safe spacefor self reflection and dreaming of a different future. Thestaff served as role models for the trainees, as mirrors oftheir potential.We have comments from many of the women that they'rereally very happy that there's a native program becauseso often they'll feel out of place. Many of thecomments are "I never spend time with native women.It's good to see that there are good native women andbeautiful native women and powerful native women". Soat this most basic level, it is healing.Anne was quick to point out that there were manynations represented in the group and she wanted to avoid98reinforcing the mainstream notion that there existed aunitary native culture. She was also cautious aboutintroducing native issues to the trainees because many didnot have 'traditional' upbringings and some would likelyresist reclaiming their native heritage. She went aboutintroducing the idea of native culture slowly and gently.We try to be very sensitive to the fact that many ofthese women were not raised traditionally and they'rereally not terribly comfortable with native ways perse. And there's the other issue that native is nothomogeneous, it's many different nationalities and theyare not the same.Although Anne indicated that understanding thedifferences across native cultures was important, she alsobelieved that there were some core values that could befound in all native cultures.But there are certain values that transcend each of thenative nations such as respect, gratitude, generosity,honesty and caring.Anne described how the curriculum and daily classroomactivities were organized around the medicine wheel, so thatwomen's spiritual, emotional, physical and intellectualneeds were taken into account.We start every morning with a circle - a spiritualsharing. Some people say prayers, some have poems, orshort stories, some will relate their dreams. Whateverworks for them. Whoever starts off begins the day withwhat's new and good in their lives. I also lead themin exercises every day, just a little bit so that theycan stay in their bodies because we do a lot of mentaland emotional work.The trainees responded to the focus on native culturein different ways. There were some trainees who resisted99the idea of revitalizing native culture. During anafternoon session of one of the classes I visited, wewatched a video about native struggles over land claims andelders working to keep traditional ways alive. The classthen broke into groups to discuss the video. I participatedin one of these groups. One of the trainees who had livedon a reserve most of her life, did not agree with trying tobring back native traditions. The other trainee washesitant to comment on this issue, indicating that she hadnever lived on a reserve and was unaware of such traditions.Martha: There's no way we can go back to the old ways.It's better to move on and live in white society. Myreserve is all modern now.Sarah: I did not grow up on a reserve. My fatherworked on farms and our family travelled around.After these small group discussions we got togetherwith the rest of the trainees. Anne asked the small groupsto report on their discussions. One of the traineesindicated that the video showed how ignorant the nativeswere about treaties. Anne responded to her review bychallenging the notion of ignorance.Beth: This showed that we were ignorant about what thetreaties were all about, about leasing and selling ourland.Anne: What do you mean by ignorant?Beth: Not knowing.Anne: This is a powerful word, it doesn't mean stupid,it means being unaware.In addition to showing videos and frequent discussionabout native concerns, Anne also kept the trainees informed10 0about native politics. At one point in the class, sheencouraged the trainees to attend a gathering in support ofthe Mohawk people during the confrontation in Quebec.Building trust was identified as one of the mostimportant hurdles to overcome at the beginning of theprogram. Anne described the first few weeks as a fragiletime where the most important goal was to make the traineesfeel safe.The first two weeks we try to build a sense of trust sothat the women know that it's OK to be here and to showemotion to one another and it's confidential.For Anne, part of building trust and making thetrainees feel safe and respected meant that she avoidedpositioning herself as different or better than thetrainees. She tried to show the trainees that she was likethem and had been through similar experiences.I just tend to be myself, rather than hiding behindthat I'm the instructor and they're the trainees. Ialways frame it that I'm a human being first and I havehad many of the experiences that they have had. So I'mnot just theoretically saying that they should do thisor that. I've been through a lot and I know that thethings they will be learning in this program work.A important part of the lifeskills classes alsoincluded exploring job options, and the instructorsencouraged the trainees to think in the long term, to helpthem to see a broader range of options.Anne: We think that it's better to give them a littlebit of extra time for them to figure out when they getgoing what direction they want to take. Give them asense of the long term.101The instructors encouraged the women to think beyondsimply finding a job. They built upon the women's desiresto get off welfare and become self sufficient, to becomegood role models for their children.We really try to stress that they get into somethingthey enjoy and if they can't find work right away, theyshould be open to going to school and gettingupgrading.Another aspect of the program was learning about otherresources, particularly those serving the native community,but also other mainstream services. This involved variousactivities including having visitors come in from differentagencies, taking the trainees to visit other services andorganizations, and having the women learn for themselves byvisiting other resources in their communities.We give them a tour [of different agencies]. Havesomeone talk to them and show them what it's like sothat at least they've been there once and it wouldn'tbe so terrifying to go there on their own. We get themto practice doing information interviews and they goout as buddies and ask questions of different nativeorganizations. They give a presentation to the classand then everybody else knows too.The program was not without struggles between staff andtrainees. One recurring concern was maintaining attendanceand abstaining from substance abuse. At the beginning ofthe program each trainee signed a contract to attendregularly and abstain from drugs and alcohol. When problemsdid arise, the staff worked hard to keep the women in theprogram.We try to review those expectations at least once aweek. Try to keep reminding them, and doing it in anorderly way, not just coming down on them because102someone's been bad. One woman has had some seriousproblems. She missed four out of eight days but when wewere able to welcome her back and not make her feelguilty and bad and judge her she's been here everydaysince then.The staff were also quite aware of how difficult it wasfor some of the trainees to keep to this contract. Theability of the trainees to abstain from drinking was viewedas a major achievement considering the pressure the traineesat times received from their families and friends. As oneof the trainees said:It makes me mad that I'm all alone and don't havefriends. It's either one thing or another. You have tomake new friends or have everybody reject you or drinkand be part of it.Part of the curriculum focused on information about theeffects of drug and alcohol addiction and availableresources. Norma felt strongly that it was important toeducate the trainees about the issue and to avoidmoralizing.Each one of them has been affected by alcohol in theirfamily - whether they were apprehended as children,their parents died of alcoholism, lost brothers andsisters to alcoholism. It's had devastating effects ontheir lives. When they start being made aware of whatthis is about then they start thinking about otheroptions. That it's not about them being an awfulperson.The instructors also struggled with their roles asauthority figures. Anne described the kinds of resistanceshe experienced from the trainees.We do have resistance from the women in the program. Alot of times it's the young ones and they have a lot ofauthority issues. They're projecting onto me all thenegative things that they've got around authority. I103really have to stay on my toes as to how things areaffecting people.Another major struggle between staff and some of thetrainees involved attendance, working to get the trainees to"hang in there". Norma described some of the measures theyused including, at times, driving to their homes andbringing them to class. She felt frustrated when thetrainees would not be straight with her about why they wereabsent, but also found that eventually they felt they couldbe honest without reprisals.They will lie to us at first about why they're not here... but it's clear to us what's going on. They go outon binges ... but after a while they start to sayexactly what's going on.There were also tensions between staff and traineesabout their goals for work. The staff struggled to find abalance between being supportive and making the women feelsafe, comfortable and respected and pushing the trainees towant more for themselves. Many times the trainees' notionsof the kind of work they wanted to do were challenged by thethe staff who encouraged the women to set their sights alittle higher. Norma spoke about trying to be bothencouraging and realistic.There is one woman who is very bright, she's got aquick mind, a good personality, energetic. Her careergoal is to clean houses. But she's capable of so muchmore. We try to recognize what their talents are andnot try to fool them, that they don't have theirlimitations.In one of the classes I visited, the trainees wereworking in small groups, discussing what kind of work theyfelt they were good at and what they liked to do. Housework and caring for children were common themes as thegroups reported on their discussions.We're good with our kids - we have to be becausewelfare will take them away! We make a nice home, welisten and care for people. We're generous and helppeople. Give them our last few dollars if they needit.Another exercise had the women working again in smallgroups identifying where they wanted to work and what theirmotivations were. Many of the women spoke about wanting tofind a job for the sake of their children, be a good rolemodel and prove to them that there were other possibilitiesthan living on welfare. Norma spoke about one trainee whobecame an important role model for her daughter.It was a big thing to come [here] and show her daughterthat going to school is a good thing and thatencouraged her daughter to go back to school, which shedid. She wanted to be something for her daughter andgranddaughter. That's what's kept a lot of them going.Some of the trainees were developing long term plansfor their careers. One woman I spoke to at length wasinterested in working in a health related area. She had alot of experience caring for family and felt she had goodskills and patience for the work. She was willing to go forfurther education and had been collecting information abouthow she could get her grade twelve.I want to work in a health area, visiting people,advising them. I want a challenge and if it takes moretraining I'm willing to do it.In addition to the problems the trainees came with, theinstructors found that tragedies continued to occurthroughout the program making it difficult for the women to104attend and to concentrate. Anne felt the staff should bekeeping records of the tragedies affecting the traineeslives.We need to keep better track of the tragedies thataffect our trainees. There are tragedies that we don'thear about and there a lot of day to day kinds oftragedies. There's so many things and it's unfortunatethat there are so many demands placed on these women, astress added to their lives.Norma also spoke of the violence that was common placein many of the trainees histories.One trainee saw her father being murdered. Anythingthat could ever happen to a woman has happened here.This section has outlined some of the day to daystruggles the staff encountered in their work in theprogram. Helping the trainees to "hang in there" was thefocus of much of their work. They struggled to find abalance between enforcing the rules for attendance and wereworking alcohol abstinence and encouraging the trainees tocome back to the program after they had missed many days.Much of the curriculum was centred around helping thetrainees learn about and find pride in their nativeheritage. This was difficult given the many culturesrepresented and the resistance to some of the activities.The staff were continually struggling to find a balance intheir work, as they both supported and challenged thetrainees.105Working With the CommunityDiscussions with the staff revealed their strong linkswith other community agencies, particularly in the nativecommunity. A new organization which was in the process ofbeing established was a source of support for Claire, thecoordinator, in developing strategies to deal withconflicts. This group was initiated by SED coordinators toget together regularly to share problems and discussstrategies.Our mandate will be resources sharing among us, problemsolving and liaising between projects and developingimproved working relationship with CEC and trainingneeds that cross individual project boundaries. Wecould have a psychologist we could share with differentprograms.Claire found that these meetings were very helpful andmade her feel like she was not the only one havingdifficulties.We found after our first meeting, we all had differentproject officers and there's no consistency. Justrealizing that we're not the only ones that have thisproblem with the project officer gives us morestrength.The idea of working collectively was a crucial pointfor Judith, the board member, in serving the community andbringing about change in policy and services.You have to get involved, share concerns with others,work together and apply pressure. You can't operate inisolation. You need to work with men, non-native womenand visible minorities.106107There was a conscious effort to link with otheragencies serving the native community, particularly thosethat were places of healing and counselling. Making contactwith other public institutions was also required. Futureplans for the program involved having two seats for women inconflict with the law. To this end, one of the boardmembers was now serving on an advisory committee at a localcorrectional institution.Building positive relationships with the trainees'families was also considered very important. The women weregoing through major changes which were at times verythreatening to their partners. In previous programs thestaff have had to deal with men who were angry with theprogram because of the changes they were experiencing intheir relationships to the women. Attending on a regularbasis, abstaining from alcohol and drugs, exploring optionsfor the future was very threatening to some of the spouses.In an effort to make the transition smoother, familiesand partners were invited on a regular basis to potlucksuppers held at the offices. The staff hoped that theseevents would reduce some of the tensions by showing spousesand families where the women were meeting and also have anopportunity to meet the staff. Claire described situationswhere there had been concern for the safety of instructors.We've had men come here threatening us because theirspouses can't seem to handle the women growing. It's athreat to them. So how they can deal with itthemselves is through violence. The lifeskillsinstructors try to deal with it as best they can -108they're really a support for the women. As a matter offact, maybe too much of a support .. [they] go right tothe women's apartment ... Anne had to go to one of thewomen's places to help her move her stuff out. It's adangerous involvement but it shows their commitment forthese women.One of the trainees I spoke with described her ownstruggle with her partner as a result of her involvementwith the program. She found he was threatened by thepossibility of her changing but also pleased to see hergrowing. She worked to reassure him and include him in herprocess of learning.He sees me dressed up in the morning, then I'm gone allday and he wonders where I really go. I phone him atthe break. He was really upset the other day - worriedthat I'll leave. He also feels proud of me. He wondersif we sit around and bad mouth the men and I reassuredhim that I only spoke about how supportive he was.He's really scared that I'm going to change.The staff also worked hard to build good relationshipswith other social service agencies. They invited them tocome to the program and speak to the women about resourcesand services. There were moments of struggle as well indealing with other agencies. Anne spoke of her frustrationwith welfare staff's treatment of the trainees.We had a social worker, instead of giving a cheque to atrainee to get her clothing, she was given a voucherfor one store and had two days to use it. That is anincredibly demeaning thing to do to an adult woman,that we don't believe in you, we don't trust you.Another important link with the community was with thehost employers where the trainees spent their practicums.Finding work placements was the major task of the employmentcounsellor, Alice. She tried to find employers that would109hire the women after the training. I asked her how she wentabout her job.I work in establishing prior contacts. People that areinterested in hiring Native people. ... Some contactsare already established in past programs, some throughthe telephone book, through the red book, throughnewspaper, word of mouth, government departments.The job sites included community centres, other nativeorganizations, banks, small businesses, and departmentstores. Alice was also responsible for providing job searchtraining both during and after the program was completed. Iasked if she had encountered any racism in employers'attitudes to hiring native women. She found that only a fewwere resistant to having native trainees but they did notcome right out and say so, rather they would use otherexcuses.They say that they're not hiring now. And unionizedplaces, you run into that. Some might have experienceda bad situation in the past, but quite often that won'tcome out ... One woman was interested in doing hotelwork, front desk. Calling a number of different places.. but there wasn't a lot.Once placements were found, Alice as well as theinstructors kept in touch regularly with the trainees,giving them support and encouragement. At times this wasnot an easy task.We like to have contact with them as often as we can,but it's not always easy to do. Some of the women haveno phones and some are moving or in the process ofsplitting up with their mates.She spoke about how difficult it was for the women towork when so much of their life was in turmoil.110The women have so many personal problems, so manyissues to deal with and so many other problems andissues to get settled. Their home life is in aturmoil. It's hard to go to work and concentrate whenhome is worrying you. We need programs to preparewomen even to come into these programs.I asked Alice to describe those women who do succeed,who complete the program, and go on for either furthertraining or find a job. She found that it was those with acombination of factors coming together at the same time.They have more motivation. They're really tired ofbeing on assistance. They might not have thecompetence to go out and find their own job. And theyhave a really good experience on the practicum.Alice also worked closely with other agencies,particularly native counselling resources. Like the otherstaff, she felt that having an in-house counsellor wouldreally help the program serve the women. There were otherresources, although limited, that they could refer thetrainees to, but this represented, for some trainees,another major hurdle.Although there are other programs ... not always thewomen will go there. Sometimes it takes a big step forthem to come here, and to go somewhere else ... that isanother big step many of the women aren't prepared tomake. So it would be nice to have a counsellor here.Sometimes the trainees wanted to change their workpracticums. This was quite time consuming and Alicedescribed how she responded to these situations.I like to have them meet the employer before they go intheir actual practicum. I happened one time that thewoman wasn't prepared to work at that place because itwas a non-Native place. She wasn't comfortable there.I work with them and find out what the problem is andsee whether or not we can fix it or if it does have tobe changed.111Working with the community was incorporated into thecurriculum as one of the activities for the trainees. Itwas considered an important element in ensuring their long-term success. There appeared to be few problems with therelationship between the staff, trainees and training placehosts. The employment counsellor was adept at determiningthose places where she felt the trainees would not bewelcomed. A lot of attention was given to building positiverelationships with the families of the trainees,particularly with their spouses and partners. In previousprograms the staff had become involved in seriousconfrontations with the male partners of the trainees whowere feeling very threatened by the program and the changethat was affecting their relationships. There were alsostruggles with social service agencies and the way in whichthey responded to some of the trainees needs for resourcessuch as clothing.SummaryThe program for native women was one of the few job-entry programs that was for native women only. The staffand agency volunteers regarded the all native environment asnecessary elements in the creation of a welcoming and safeplace where the trainees could begin to explorepossibilities, learn about their native heritage and healfrom violence. The staff in the program faced many barriers112in their struggles including limited time and resources,staff change-over and burnout, and strained relationshipswith CEC. For many of the trainees simply showing up was animportant accomplishment when faced with violence frompartners who feared change, and daily struggles to maintainsobriety which often meant cutting ties with friends andcommunity.There were many moments of contestation and resistancewithin this program. The staff resisted and challenged thedominant policy, in particular, the focus on getting womenjobs at the end of the program. Instead, they argued thatachieving this goal only meant poorly paid employment withlittle opportunity for further training and advancement.The staff encouraged the trainees to think beyond simplyfinding a job and urged them to imagine a career forthemselves.The staff attempted to create, within the limitedresources provided, a program which responded to what theysay were the "real" struggles the trainees were having. Forexample, for some of the trainees simply getting to classand remaining in the program was a major accomplishment.Although they were very aware of the CEC guidelinesregarding attendance, they ignored them at times,encouraging those trainees who had missed many days due toviolence and alcoholism, to return to the program.The trainees also contested, challenged and resisted.Simply "showing up" was a beginning point to changing a113pattern so firmly entrenched in a racist and sexist society.By participating in the program, abstaining from alcohol andsubstance abuse, exploring their long-term futures, theywere challenging those forces which sought to keep thempoor, abused and dependent on the state.Some trainees also resisted and challenged the staff'sinterpretation of their needs. Many did not agree with someof the notions informing those parts of the curriculum thatfocused on native culture. Some argued that there was nogoing back, that the best way to proceed was to live andwork within the white, non-native society. The notion ofrevitalizing traditional ways was not seen as useful orviable. Many of the trainees also resisted the authority ofthe staff, particularly in their role as attendance takersand rule enforcers.At the end of the program, seven women went back toschool to complete their grade twelve and were planning togo on for further training in such areas as the healthsciences and office automation. Most of these trainees werestudying at a local native run post secondary institution.Three trainees were employed, one as a sales clerk and twoin clerical positions. Three had not completed the programand two had not found work nor had they continued with theireducation. It appears that the message of avoiding povertyin low pay job ghettos and the importance of acquiring moreeducation was taken up by the majority of the trainees.114In the following year, the staff's demand for anincrease in the length of the program and an in-housecounsellor were met by CEC. The extended training meantthat two programs a year were offered, rather than three.The number of trainees had also increased to twenty four,with two of the trainees from correctional institutions.But the difficult working conditions and demands of the jobhad taken their toll and both of the lifeskills instructorsI interviewed had moved on to other work. The coordinatorand the employment counsellor remained.CHAPTER SIXJOB ENTRY FOR IMMIGRANT WOMEN:STARTING OVER AGAINYou have to forget who you were in your country. Wehave nothing to lose, so there's no risk! (Alice,trainee)The job entry program for immigrant women that Ivisited was one of several government funded employmentprograms provided by an immigrant serving agency. The mainobjective of the non-profit agency, which had been inexistence for almost 20 years, was "to assist non-Englishspeaking people to overcome language and cultural barriersso that they can effectively contribute to Canadiansociety". Government funded employment programs were partof a variety of services provided by the agency, includinginformation and referral, counselling, escortinterpretation, and written translation.^Other programsincluded health education, seniors groups, English languagetraining and community education. The other governmentfunded employment programs offered were office automationfor women with lower English levels and job search clubs.The program examined for this research was a re-entryprogram for "immigrant women with intermediate Englishlevels and bookkeeping background who are experiencingcultural and language barriers". The skills training beingoffered focused on office automation with a strong emphasis115116on computerized accounting. The program was the third oneof its kind at the agency and had been modeled on a pilotproject developed in the previous year with monies fromCanada Employment's English Language Training budget. Thefirst two programs had overlapped by several weeks. Afourth program was to begin just before this one had endedbut shortfalls in government funds resulted in a delay ofseveral months.The program was designed to respond to several specialneeds of immigrant women with intermediate English skills.In the proposal several factors were identified thatcontributed to these needs:1. lower level of English than their Canadian counterpartsin the workplace;2. cultural values that promote non-assertive behaviour;3. limited and/or non-existent job search skills;4. limited and/or focused job responsibilities;5. increased and sometimes conflicting roles; and6. ongoing adaptation.The thirty four week program included twenty weeks ofclassroom training and fourteen weeks of work-site training.The classroom training consisted of 79.5 hours of computertraining, 145.5 hours of accounting theory and practice,100.5 hours of office English, 105 hours of life skills, and120 hours of job search. The job search component wassomewhat different from other job entry programs because itwas organized around a self-marketing approach. Self-117marketing took place over a two week period during whichtime the trainees identified potential training place hosts,wrote letters, made visits and arranged for interviews.This approach differs from many other re-entry programswhere it is the responsibility of the staff to locateemployers willing to be training place hosts.Fifteen women representing thirteen countries of originwere enrolled in the training. One of the trainees hadsevere hearing loss, but dropped out early in the process.Most of the trainees were landed immigrants and theremainder were sponsored by their families. There were afew women who came to Canada as political refugees. Theirtime in Canada ranged from five months to seven years, withan average of 2.4 years. Most of the trainees were marriedand had children. All had earned the equivalent of highschool education and several had some post-secondaryeducation. Some had completed university and collegedegree programs. All had scored at an intermediate level orhigher on the English language tests and all but four hadpreviously trained in some kind in bookkeeping.Information about the program was provided throughcommunity newspapers, by referrals from within and outsideof the agency and by word of mouth. Recruitment for theprogram took place over a month, although the "official"recruiting time was only two weeks. Applicants withbookkeeping and office experience were contacted by phoneand invited to take an English placement and math test.118Those who scored between 180 and 210 on the Englishplacement test and who had a minimum of 75% on the math examthen took typing and bookkeeping tests.Following these tests the applicants were interviewedby the coordinator and program assistant. Those qualifyingwere asked to provide letters of reference. Those who werenot selected after the interview were referred to otherprograms or upgrading services and advised to apply again.During the first week of training an aptitude test was alsogiven to determine the applicants' learning difficulties.The full-time staff for this particular programincluded a project coordinator and program assistant whosejobs included proposal development, administrative tasks,lifeskills instruction, monitoring of training placements,budgeting and evaluation. An English instructor,computerized accounting and word processing instructor andher teaching assistant, and keyboarding instructor worked atthe agency with this and other programs. All were hired bythe agency itself rather than working on a contract basisfor Canada Employment. Both the coordinator and the programassistant were relatively new workers at the agency. Bothwere white, English-speaking, Canadian-born women.The classes were held on the second and third floor ofa large building which was situated on a major commercialstreet. The same building housed several other community-based organizations and a few private consultants. Theagency offices were on the second floor. Agency facilities119included several classrooms, a computer training centre,general offices, a coffee and lunch room, and staff offices.The agency was easily accessed through public transportationand was located in an area of the city where many immigrantslived.My first contact with the program was via telephonewhen I spoke with the project coordinator, Marilyn, anddescribed my research. She agreed to an interview and askedher program assistant, Bev, to participate as well.Following the first interview, Marilyn agreed to allow me tovisit three lifeskills classes. I also spoke to these twostaff members several times over the phone following myvisits. My role as researcher in the classroom varied.During visits to the lifeskills classes, I sat with thetrainees around tables arranged in a U shape. During oneclass where the trainees were developing lists of potentialtraining placements, I assisted the trainees in using thebusiness directories to locate potential companies to visitduring the self-marketing segment of the program. Duringother classes, such as one which focused on assertivenesstraining, I was an observer taking notes and did notparticipate in the class. In another class, the instructorasked me to comment on my experiences of job interviews inorder to indicate to the trainees that even people who areCanadian-born and English-speaking found the processdifficult.120During my visits to the classroom I sat at the tablewith the trainees and felt comfortable enough to takedetailed notes of the lectures and interaction. Several ofthe trainees were curious as to what I was writing and Iopenly shared what I was putting down. I spoke with thetrainees informally during class, at coffee breaks and overlunch hour.The staff appeared eager to discuss their struggles inrunning these programs, but I also sensed they were feelingburdened and pressured. As a result, I was hesitant toimpose any more demands for their time. On one occasion,when I arrived to sit in on a class, Marilyn, thecoordinator, apologized and asked me to come back anotherday because they were experiencing delays and the classschedule had been changed. I did manage eventually to visitthree classes.This section has provided some background informationon the history and context of the training program forimmigrant women as well as my experience as researcher. Thenext section will consider the experiences of the staff asthey worked with CEIC and their views of the CJS policy.Working With CEIC and the GovernmentThis agency had been successful for several years inobtaining government funding for employment programs for theimmigrant community. As was mentioned, the Intermediate121program was a relatively new one and had been developedinitially as a pilot project, through a joint effort of CEICand the staff. Marilyn described how the local CEIC officehad informed the agency about the extra monies available andthe agency had responded with the idea of offering an officeautomation program to immigrant women with intermediateEnglish.This started because there was some extra money in theEnglish language programs and we were asked if we wereinterested in offering an intermediate program usingthat money.The staff determined that an intermediate program wasneeded because many women who applied for the lower levelEnglish program were ineligible, having scored too high onthe language test. However, the staff felt that thesewomen, even with higher English scores, were stilldisadvantaged in their efforts to find decent paying jobs.They argued that a program was needed to strengthen theirEnglish and job search skills. They also felt thatproviding a program that developed the trainees' bookkeepingand accounting skills was better than running a clericalprogram. Bev, the program assistant, described theirrationale.We don't want these women having to take low pay entrylevel clerical jobs. Their English makes it difficultto get work as receptionists and secretaries.., thesewomen are not confident about their English skills. ...Such jobs are in demand and the pay is decent.Bev and Marilyn had had mixed reviews about theirinvolvement with CEIC. They were pleased that CEIC had122considered their agency to develop such a pilot project, butthey were annoyed with the short notice and time constraintsin which they had to work to get the proposal together.We had to get the proposal together very quickly.There was a letter about going for the money about midNovember and the program started in January, so it wasonly a few weeks [to prepare].Both of these women felt they were playing an importantrole in changing things for women through their negotiationsover program content and length. They also recognized thathaving a project officer on their side was central to thesenegotiations.[We play a role] by struggling to have our programsfunded, through our negotiations about the length oftraining, curriculum. ... We have a project officerwho will go to bat for us which helps to push our ideasabout policy.The staff sensed that the government was beginning torecognize how important training was. But the staff memberswere frustrated with the lack of attention given tomonitoring the training. Staff were also concerned thatwith the budget cut backs training would suffer andgovernment workers would be taking the heat.We're at a beginning point. What is now needed is muchmore monitoring of the training but they've beencutting back on resources for this and it all falls onthe shoulders of the project officers.Although this agency had successfully negotiated withCEIC over several years to develop employment programs forthe immigrant community, the staff still struggled over keyissues with this program. These issues included the running123of concurrent sessions, length and content of classroomtraining, hiring of staff, short term funding practices andpoor communication about budget shortfalls.Arguing that in order to make the best use of limitedfunding, CEIC had wanted to run two programs concurrently.The staff resisted this idea because they believed that theagency did not have the resources.They wanted us to offer two programs at once, for theprice of one - thought they could save money that way.We argued we didn't have the resources but they reallywanted to go for it.Negotiations continued about offering two programsconcurrently. A compromise was reached between CEIC and thestaff in which two programs were funded but with minimaloverlap. Marilyn described how the decision seemed tosatisfy both parties.Eventually we did offer two programs but they onlyoverlapped a few weeks at the end so CEIC saved moneythat way and they were happy about that.CEIC also questioned the administrative costs andsuggested that the rent they were paying was too high andthat the program should be moved to a cheaper place. Thestaff argued that the space they worked in was very basicand that they should stay in their current location becauseit was accessible for many immigrant families.The length of the classroom training was another focusof discussion. The time spent in the classroom was asignificant issue in negotiations because it was the most124expensive component of re-entry training. In order to keepcosts at a minimum, CEIC wanted only eight weeks "up front"in the classroom before the trainees went to work with theirhost employers. After some debate, this was lengthened toten weeks. Marilyn expressed concern about what she feltwere CEIC's unrealistic expectations of what could beaccomplished within a short period of time.They kept referring to a survey that was done ofemployers and trainees that said that eight weeks wasall that was necessary. I don't know where they didthat survey but we know that eight weeks is definitelynot enough up front training time for women to gethired and to find a training host. The employers tellus that.When the proposal for the second program went forward,the staff added another two weeks to the classroom training.Marilyn and Bev described how they simply added on more timewhen they submitted the proposal and there were nochallenges from CEIC.We got ten weeks for the first group and then wearbitrarily added on another two weeks for the secondgroup ourselves without really saying anything to them.The inclusion of lifeskills training in the classroomtraining was another subject of negotiation with CEIC. Bev,the program assistant, spoke of the importance of thiscomponent of the training and felt that CEIC did not sharethe same views about this kind of learning.There are only two and one half weeks for lifeskillsduring which time we do self esteem, assertiveness,information about workers compensation, the labourmarket, conflict resolutions, so it's really a packedtime. But it's absolutely essential to their success.125We sill have to struggle over including lifeskillstraining as a priority - CEIC still doesn't see it thatway.One particular aspect of lifeskills training, self-marketing, was not readily accepted by CEIC as the best wayfor the trainees to find their training place hosts. CEICfelt the staff should take this on. Marilyn speculated onwhy they were resistant to the idea.CEIC would like us to find the training hosts and thenplace the women ourselves. It's easier and cheaperbecause it takes less time,but then you still have todeal with matches that don't work and have to findanother training host.Marilyn and Bev went on to describe why they believedself-marketing was the best approach in the long run. Theyargued that one of the biggest barriers immigrant women hadto face was employers' resistance to hiring immigrant women,particularly if they spoke English as a second language.Marilyn asserted that if they got over this at thebeginning, using their own resources, then they were goingto succeed. Self-marketing was also seen to result inbetter matches between trainees and host employers.If they can survive this process they will besuccessful in getting a job. If the woman is choosingher training site herself then a better match is made.We find the employers really like this process too.They see who the person is and many of them are reallyimpressed by the abilities of these women to go outthere and hustle like they do. We tell the traineesit's going to be tough and to do the hardest ones first- to crash and burn during the first few visits andthen it gets better.Marilyn and Bev went on to argue that as the traineesfind their employers through such a process, they learn totrust their own judgments and they are often hired by thesame employers at the end of the program.It's a way to affirm their choices they've made. Manyof the women stay with these employers - sometimeswe've had only four women out of fifteen looking forwork at the end of the program, the rest have jobs withtheir training hosts.Another source of concern for the staff was the pay forEnglish and keyboard instructors. They argued that thesalaries the government wanted to offer were too low andthat experienced teachers would not be interested in workingat that pay level. They challenged CEIC's argument thatnewly graduated ESL teachers could offer the quality of helpneeded by the immigrant women in the program.We can't find people to teach at the rates they want usto offer. We don't want brand new graduates teachingthe English language part. We say to them [CEIC] whereare we going to find such people?Another concern which involved hiring practices, alsoseemed to stem from CEIC's desire to keep spending undercontrol. The staff in this program were hired to work forthe agency, but CEIC preferred to contract with themdirectly. Negotiations over salaries were difficult becauseinformation about what other programs were payinginstructors was not easily obtained.Another item negotiated with CEIC was whether fundingwould be reduced if trainees were hired by their hostemployers before they had completed the full program. Aprevious practice had involved the removal of a per diemrate from the program funding when women were hired before126the training finished. Marilyn described how the staffargued successfully that this was unfair and the rule waschanged.For a while when women would be hired early on in theprogram, say during the first few weeks, CEIC wouldtake away a per diem rate for these women. We arguedthat our overhead expenses are the same whether she'sin the program or not and we shouldn't be penalized.We also questioned what the goal of these trainingprograms were if not to get these women a job and herethey were penalizing them for doing that very thing.They finally admitted or realized that our overheadcosts do stay the same so they did not take away thatmoney.Both Marilyn and Bev encouraged the women to completethe program, insisting that they would be better off in thelong-term. This was a difficult point to push, however,because they knew the trainees' financial pressures weregreat and that immediate economic needs were often apriority over more long-term career goals.Another source of frustration for Marilyn and Bev wasthe sense that CEIC did not understand the demands made ofthem in running the programs. They often felt their workwas unappreciated. As they were preparing to begin the nextprogram which was to overlap with the one I participated in,CEIC experienced a budget shortfall and intake for the nextprogram was delayed. Marilyn expressed great annoyance atthe short notice and that CEIC only sent a fax, rather thanphoning her. She felt that CEIC did not understand nor careabout the implications for the next group of trainees.I received a fax last week that said I could not startthe intake for the next group, which was to be in127128November, because there was no money. ... I'd alreadysent out letters regarding eligibility. They didn'tcall me or anything, I called them. What made me madwas that there was no acknowledgment of the incredibleamount of time and energy that went into developing aschedule to accommodate two groups, because theyoverlap. So all that time is wasted. They said Icould take in another group two months later.As a result of this sudden notice and cut in funding,Marilyn began to wonder whether the past success of thisagency had in acquiring government funding was resented byCEIC.I feel we're paying for a relationship with CEIC wherewe've been the big fish in the little pond. We getlots of dollars from CEIC. We serve 15,000 immigrantwomen through these programs and make 90,000 clientcontacts. They resent the clout we have, that we'resuccessful.Generally speaking, the staff found that the fundingpractices of CEIC produced a lot of extra work and alsoproduced feelings of insecurity. Both Marilyn and Bevexpressed concern about the effect such practices had ontheir relationships with the women they wanted to serve.They felt very uncomfortable about being forced to makecommitments they wondered whether they could keep.We need more long-term funding commitments so that weare not continually operating from program to programand renegotiating every six months. Sometimes we'vestarted the program before we really know we're gettingthe money. It's a bad way to do business.Other areas of negotiation which Marilyn and Bev feltstrongly about had to do with their own job descriptions andthe multiple roles they had to play in order to respond tothe needs of the trainees. Counselling, in particular, was129central to their work, but they felt that CEIC did not sharesuch a perspective.CEIC also doesn't understand the importance ofcounselling and the kinds of traumas these womenexperience. We have to argue continually aboutincluding that in our job description, but it's thefirst to go when the budgets are being trimmed. ... Wedo it ourselves, particularly the employmentcounselling matters. If there are psychological oremotional problems we try to deal somewhat with thembut often refer them to outside resources.The staff also lamented the little time available todevelop curriculum. They described how this forced them towork under a lot of stress and, at times, with littlepreparation.We have no time to develop curriculum, they never giveyou administrative time to do that. I would like to sitand spend a few weeks actually putting a manualtogether so I'm not always flying by the seat of mypants. You would think that curriculum developmentwould be important but its not.Although both Bev and Marilyn expressed strongcommitment to serving the immigrant community, they did notthink they would be working with government funded programsover the long-term. They believed it would not help theirown employment futures, particularly their financialsituations, to stay working with such programs. Their lowwages also produced tensions when the trainees were beinghired for better pay than they were receiving.We won't be here forever. We can't afford to, the wagesare low, many of these women will be making as much ormore than we do. As far as our careers are concerned,we really can't afford to stay here for a long time.Working With the TraineesDespite the demands of the job and stressful workingconditions, both Bev and Marilyn expressed strong commitmentto their work. The courage and persistence of the women whocame into the program was a source of inspiration. Theyfelt fortunate to be in the position where they couldwitness the trainees going through enormous changes. BothBev and Marilyn expressed respect and admiration for thetrainees and recognized that, as staff, they too werelearning and changing a great deal.It's the women who take these programs. They're strong,they take risks and their lives are changed forever.It's good to be a part of that. It's also a goodlearning process for us. We've learned a lot about whatworks and doesn't work, about fighting to provide agood program.After attending one of the lifeskills classes, I askedMarilyn the coordinator, about her relationship with thetrainees given that she was white, English speaking andCanadian-born. She replied that she was hired for the jobbecause of previous experience in running such programs.She also felt that although her background was differentfrom the trainees her perspective was useful to the programbecause she could speak from experience about the "reality"of working in Canada, about what employers were looking for.She also argued that as white English speaking women, sheand the program assistant were important role models for thetrainees.130131During my visits to the program, I noticed a strongsense of group cohesion and that the trainees were verysupportive of each other. For example, when they wereviewing the videotapes of their mock job interviews, theyfrequently praised one another and were quick to encouragethose who were hesitant and struggling to speak. They alsoshared their resources. One trainee who had worked in thefashion industry in her home country was often sewingclothes for the other trainees as they prepared for theself-marketing phase of the training. Another trainee whosehusband worked in a bakery frequently brought food foreveryone to share. The staff concurred with myobservations, noting that compared to other programs, thisgroup was more supportive and the trainees more committed tothe program. Despite their different countries of originand cultures, it seemed they had created a bond with eachother as they struggled to adapt and adjust to immigrationand to Canadian life.One of the major issues the staff believed they had tohelp the trainees address was their experience ofimmigration and the resulting cultural dissonance anddisillusionment. Bev spoke about the rude awakening many ofthe trainees experienced once they arrived in Canada andbegan to look for paid work.These women are still dealing with immigration andthat's an enormous adjustment. Many of them have beentold stories about Canada as the land of milk and honeyand then they get here and have to face the realitythat they can't get the same jobs as they had in their132home country. They have to accept moving down theladder to some lower occupation than what they didbefore.Bev and Marilyn believed that an important part of theprocess required that the trainees had to lower theirexpectations and come to terms with Canadian customs. Atthe same time, they spoke about helping the women find abalance between their experiences from other countries andCanadian ways. In the introduction to assertivenesstraining, the staff argued that there was a "global"approach to asserting oneself regardless of culture.As newcomers to this country you need to balance whatworks in your country and what happens here. There isa global way - ask for what you want without othersfeeling guilty or put down.Some of the trainees, however, were not so accepting ofthe "Canadian" approach. For example, during the Englishupgrading classes, resistance to certain teaching processesemerged. The staff felt the trainees had been ratherconfrontative, but believed it was partly due to theirlanguage difficulties.They have certain ideas and experiences about trainingand education. They challenge the English languageinstructors a lot because they have certain kinds ofexperiences with such training in their home countryand they also don't have the right words to ask thequestions. So we help them to learn how to askquestions without confronting the instructors so much.Another topic which produced some resistance from thetrainees emerged during the lifeskills class on sexualharassment. Marilyn discussed how the initial response fromthe trainees was to often deny any experience of harassment.133But as they discussed the issue many trainees realized theyhad experienced harassment.They may say at first they have had no experience ofthis but then some realize that it's already happenedto them here and they begin to see that such things donot have to be tolerated.During the class on assertiveness training, I wassomewhat uncomfortable when the staff seemed to dismiss oneof the trainees' attempts to participate in an exerciseabout rights. Marilyn asked the trainees to think of tenbasic rights they were entitled to. In the pursuantdiscussion, Marilyn challenged one of the trainees, Lily, asshe provided her idea of a right.M: Give me a right...L: To ask questions ...M: How? You're in the hot seat now...L: In a nice way?M: Let's not get into nice, nicey.L: To say please?M: No, confidently in a way that respects your needs.I'm fine tuning your skills. Let's hear the careerwoman, not the little girl.Although the staff frequently encouraged the traineesto become accustomed to Canadian ways, they also wanted themto bring their different ethnic backgrounds when it seemeduseful to promoting the program. During one of thelifeskills classes, the staff invited the trainees to cometo the graduation ceremony of the group that was justfinishing. There was a lot of excitement because several134politicians were to be there. Marilyn asked that a traineefrom this group volunteer to be one of the hostesses. Sheencouraged the women to wear their traditional costumes, ifthey felt comfortable.Preparing the trainees for the two weeks of self-marketing was another area where there was a lot of concernand anxiety expressed by the trainees. Some of the traineesresisted the whole notion of self-marketing. Part of thepreparation required that each trainee participate inseveral video-taped mock job interviews which were laterreviewed in class and evaluated. The trainees also had tolearn how to use a variety of sources of information, suchas business directories, to prepare a list of 100 companiesto call and visit. The staff also provided information onthose companies to avoid.There was a lot of initial confusion when the traineeswere developing their list of companies to visit. The ideaof creating such a list and then actually going to eachbusiness to ask for a job was quite overwhelming to many ofthe trainees. Marilyn suggested a way of approaching theupcoming task.Go to those ones first that you really don't want towork at, those in the wrong section of town, wrongproduct. Practice, get over stage fright. Work up tothe ones you really want when you're hot!During one class, Marilyn was reviewing the interviewprocess and the kinds of information the trainees needed togather about a potential employer. There were many135questions during this class as well as a general feeling ofuncertainty and fear about the upcoming self-marketingprocess. Teresa, one of the trainees, felt the staff shouldbe finding the host employers. She suggested that theagency should place ads in local newspapers, rather thanhave each of the trainees create their own list and contactemployers themselves. She also referred to previousexperiences with college training where she was guaranteed ajob.I have a suggestion. Why not publish in the [newspaper]about trainees ready to work in accounting. Isn't thata good idea? Where I studied in college, they promisedstudents jobs at the end.Marilyn countered this view, arguing that having thestaff make the contacts gave the wrong impression toemployers. She also emphasized that self-marketing was animportant learning experience that helped to preventemployers exploiting the trainees. At the same time,Marilyn reassured the trainees that the staff wereresponsible for clarifying the terms of being a trainingplacement host with the employers.M: Putting an ad in the paper doesn't help you get overfright. It would give you a false sense of security.Article in the newspaper gives a sense that you'reneedy - the impression of another society looking forhelp. You have to dive into cold water. You'll getgreat feedback. You're doing something scary for theaverage Canadian woman. If you go yourselves, theywon't see it as three months of cheap labour.T: But you go and talk to them too, does that give abad impression?136M: No, you do it first, then we clarify. Our job is tomake sure you get good training. You've got the job ofgetting a list together.Some of the trainees supported the self-marketingapproach. Anne, another trainee, believed that the processof learning how to sell oneself was critical to openingopportunities and avoiding dead end jobs. She also arguedthat to succeed, immigrant women had to leave behind whatthey had worked at before. She talked about other immigrantwomen she knew who were stuck in a poor paying jobs, who hadnot learned such job search skills.I think it's important to find out for ourselves. Iknow immigrant women who've been here fifteen years butthey have no self-marketing skills. They even havegood English but, they will be stuck until they die.Here it's different. We can get better jobs. You haveto forget about who you were in your country. We havenothing to lose, so there's no risk!Although many trainees understood the benefits of self-marketing, they were anxious about how informed employerswere about training placements and how much the trainees hadto tell them about the program. Marilyn replied thatemployers should be told to call the staff about theirresponsibilities of being a training place host. What wasimportant for the trainees to emphasize was that they neededCanadian experience without a lot of supervision.Explain that you're looking for Canadian experience andthat they should call the coordinator about theresponsibilities of being a training place host. Thecovering letter explains a lot. You're looking atminimal supervision.Another issue raised during this class was thepossibility of changing training place hosts. One of the137trainees, May, was concerned about interrupting the schedulebut also needing to find a better host. Bev replied thatthey hoped that self-marketing would eliminate a lot ofmoving around, but that if there was a problem they wouldrespond. However, she also indicated that if the traineeswere dissatisfied because they were working at a lower levelthan they were used to, this would not necessarily be avalid reason for moving them. She reminded the traineesthat they should not expect to find the same job as they hadhad in their home country.We hope that it will be a match. We do a lot of workwith training place hosts, getting more efficient atnot signing if it doesn't look good. You can usuallytell in the first week how it's going. If you don'tlike it we need to know why. If it's not a seniorposition -- you have to work your way up like everyoneelse in Canada.Both Bev and Marilyn repeatedly emphasized during thisclass that the objective was to get Canadian experience andan opportunity to try their skills in accounting andbookkeeping. They cautioned the trainees to view this onlyas a beginning point, not a process during which they couldreach their career goals. The staff also emphasized theimportance of intuition and being tenacious. In an attemptto get their point across, they spoke about situations fromprevious programs as examples.You have to go with your intuition. Stick it out.Remember that you can't reach your career goal in threemonths. One trainee was unhappy because she had a highlevel position in her own country but had to take anaccounts payable job. She was not pacing herself. We dowant you to get accounting training though, notsecretarial training.138Later in the program, after the self-marketing segmentwas over and the women were at their training placements, Iphoned Bev and Marilyn and asked how the trainees had faredduring this process. They reported that most of the womenhad been successful during self-marketing. A few werehaving quite a struggle finding an employer. The staffexpressed admiration for some of the trainees who were"toughing it out". Others, they felt were impatient andhaving personal struggles.One woman went to 106 companies and only got onepositive response, but she stuck to it. She's veryquiet and persistent. There are a couple of "whiners"and we moved two immediately. Some have personalgrowth problems - they're always on the attack, theycan't trust yet. They had a lot of trouble with self-marketing - fear, desperation, anger.I asked the staff if they felt the training provided bythe training place hosts was actually in accounting andbookkeeping or whether they were being used as generaloffice help. Marilyn felt that, generally speaking, mostwere getting appropriate training experience. She felt thesource of much discomfort arose out of making the move fromthe relatively "safe" environment of the classroom trainingto the "real" world of work.They're experiencing the real world - it's differentfrom training here [at the agency]. It's boring,mundane work. They don't believe us at first about thereal world. CEIC wanted them back every few weeks to begrounded in training but they have to do it there withhost employers, not here where it's comfortable.139She also found some of the trainees were pushingthemselves too hard, striving for perfection and trying toaccomplish too much in a short time.It's their expectations that get in the way. They haveto be perfect. They think they have to do it and get itall today even though the employer has said it willtake three months to a year.Both Marilyn and Bev believed that much of the sourceof difficulties for some of the trainees was linked tolanguage and culture.Some of the trainees' English needs to go up. Part ofbeing overwhelmed is due to language and culture. Someforget how to think when they start jobs. They thinkthey have to do it and get it all today - how to learnto do the job. It happens to a handful, but the restare fine.Marilyn also expressed ambivalence about the successesof the trainees, particularly when the trainees werereceiving higher salaries than they were getting as trainingstaff.What really gets us is that trainees are getting hiredfor better pay that we're getting! It's hard because Ireally want them to get good jobs and good salaries.Part of the work of the staff involved visiting thetraining place hosts to check on how the trainees were doingand to evaluate the employers' role. During this time andalso during the self-marketing phase, when the trainees wereout on their own and often isolated from the other trainees,the staff worked to monitor the situation. Both Marilyn andBev gave their work and home numbers to the trainees andencouraged them to call whenever they had any concerns.Working with the CommunityThe main links the program staff had with the communitywere with other immigrant service agencies. They alsocommunicated regularly with government offices such associal assistance, housing, immigration and refugeeservices. Most of their support came from within the agencyitself, where they discussed their concerns with other staffand board members.The staff experienced some problems with one particulartrainee who they felt was not being treated very well by animmigrant resettlement agency. Early in the trainee'straining placement she had been offered a job by theemployer but had declined the offer, wanting to finish theentire training program. Marilyn supported this trainee'sdecision and was negotiating with the other agency which wasinsisting that the trainee take the job.The staff also found that the trainee with severehearing loss could not benefit from sitting in the classwithout an interpreter. They had referred the trainee to anorganization with resources for the hearing impaired.Unfortunately, the cost of an interpreter for the programcould not be accommodated in the budget. The staff feltbadly about this situation, but had been too busy to followup on her situation.Although the staff has some contact with immigrantserving agencies, there was little communication with other140141re-entry programs. Marilyn and Bev both felt ratherisolated and out of touch with others working with similarprograms. They described how difficult it was to find thetime and place to link with other programs.It's hard to find out what other training programs aredoing. It's also hard to arrange for times when we canall get together given our different schedules and workloads.They both felt disadvantaged due to their isolation.Marilyn thought that working together would be much moreeffective in bringing about change and negotiating forimproved and expanded resources.It would be so much nicer and easier if we got togetherand collectively tried to deal with these issues - findout where the good resources are that we can share, gettogether on these issues we are all struggling with.Marilyn found that the contractual relationship withCEIC put them in competition with other programs. In herexperience, CHIC encouraged such competition in order to getthe most for their money. In this context they observedthat CHIC was reluctant to have various programs sharinginformation.We have had a few meetings [with coordinators of otherprograms] but CEIC didn't like that. They don't want ussharing information.The relationship with employers was another major linkbetween the program and the community. In discussing thislink, the staff expressed a minimum of concern. However,this had not always been the case. Over the years ofrunning employment programs, the agency had encounteredemployers that were unsuitable or that tended to exploit the142trainees. The agency made a list of these companiesavailable during the preparation for self-marketing. Theyalso avoided unionized sites because of the unions'resistance to taking on trainees from outside of theorganization. The unions were concerned that trainees wouldtake work away from other fully paid employees.Another practice which had reduced problems with hostemployers was initiated during this program. Before thetrainees started their job placements, the employers wererequired to provide a detailed job description. The staffwere pleased to see that some of the trainees had found very"high powered" accounting firms. They had also receivedcalls from employers commenting on how pleased they werewith the trainees' performance.In discussing their work with host employers, both Bevand Marilyn indicated that the main objective was to find aplacement where the trainees were assured of getting a jobat the end of the program. They also emphasized theimportance of working with employers to clarify with themwhat their respective responsibilities were.When we speak with host employers, the bottom line iswas the woman going to be hired at the end of this? Weweren't interested in those employers that could notgive us this verbal assurance.When problems arose, the staff indicated they werequick to respond. In deciding on how to intervene, thestaff listened to both employers' and trainees' concerns.Employers were not always the problem.143The employers are very clear on the contract with us.They do have valid concerns sometimes. We check outwhether it's the employer or the trainee's problem.There were few comments from the staff and traineesabout problems with families. In cases where the traineeswere offered a job before the training was completed,Marilyn and Bev were aware that some of the trainees werefeeling a lot of pressure from spouses to find paid workand, as a result, they were unlikely to finish the program.This section has outlined the work involved in buildinglinks with the community. There was some interaction withother immigrant serving agencies but for the most part, theoutreach involved working with host employers.SummaryThe bookkeeping program for immigrant women withintermediate English had been developed initially as a pilotproject which was a joint effort between CEIC and theagency. It was one of several government-funded employmentprograms and one of many other kinds of services provided bythis agency to a large segment of the immigrant community.The staff were familiar with the process of negotiating forgovernment funding and were successful in their efforts.In spite of a longstanding relationship, there weretensions and conflicts between CEIC and the staff inrelation to the administration of this program. The twomajor areas of negotiation with CEIC focused on the content144of the program and the costs, with the two issues frequentlyinterrelated. The staff were successful in their strugglesto lengthen the classroom training, with little room tonegotiate on other issues such as money for extra clothingallowances. The staff also worked hard to convince CEIC ofthe importance of using a self-marketing approach.The staff I spoke to expressed concern with thegovernment's limited understanding of the difficulty ofimmigration. They were also cognizant of the racistattitudes of many employers which created major obstaclesfor the trainees. The self-marketing approach wasintroduced in an effort to help the trainees address some ofthese problems head on. However, the staff also instructedthe trainees to lower their expectations as they soughtentrance to the Canadian labour market. Starting over andleaving "old" careers behind was a recurring themethroughout much of the classroom discussions. Adapting toCanadian and Western culture was a central issue in thelifeskills classes.The trainees in this program represented over thirteendifferent countries of origin and a multitude of culturalpractices and beliefs. To a certain extent the lifeskillscurriculum assumed that the group was homogeneous and therewas little opportunity to acknowledge their differentcultures and experiences as immigrant women. The trainees'reaction and resistance to various aspects of the programwere also diverse. Some of the trainees did not agree with145the self-marketing approach and argued that locatingtraining place hosts was the responsibility of the staff.They also challenged the instructional process in theEnglish language training. Other trainees agreed with theself-marketing approach and understood the importance ofdeveloping aggressive job search skills.This approach is an interesting contrast to the programfor native women, where the staff pushed the trainees to gofor more than a low paying job and emphasized the importanceof reclaiming their native identities. In the program forimmigrant women, the repeated message was to lower one'sexpectations and think about short term goals. In bothcases, the staff played a key role in challenging thetrainees' desires.When the program ended, thirteen of the fifteentrainees were hired by their training place hosts,suggesting that the process of self-marketing was effective.Two of the trainees went on to further training. The staffhave remained with the agency, but have experienced manychanges as the funding for job training programs hasshifted. Marilyn moved to another program in the agency,while Bev remained with the Intermediate English project,which reduced the staffing of that program by one.CHAPTER SEVENWOMEN'S CARPENTRY AND CONSTRUCTION PROGRAM:JUST GIVE US THE MONEYWhat has become clear is that many of the women didn'treally want to be in construction. It was seen as ameans to an end, a decent paying job, a way to survivethe next six months. (Marian, Director)The third program I visited for this study was a CJSwomen's re-entry program designed as an introduction toconstruction-related skills. The program, a pilot projectinitiated by CEIC, was provided by a non-profit organizationwhich developed materials and provided job search to helpwomen find paid work. The organization had been contactedby Canada Employment and asked to develop a nontraditionaltraining program for women.The organization offering the program provided a numberof services to women such as pre-employment programs,workshops for schools, community groups and professionalgroups, and publications. They also provided assistance tohelp establish self-help groups for job-seekers and job-changers. The activities of the non-profit organizationwere overseen by a board of directors, many of whom weretrades women. The organization had also maintained stronglinks with other groups whose work focused on women intrades.146147After the organization had been contacted by CEIC, thestaff, which consisted of one paid worker and tenvolunteers, worked for over six months (with no funding fromCEIC) to develop a program. A proposal was drafted and thenecessary steps were taken to meet CEIC guidelines includingidentifying staff, developing an advisory committee,recruiting training place hosts, and locating space. Theadvisory committee consisted of representatives from theconstruction industry, government, women in trades, andtrades instructors from several local colleges. Thiscommittee met once a month for three months prior to thestart of the program and then met regularly throughout thetraining.The program ran for 35 weeks with 22 weeks of "off-site" or classroom-based training and 13 weeks of "on-site"training with employers. For 12 weeks, the traineesattended a local post-secondary technical institution wherethey participated in an introductory carpentry program. Afitness program was also provided at the institute toprepare the trainees for the physical exertion of the job.The remainder of the classroom training included two weekseach of computer training, first aid, small businessdevelopment, life skills training and job search training.The objectives for the program, as outlined in theproposal, included:1. To prepare women for employment at a living wage in anon-traditional sector of the economy.1482. To train participants in the basic carpentry skills.3. To introduce participants to the computer and itsapplication to small businesses.4. To provide participants with an opportunity to acquirean Industrial First Aid Certificate.5. To provide trainees with an introduction to smallbusiness skills.Staff advertised the program through the localnewspapers and through information flyers sent to variouscommunity agencies serving women, including social services.They recruited trainees over a two week period. Applicantswere required to complete a detailed questionnaire and totake a math and English test. The staff also interviewedeach potential trainees twice and asked the applicants toprovide the names of three references of previous employersor from volunteer activities. Applicants were assessed forCJS eligibility which meant they had to be unemployed orworking less than 25 hours per week.A total of thirty-two women, divided into two groups ofsixteen, were accepted into the program, with the secondgroup starting six weeks after the first. Of the thirty-twotrainees, twenty were receiving social assistance andanother eight were receiving unemployment insurance. Theaverage age was 31. Eighteen of the women were single withno children and thirteen were single parents. Twenty onetrainees had grade twelve or more education, and eleven hadless than grade twelve. There were two native women in the149program, two immigrant women and the remainder were white,English speaking women. There were no disabled women in theprogram.The staff for the program consisted of two half-timecoordinators and one part-time administrative assistant.Part of the coordinators' work also involved teachinglifeskills classes. The coordinators had worked asvolunteers during the six months the program was beingdeveloped. As mentioned above, there was also an advisorycommittee consisting of fourteen members.The office of the organization and the lifeskillsclasses were located in an office on the second level of anolder two-story commercial building located on a very busythoroughfare accessible by public transportation. Theoffice consisted of a large open area, two enclosed areasand a small kitchen. The carpentry training was held at thetrades school of the local technical institute. Computertraining was held at a private computer training agency.The introduction to small business development was providedby a non-profit women's organization which focused on womenand community economic development issues. The first aidtraining was provided by a local college.As researcher, I obtained access to this programthrough the director of the non-profit organization whoworked as administrative assistant to the program and wasteaching some of the lifeskills classes. I interviewed herand the two other staff who acted as part-time coordinators150and who also taught different parts of the lifeskillstraining. I made visits to three of the lifeskills classesand was asked to accompany one of the coordinators as shevisited the trainees and spoke to the employers during their"on-site" training. I also went along with her during onevisit to the technical institute where the trainees werereceiving their introduction to carpentry skills.In my role as researcher in this pilot program, I wasboth participant and non-participant observer, interviewer,confidante, navigator (during the visits to host employers),and, to a limited extent, office assistant. I feltcomfortable enough to take detailed notes during my visitsto the lifeskills classes, sharing my writing with some ofthe trainees who were curious. In the classes I visited, anumber of different topics were being addressed: on-the-jobcommunication problems and strategies, Workers' CompensationBoard regulations, opportunities in apprenticeship training,introduction to small business training, evaluation oftraining at technical institution, and self defence.For most of my visits to the classroom, I was anonparticipant observer, except during the self-defenceclass, where I participated along with the trainees inlearning some new techniques. I spoke informally with thetrainees at coffee and lunch breaks, during my visits to thetechnical institute, and when I accompanied one of the staffmembers to the job sites where the trainees received on-the-job training. During my first visit a few trainees151questioned me about my research and my own workingexperience. For the most part, they either appeared toaccept or chose to ignore my presence. One of the traineeswas very reluctant to talk to me and appeared verysuspicious of my questions. Later in the program, afterseveral confrontations with the staff and instructors at thetechnical institute, she dropped out of the training.In my role as researcher, I experienced a collegial andreciprocal relationship with the staff. When visiting theoffice, I tried to help them with their workload byanswering the phone and taking messages and helping onetrainee with the computer. I was also present for some ofthe discussions between staff and trainees when conflictsarose. When asked, I offered suggestions as to how torespond to these struggles. After the program had finished,I gave some assistance to the development of an evaluationreport that went to CEIC.I felt quite comfortable in my role as researcher andvisitor in this program. Although the staff were verybusy, I did not sense they were frustrated or felt burdenedwith my questions or presence. This was due, in part, to analready established collegial relationship with the directorof the organization and, I think, because I contributed asmall amount to easing the workload. My comfort with thestaff in this environment was also clearly related to ourshared class, racial and educational backgrounds.152This first section of this chapter has provided somebackground information including the history of the program,the trainees, the staff and non-profit agency which ran thetraining, and my experience as a researcher. In theremaining sections, using the interviews and informaldiscussions with the staff, I provide their accounts oftheir work with the state, the trainees and the community.Working With Government and CEICGenerally speaking, the relationship between CEIC andthis program was rather tense and cautious. The staff wereconfronted with many problems and challenges throughout thelife of this program. From the beginning, there weredisagreements with CEIC about the focus of the training andthe resources needed to run such a program.When CEIC had initially contacted this organization,they did not suggest an introductory program in constructionskills for women. They were looking for someone to run anontraditional program for women in other areas, such ascarpet laying and dry walling. CEIC argued that there was ashortage of workers to fill these jobs. After looking intothe nature of this work, the staff were not eager to trainwomen in these areas. They agreed that there were jobsavailable, but they felt training women in these skills wasnot appropriate because it offered mainly temporary, short-term contract work. The staff resisted this initial153proposal, arguing that women's need for economic securityand independence could not be addressed by training them forthese occupations. They were also concerned about thephysical demands of these jobs. Few workers stay in theseoccupations for more than two or three years.In the end, training for these jobs appeared in theproposal as part of the on-site experiences. Marion, thedirector, spoke about the importance of compromising anddeveloping a proposal that acknowledged CEIC's demands andgave women other choices as well.They wanted us to have them do drywall and we fudged onthat. ... so we'll get a drywaller as a potentialemployer and then we won't encourage anyone to take itunless they're really keen and then we'll make surethey are aware of the problems. ...You have to understand the needs of the bureaucrats -she has to go back to her office and say here's thelist of employers and it does include drywall. So ineffect we're helping her to cover her ass.On the other hand, Barb, one of the part-timecoordinators, believed that the important thing to rememberwhen working in these programs was the women who take thetraining. For her, women's needs were central, not those ofgovernment workers or other members of the organization youwork with.I care about women, not project officers or what[others say]. I don't care what the government says.During the developmental phase, the staff alsocontacted the unions about having the women work atorganized sites. They were told that due to various rulesand regulations, the women could not be trained at unionized154worksites. The staff did receive some reassurance that theunions would not discriminate against the women when theylooked for work. Their experience with organized labour wasmixed, with some organizations like the carpentry unionsbeing very supportive, and others not.Many of the major struggles during the proposaldevelopment were related to costs. The staff and volunteersfelt very strongly that the women should receive recognizedand accredited training. CEIC argued that this was tooexpensive and suggested that the program rent some warehousespace and construction tools and hire a carpenter to teachthe women basic skills. Marion, the director of theorganization, spoke about how they resisted CEIC's idea andargued for accredited training at a local technicalinstitute.We wanted accredited training. CEIC wanted us to rentsome warehouse, some tools and hire some carpenter andcall them a carpenter instructor. And we said no way.One of our major criticisms of CJS has been that youdon't get accredited recognizable training that is morethan job specific and they're not going to give thatfor women.Marian speculated that CEIC's reluctance to use publicinstitutions and their complaints about the high costs werepart of a campaign to undermine public educationalinstitutions. In the end, and after the institute loweredits price somewhat, CEIC very reluctantly approved thistraining.Jill, one of the part-time coordinators/instructors,felt that the program served the needs of the government to155look good, not the needs of the women. She argued that toreally help women requires that the government spends money,which it seemed very reluctant to do.CEIC had a certain amount of money. They wereintrigued with the idea. It was new, innovative, wouldmake them look good. But I don't think the genuineneeds of these women were ever thought about. ... Sothere's on the one hand the lip service to providingthis kind of training, and, on the other hand, when itmeans it's going to cost money, then it's not there.Barb, who shared the coordinator's job with Jill, hadworked at other agencies for several years, runninggovernment-funded job training programs. In her view, thegoal of the policy was not to help women, but to improveCanada's competitiveness. However, she also believed thatthe training was useful for women who found themselves in aparticular situation.It's hands on experience. Some jobs are good forwomen, say with three kids who doesn't want to think,just wants to do it and get home. It's a way to getout of the house, a ticket ... We shouldn't say theseprograms aren't good. They get the opportunity to trythings out and make decisions. It provides experienceand a framework to look at other options.In her experiences with CJS job training programs, Barbhad developed a strategy for working with governmentbureaucracy. She argued that in order to use the fundingsuccessfully you have to be flexible. She believed that theproposal was not a blueprint to be followed rigidly.There doesn't have to be a consistency between theproposal and actual program. You need to havecontingency plans. For example the proposal said wehave two weeks of computer, but that's not enough, sowe dropped another part and lengthened basic training.Programs can be as flexible as you are as a person.156You still have to honor a contract but you must beflexible within the contract guidelines.Barb gave an example of working the system so that itbenefits women. In the construction training program, oneof the trainees was an immigrant woman facing majorobstacles to both training and employment. The coordinatorsfelt that at this time, other issues took priority over thiswoman's attendance in the program.An example of success is the [immigrant] woman in ourprogram. We found her a place to live, the kids are inschool, there are four kids and a handicapped husband.We got more ESL. That's an incredible success.When I asked Jill what she thought the government'sresponsibility was in relation to women's job training, shereplied that they should first listen to women. But shefelt this was not as simple as it sounded, because mostgovernment policy-makers do not have the experience womendo. Their male experience also prevents them from reallyhearing what women's struggles are. Jill believed that thiswas a biased perspective that was not recognized.The policy-makers are not female ... the majority aremale and the male world is very different from thefemale world, the private-public domain split, theabsolute lack of awareness of what women's realitiesare... It's male culture and a male bias. It shapesthe response. That bias is never acknowledged.Barb also believed that there was little understandingor recognition of women's struggles. She felt the policylooked at women's issues very narrowly and did not providethe resources to deal with the reality and complexity ofproblems women were facing.157You have to give credit to the baggage that women comein with, some recognition of the serious problems theydeal with - issues such as abuse, alcoholism, violence.There's not a nickel of money that can be dedicated tothose issues. You're paid to be there from nine tofive, paid to stand there and teach, nothing else.Jill was also sceptical about how effective governmentpolicy could be in achieving equality for women. Shebelieved that women were identified as a target group in theCJS policy because they are needed as workers, not becauseof any commitment to equality. Women's increasingparticipation as paid workers would bring about change, sheargued, not policy.Women are recognized as important contributors to thelabour market, because women's labour is needed now,because of the shift in demographics. Women willachieve equality in the market place not because ofpolicies for women but because of demographics. Therewill be so many women in the labour market that theresistance to women will be broken down over time.Jill felt that many of the problems they had with theprogram were due to inadequate attention being given to therealities of construction work and the built-in obstaclesthat women, particularly as mothers, would have to overcomein order to gain access to this nontraditional area.I feel there is built in sabotage. This program has notrecognized women as mothers, with child care needs,different transportation needs. These were notaddressed in the proposal... No one thought thatwomen's lives were different from men.No one ever thought that construction starts at 6 a.m.and finishes at 3 in the afternoon. Nobody had theidea that in the construction industry you move aroundfrom site to site, how are the women going to getthere?When the staff made suggestions about dealing withthese concerns, such as including transportation services in158the program, they found CEIC resistant to such ideas,arguing that this would make it too easy. Jill also wascritical of the low training allowance. She interpreted thegovernment's response and the low allowance as an expressionof their devaluation of women.No negotiating about a bus that we could rent totransport women to job sites because it was thought ofas treating them too nicely, make their lives toosimple. ... The training allowance of $122.50 a week isan insult. Because it says that your labour is worth$3/hour and it seems to me it reinforces the wholegeneral attitude towards women's labour.Jill challenged the rationale given by the governmentthat these women were at the bottom of the skills ladder andtherefore a minimum training allowance was appropriate. Shebelieved that women did bring skills to these sites, butthat these skills are not recognized.Why can't they be paid [on the work site] and get thesame amount of money as other people doing a full timejob? The argument, that you start at the bottom ...these women bring a lot of skills to the work site,probably a lot more than a lot of the men do.Jill found that the limited training allowance was notonly a reflection of the government's view of women, butalso a major barrier to women accessing training. Manywomen who wanted to take the training decided not to applybecause they could not live on the low allowance.So we end up doing the screening process, decisions aremade based on the amount of money we're going to give.It excludes a lot of people who simply cannot afford tolive on that kind of money.Most of the negotiations in this program involved theproject officer who acted as the major liaison with CEIC.159Barb's experience with other project officers had beengenerally positive. In her experience with other programs,she found that they knew the labour market well, gavesupport and had good negotiating skills. She felt that theproject officer for this program was focusing on the wrongthings.They are picky about small things, receipts for $29.95.They're not accountants. It's legitimate that theywant to know where the money's gone. It's not about alack of trust, it's about sending inexperienced peoplelooking for stuff that's not important.Jill also believed the project officer for this programwas concerned about the wrong issues. Jill had hadgenerally positive relationships with government workers inprevious experiences. She wondered whether the hostilityshe experienced with this project officer was also the viewfrom the top.These people are suspicious, authoritarian. They thinkit's their money. But it's a perspective that comesdown from the top - the front line workers only reflectthe top of the hierarchy.Both Jill and Barb experienced a sense of beingmonitored while working with this particular program. Theyfelt that CEIC had little trust in their skills andknowledge, evidenced by CEIC's insistence that an advisorycommittee be established.CEIC demanded that there be more involvement of thecommittee because there was the assumption that we're abunch of middle class women who didn't know what wewere doing. ...160This lack of trust also emerged at other points in thenegotiations with CEIC. Early in the program, the projectofficer visited the office and spoke to the trainees andencouraged them to contact her if they had any concerns.Later on, one of the trainees with whom the staff had hadseveral confrontations, contacted the project officer andmade serious allegations about the program, threatening tosue. The project officer then phoned and severelyreprimanded Jill. Jill found the handling of this conflictunprofessional and felt it did not provide an example to thetrainees of an appropriate way to handle disputes.The project officer called me and really dressed medown, really chewed me out for over an hour. I was soangry. She is really being inappropriate in her sidingwith this woman. She had encouraged this by tellingthe women to call her. I suggested she try and thinkof the two sides to every story.This situation created a lot of tension for the staff.Eventually the trainee dropped out of the program and therelations with CEIC seemed to improve. Jill wonderedwhether the project officer, who had arranged to get thetrainee back on UI, was now having doubts about the validityof the trainee's accusations. Once back on UI, this traineehad subsequently disappeared and the project officer wasunable to locate her. After working through this conflict,Jill recalled that during the recruitment phase, the traineehad been identified as "someone with troubles". Her workinghistory indicated she had many jobs in one year withemployers reporting poor interpersonal skills. As the161program progressed, the depth of this trainees' trauma as asurvivor of childhood physical and sexual abuse became moreapparent and Jill felt badly about the conflict with thistrainee.Jill found herself comparing her experience with otherprograms for women funded by different governmentdepartments. She was shocked by the mistrust that seemed topermeate the relationship between CEIC and women's jobtraining programs.There is a feeling of tension, an undercurrent ofdistrust, that we or the women who want the trainingwill try to rip off the government. The message isthat the government is giving a handout and mustmonitor the situation very closely. [It's] a feelingof being watched and not trusted that I find demeaning.It wasn't like that when I worked with [otherprograms]. There was more trust there, more relaxed.Both coordinators felt the project officer and CEIC ingeneral did not understand the day to day struggles to runthe program. CEIC was invited to attend the monthlymeetings of the advisory council, but had not participated.The staff noted that the project officer had visited theoffice and classrooms only once.Working with the TraineesBoth coordinators who had many years of experience inworking with women found this program to be unusuallydemanding. The working conditions left much to be desiredand there were frequent conflicts between and among staff,162between staff and trainees, and between trainees themselves.Jill found the noisy and hot office an unpleasant space towork in. When she thought of the pink air conditioned officeof the project officer, she found herself feeling resentful.Both Barb and Jill found that working overtime wasabsolutely necessary to keep up with the day to daydemands. Jill had many hours of overtime which she knew shewould never be paid for.I have 100 hours overtime already and they are notgoing to be paid. That to me reflects a lack ofawareness of what it's like to run this kind ofprogram. [It reflects] policy decisions made inisolation which they all tend to be. The implementationsite is entirely different.Barb felt caught in a struggle to make the program asuccess and yet to not feel exploited as a worker.They pay you for a 40 hour week but if you don't work100 hours it won't go. It's a "Catch 22" for womenemployed in this area - have to make programs a successto get more funding and to stay working.Barb and Jill felt caught in the middle with CEICdemands on one side and trainees' demands on the other. Itbecame clear after the program had been running for a whilethat most of the trainees were not particularly interestedin carpentry or construction work. These women wereattracted to the program because they wanted decent payingjobs. The trainees were responding to their experience ofpoverty and trying to live on welfare, not the notion ofworking in a nontraditional area.There were also tensions among the staff. Conflictarose over different communication styles and different163responses to disputes. Each of the staff used differentapproaches: one was more of a negotiator; another was moreconfrontative and direct; and yet another was moreconciliatory, wanting to smooth over troubled waters.Differences also emerged as those who were more experiencedwith CJS programs struggled with the views of those who wererelatively new to these projects.Many of the trainees were impatient with, and criticalof, various aspects of the program and had littlereservation in expressing their views. A small core groupof trainees who declared themselves "out" lesbians, wereoften the ones to speak out in class and did not hesitate topublicly challenge the staff and make their needs known.They were particularly critical and impatient with aspectsof the lifeskills classes which focused on personal growthissues describing it as "share and care bullshit".Rather than a sense of group collegiality, the traineesin this program seemed rather fragmented. There wereoccasions when some trainees became the focus of teasing byothers. For example, after one group discussion when atrainee had complained a great deal, the next day a babybottle was waiting for her when she returned to class. Thestaff noted that the first group was less supportive of eachother, than the second. They also observed that the tensionand conflict seemed to occur during transition periods asthe trainees moved from job sites to the classroom.164Although the staff were frustrated with some of thebehaviours of the trainees, they also respected and admiredthem. They found themselves challenged by the trainees'demands. Jill was surprised at the assertiveness andconfidence of some of the trainees, given their personalhistories and struggles.They are an endless source of fascination for me. Ireally like them, I love their guts, theirdetermination. I'm really impressed with their selfdirection. You expect that they might have low selfesteem [but] they're the most self directed women I'vecome across in a long time.Jill wondered whether some of their assertiveness haddeveloped because they were fighting for their survival.The trainees had to work hard in order to live and as aconsequence had acquired determination and skills.These are not your middle class women - should I go toschool, should I work? These are women who need to workto survive. They know exactly what they want to do.They've got a lot of guts.Jill described her philosophy about working with thetrainees. She avoided a "buddy-buddy" approach or makingany attempt to "butter-up" to them. Instead, she tried tobe open and direct and to negotiate, responding to theirdemands while still complying with the guidelines of thegovernment contract.I just negotiate with them ... I find it a real finebalancing act between the demands of the programimposed on us by CEIC and the demands of the women.It's accommodating, it's negotiating, keeping incontact with them all the time.I asked her how she would deal with one woman in alifeskills class I attended who declared that the classes165were not helpful and that she was going to stop coming sothat she could use the time to look for work. Jilldiscussed how she tried to accommodate this kind of demandwithin the framework of the curriculum by allowing for otheractivities, but make them part of an agreement.I would work out a contract with them that would becomean assignment. They would have to come back in andproduce some results of what they did. They might sayI want to do some research on that and I'd say go anddo the research and come back. This is the task you'reassigned to do.Although Jill had worked with women for many years incommunity settings, she had not encountered the animositywhich characterized some of the group dynamics. She was notcomfortable with the role she sometimes had to assume. Shealso reported that she was exhausted by the constantchallenges of the trainees. She sought out advice fromothers in an attempt to understand what was happening withthe trainees.They're testing, testing, always. I'm not sleepingnights. It goes against all my ideas of working withadults. I've talked to a counsellor and she saysthey're not adult, they're damaged people.She further speculated whether the group behaviour wasrelated to the attraction of such a training program forwomen who had dealt with major obstacles in their lives.We have women with poor education, they live and meetothers who are poor and have low education. Thisalways comes with lots of personal problems. This isan alternative program and attracts women who haven'tbeen able to make a smooth transition to the labourmarket.166Jill went on to describe the efforts they were makingto adjust the curriculum to better fit the needs of thetrainees. She was concerned with the demands this made,however, on their finances and was frustrated with thegovernment's expressed desire to help those most in need,without providing the necessary resources.But we don't have the resources for providing all thesupport and training they need.We've made seven referrals already for counselling, totransition houses, rape crisis, alcohol and drug abusetreatment which is going to cost us - [we're] trying tofind a way to cover it in our budget.One aspect of working in construction was obtaining thenecessary working clothes and tools, including boots, hardhat, tool belt and tools. Jill discovered that the clothingallowance usually provided to trainees in re-entry programscould not cover the costs of minimal requirements forworking in construction.The clothing allowance has been allocated, so we knewwe had a certain amount but certainly not enough toclothe the women and allow them to buy tools. There'senough to buy them a new pair of boots. We're lookingat probably seven or eight hundred dollars just to getthem ready for a job site with quality tools that willlast them.The trainees found various ways to find the appropriateequipment. Some went to flea markets and one group wenttogether to purchase the equipment bargaining for a reducedprice. The trainees raised the issue during the lifeskillsclass attended by a guest speaker from Worker'sCompensation. He expressed concern that second hand orcheaper equipment would not pass safety inspection.167The staff were aware that, like the general populationof women, many trainees were survivors of abuse. Jill wasalarmed to hear some of the trainees talk about the abuseand violence they were dealing with during the programitself.Since the beginning of the program two of the traineeshave been sexually abused, one by her doctor who she'dbeen seeing for years who knew how vulnerable she was.She's now a mess trying to deal with it.The staff found that other trainees had problems withalcohol and drug abuse. They made arrangements in one casefor a trainee to go to a treatment centre while she was inthe program. They were pleased that the project officersupported their decision.We arranged for the treatment to coincide with the workexperience, we figured she could get her workexperience later one. Treatment was more important.When we told [the project officer] what we're going todo, she agreed.The first group of trainees were particularly vocal intheir frustration with the program, often expressing theircriticisms during the lifeskills training. During two ofthe classes I visited, they frequently challenged thedirector of the organization who had been teaching thelifeskills classes early in the program.During a discussion on communication strategies,several trainees were obviously impatient with the subjectand the process. Marian had asked the group to talk aboutproblems they were having on the job site with host168employers and was presenting a number of principles forcommunication.Angela: What's the point of this? Are we going to dothis all day?Marian: No, here's the agenda.Angela: (a few minutes later) I hate these formulas forcommunication.Marian : If you're using it right, it doesn't seemlike a formula.Angela: But if it's not your own formula how can youexpress yourself honestly?At a later point in the morning, Marian indicated thatthey would be working in groups and asked the trainees towrite three names of people they would like to work with.The same trainee once again spoke up and expressed herfrustration with the class. Other trainees, seeing anopening, also challenged Marian about the nature of thediscussion.Angela: This is tacky, like in grade eight: "who doyou want to play with?"Marian: No, I've done it before, and it works.Janet: On the original schedule, it said we'd doresumes and now we're not.Sue: I'm still mad about not knowing about the othertraining. I heard about it from the other trainees.At one point, after several classes in which thetrainees were very confrontative, Marian had had enough andrefused to work with the group any more. As a result, theother two part-time coordinators took over some of thelifeskills classes. Barb and Jill also expressed their169displeasure at the trainees' behaviour but understood theirresistance to some aspects of the lifeskills curriculum.They're telling us they've done this before. They don'tneed this share and care stuff.Dealing with absenteeism also affected the relationshipbetween staff and trainees. This issue also producedtensions among the staff themselves because of differentperspectives on what approach should be taken. Barb feltthat there should be a commitment to this issue from thebeginning, shared by everyone. She felt that conflictsarose because this had not happened.You need to make it a commitment at the beginning, butneed support from everyone that it's a serious issue.[Here] there were differences of opinion about whetheryou make it an issue or not. So we reached a crisisand had to present them with an ultimatum.Barb speculated that one of the reasons absenteeismoccurred was because the trainees felt they could get awaywith it, particularly during the training when thecoordinators were not present.It's a problem of the distance between coordinators andthe program. They think that they can get away with itbecause they're not seeing you personally on a dailybasis.During the first week of the computer training manytrainees were absent. After visiting the program, the staffdetermined that the quality of instruction was very poor andmade arrangements with another agency to provide computerskills. Conflicts arose when some of the trainees who hadbeen absent were not informed of the changes. During one of170the classes I visited, this issue was discussed and wasclearly a source of irritation for some of the trainees.Barb challenged the group and told them they were going tohave to "shape up" for the real world of work. She arguedthat if the trainees did not like what was happening, theycould not just stay at home. This kind of behaviour wouldbe remembered, she cautioned, if she was asked to provide areference for the trainees.Jane: I'm still pissed about not knowing about theother training. I had to hear about it from othertrainees.Deborah: Some of the stuff in the program is notrelevant and taking my time. So I'll go and do otherstuff, look for work.Barb: Well I won't be a good reference for you ifyou've been away.The issue of attendance grew into a serious problem inwhich the staff found themselves, once again, caught in astruggle with the trainees on one side and CEIC on theother. The project officer contacted the program staffabout a call she had received from one of the trainees whowanted to report the high rate of absenteeism during thecomputer training. The trainee was not identified and thestaff found themselves in a quandary. They brought thesituation to the entire group indicating their dismay thatone of the trainees was trying to discredit the program.Later on, Jill wondered whether they had mishandled thesituation. By bringing the issue before the whole group,rather than dealing with the individual complainant (whom171they did not know), the tensions only increased. Jill alsofelt that the project officer should have told them who thecaller was so they could deal with the source of theconcern.The staff continued to run up against the problem ofabsenteeism with some of the host employers expressing theirfrustration with trainees not showing for work. As aresult, Jill and Barb decided to reluctantly impose rules,with serious consequences, if they were not followed. Aftertrainees had been absent from either class or the work-sitewithout informing either the host-employer or thecoordinators, they were given a letter indicating they wereon probation and further transgressions would mean thetrainees were out of the program. Jill felt trapped by thesituation and was not comfortable with once again having tobehave in a way which went contrary to many of herprinciples.I'm not happy about having to do this but I feel forcedto because of the behaviour of the students and CEICdemands that students' whereabouts be accounted for.This decision to enforce the rules was met withresistance not only by the trainees, but by some of thetechnical staff and a few employers. After hearing aboutthe issue from the trainees, a few of the instructors at thetechnical institute phoned Jill and Barb arguing that thiswas unnecessarily harsh. After hearing that trainees wouldbe put on probation, some of the host employers also172expressed reluctance to inform Jill or Barb about absencesof the trainees.During my visit with Jill to one of the work sites - acabinet-making shop - we spoke with the trainee who wantedsome advice after being offered a job by the employer.Annette had a fine arts background and was a single motherof a two year old child. She had been on social assistancesince her child was born. She was pleased and surprised bythe offer.MSSH said I was not employable, but they've offered mea job which means I AM employable!Jill encouraged her to not make a decision right away,to think through the costs and benefits of taking the job.She reminded her that if she started to work now, she wouldnot finish the training and thus would not have the one yearcredit at the technical institute. Jill suggested she thinkabout what kind of opportunities were available and whetherthe wages would cover child care costs. Jill also remindedher that she could negotiate with the employer regardingwages.The trainee, Anette, expressed confusion about what todo. Wasn't the whole purpose of the program to find a job,she asked. She also felt the on-the-job training wassuperior to the instruction at the technical institute.But isn't the goal of the program to get you a job?And this on-the-job training is better because it'sspecific to cabinet making. The [technical institute]was for heavier construction work. We have to wait along time to get practice with tools because there areso many trainees and some take longer. This shop is173unique, it's not assembly line - it suits my fine artsbackground.I also had the opportunity to talk with the traineeswhen we visited the technical institute. Several were keento continue in carpentry and had applied to anapprenticeship program. Others were feeling disillusionedabout working on construction. One had been offered a jobat $8.00 per hour but was thinking that she did not have thepassion to stay in the business. One trainee found that shereally wanted to work at her art and was looking for studiospace. Another trainee was thinking of working part-time asa "flag-girl" while completing the training.At the end of the training program, the staff foundthat many of the trainees were feeling very anxious as theyfaced the transition from being a student in the program toworker. Both Barb and Jill realized that support for thetrainees could not stop at graduation, but should continuefor at least twelve weeks for the well-being of thetrainees. To a limited extent, the staff made themselvesavailable as volunteers to help during this transitionphase. For some of the staff, this ongoing support was notpossible, given their paid work demands.The staff had a variety of approaches to the managementof the program, to their relationships with the trainees andCEIC, and in their responses to the many problems andconflicts. Many of the trainees discovered their workaspirations were not for construction or carpentry jobs. Inmany respects, this re-entry program became a "bridging"174program where the trainees were given some foundation skillsand an opportunity to explore the reality of working in theconstruction and carpentry trades.Working With the CommunityThis next section looks at the relationships with otherindividuals, institutions and agencies involved with thisprogram, including the advisory committee, instructors andstaff at the technical institute, the computer trainingagency, the host employers, and social service agencies.At the request of CEIC, an advisory committee wasestablished to give direction and advice to the staff. Thisbody represented several key interests in the community andplayed an important role. It also added another dimensionof work as the staff were required to submit regular reportsto the committee members and to organize the meetings.Because the advisory committee members were not involved inthe day-to-day management of the program, they were not ableto provide much assistance with some of the struggles thestaff were experiencing.Jill expressed frustration with the time and energy shegave to keeping the advisory committee informed, when someof the members did not bother to attend the meetings. Shewas particularly disturbed that CEIC did not attend thesemeetings nor the graduation of the program.175I find that it's mainly a rubber stamping exercise. Wepresent a report and discuss issues that come up. Thetrouble is they're not on the project on a day to daybasis, they don't have that kind of information. Wetry to get them information but a lot of them don'tturn up and I refuse to phone them. I've sent outnotices and I feel they have a responsibility to readtheir notice.The staff were also challenged by some members of theadvisory committee. The first group of trainees to go tothe technical institute for their carpentry instruction hadbeen rather critical of the training. In response to thecriticisms, the technical training representatives on theadvisory committee had questioned the process the staff hadused for the evaluation filled by the first group. As aresult, Jill found herself instructing the second group tocomplete their evaluations on their own and not discuss itas a group.We will take these evaluations to Jim on the advisorycommittee. Make sure you do it alone because we've beenaccused of bias with the last group, because they wereso very negative. They wondered how the evaluationswere done.Beyond the limited contact with some members of theadvisory committee, once the program began the staff hadlittle opportunity to meet with others providingnontraditional programs or to connect with women'sorganizations that might have resources or curriculuminformation. They expressed an interest and need foropportunities to share information and resources, but theyfound the demands of keeping the program going were so greatthat there was no time for outreach.176There was also a great deal of work involved inconnecting with the numerous instructors and agencies whotaught different parts of the curriculum. As was mentioned,the original computer training site proved to be of poorquality. Responding to this situation required severalvisits to the classes, precipitated confrontations with theadministration of the training company, and necessitatednegotiations over payment, finding a new training site anddealing with trainees. Barb assumed the majorresponsibility for this situation, drawing on her previousexperiences with other training programs and network oftrainers.I've done enough before to know and have access tonetworks... I checked it out personally ... phoned theprincipal, Marian wrote a report, we arranged a meetingand outlined the problems....phone the instructorinvolved. They sent me the bill - I know I had to paysomething, so I renegotiated.Many visits and hours were spent in responding toproblems at the technical institute. Jill and Barb workedon the problems with the main instructor who they found wasvery sensitive to the needs of the women, aware of theirfears and their lack of experience with the tools andmachinery. The trainees, however, reported difficultieswith other instructors and harassment from male students.Barb and Jill were not surprised with these struggles, butthey had expected that the trainees would experience moresexism on the job sites compared to the training institute.As they worked to resolve these issues, they found that the177first group to get the technical training experienced moreresistance, compared to the group that followed.It was interesting that it hasn't come up on the jobsites really. There is also a difference between groupone and two. Group one broke the ice - those womenweren't taken seriously. [Bob] is good, he understandswhat the women are up against - they haven't lifted ahammer before, they're afraid.In one of the lifeskills classes I visited, thetrainees were filling in evaluation forms for the technicaltraining. They spoke about the harassment they receivedfrom some of the male students at the institute and how theyresponded.This guy stuck his head in and said "oh cute - womencarpenters!" Other students accused us of taking theirjobs. I say "you already have your job, we want tosupport our families just like you".Jill spent a lot of time mediating between theinstructors and the students. As a result of an incidentduring one of the classes, the trainees were demanding anapology from one of the instructors who had lost his temperand, they argued, had used inappropriate language that wassexist and rude. Jill spent many hours at the institutetalking to the trainees and the technical instructors tryingto resolve the conflict. In the end, the instructorapologized for losing his temper, but did not agree that hisremarks were sexist.Many of the conflicts which occurred during thetechnical training seemed to emerge from attempting to fitwomen into an introductory carpentry program designed forthe typical student, who of course was male. The178instructors at the technical institute were finding that thelearning needs of the women were very different from themale students they usually dealt with. In particular, theyfound the complex nature of the struggles some of thetrainees were having affected their ability to learn. Whensome of the staff attempted to respond to these problems bystaying after class to talk to the trainees about theirconcerns, the administration then issued a memo indicatingthat the instructors were to discontinue such behaviour. Itwas considered to be inappropriate and not part of theirjobs.During one of the lifeskills classes, some of thetrainees spoke to me about their frustrations with thetechnical training. They felt the training was set up formen, many of whom had taken shop at school or had someopportunity to work with tools. As a result, there waslittle understanding of the trainees' needs as women and itwas not an appropriate environment in which to learn. Thetrainees also argued that within their groups, their needsvaried greatly, with some trainees requiring a lot ofreassurance and instruction. They complained that while theinstructor spent extra time with such individuals, theothers simply had to wait. There were also not enoughtools. Some trainees were also concerned that given thefear and inexperience of some of the women, there was notenough supervision, and therefore safety was a concern.179Another important aspect of the work of the staffinvolved developing relationships and negotiating with hostemployers during the "on-site" training. During thedevelopmental phase of the program, recruitment of employerstook approximately ten hours per training place host.Maintaining links with the trainees during this phase of theprogram also produced different kinds of struggles. Thestaff had to deal with a wide variety of employers who eachhad their own approaches to the trainees and had differentunderstanding of their roles.The trainees also faced new struggles during their on-the-job training. In the classroom, the trainees werealways in groups and often resisted the staff using variousgroup strategies. But when they went to work with theirhost-employers, the trainees were isolated from each otherand, as a result, the strategies they had developed as agroup for dealing with problems were no longer useful. Theywere on their own.1The trainees' experiences were varied, with someexpressing great excitement with the work and their newfound skills. Others had a harder time, finding the workenvironment quite threatening. During one of the classes Ivisited, the trainees had just returned from their firsttime at the job sites and were discussing their experiences.The tension and excitement were palpable, each traineewanting to talk about her experience. Several remarked thatthe technical training had started to make more sense now180that they were on the job. Some felt they had just got amomentum going and were annoyed with having to return toclass. Others commented that they were dismayed with thesexism that still persisted. For some, the job sites werenot very welcoming, compared to the technical training wherethey felt they had been taken more seriously.I fit right in with everybody, part of the job ishaving fun.I thought it would be easier, that the ground had beenbroken before.I've had some men say women on work site is adistraction.One guy was really bad, sexist, racist, the wholething, but you can't be confrontive, can't leave.The guys are OK, young ones especially - the old onesare another generation.Some don't know they're being sexist, one guy is asweetie but says sexist things - I call him on it andhe says he doesn't realize it.I told one guy he was a jerk.Well my crew deals with it with humour, it helps todiffuse things.Many of the trainees described the initial shock of thephysical demands of the work, and their exhaustion at theend of the day. They also found that they quickly adapted,their bodies getting used to the routine. One of thetrainees, Myra, was thoroughly enjoying herself. She wasgiven the chance to operate some heavy machinery and wasfinding she had some skill. Another perk for her was thereaction she got from other workers, particularly women.181We went to McDonalds for lunch. It was great - looklike part of the crew, jeans and sweat and dirt.Others think it's disgusting. On the Sky Train allthose prim and proper women really stare at you. I loveit!The staff worked through a number of conflicts with thehost employers, which frequently involved mediating betweenthe needs of the trainees and the employers' demands. Inone situation, one of the trainees asked Jill if she couldstay working with one of the carpenters, rather than move toanother site, because she was getting good instruction andsupport. Jill agreed to this only if the trainee obtainedpermission from the supervisor of the other training site.Jill discovered later, after an enraged call from asupervisor, that the trainee had not bothered to inform him.Jill was pleased to find that on some of the job sites,the trainees were getting good support and the men wereinterested in helping the trainees learn. During a visit toa house renovation, we spoke with one of the carpenters whowas working closely with a trainee. He seemed keen to helpher learn, describing how he was organizing his work so thatshe was taught something new everyday.One the same site, however, Jill found that thesupervisor was less enthusiastic about another trainee. Heexpressed hesitation at having her return to the job site,arguing that there was not enough work. Later, Jilldescribed how she felt that something else was going on.He's not being straight with me. What's reallyhappening is he doesn't like this trainee.182The staff tried to monitor the on-site training,watching for problems with employers and for difficultieswith trainees. This was not an easy task, given their otherwork demands and the large geographic area where thetrainees were working. As was mentioned before, there wereproblems with absenteeism with several employers expressingannoyance when some of the trainees did not show up for workthe day after a long weekend. The staff also had concernsabout exploitation when some of the trainees reportedworking ten hour days and also on weekends. Marianexpressed her concern and pointed out that this wasinappropriate and exploitive, but some of the traineeswanted to continue, arguing that it would give them moreexperience.Working with other social service workers, particularlythose in CEIC and welfare offices, was another part ofbuilding links with the community. Jill and Barb reportedfrustration with CEIC offices in outlying areas. They hadthree women referred by outreach projects who were, bydefinition, eligible for the training. They were screenedout, however, because staff in their local CEIC officesrefused to sign their eligibility form. The staff believedthat better liaison was needed and also better training ofCEIC workers regarding employment equity.Most of the trainees were on social assistance whenthey applied to the program, and this proved to be anothersource of frustration and struggle. Once accepted, the183trainees were given a letter to take to their social workerswhich explained the program, the training allowance theywould receive and their need for a clothing allowance.Although they had given this documentation to their workersat the beginning, the trainees had to provide duplicates twoor three times throughout the duration of the program.The staff also found that it was not unusual for thetrainee's cheque not to arrive at the end of the month. Thetrainees then spent many hours, often missing a full day oftraining, while they dealt with the social servicebureaucracy. The stress level for some of the trainees wasextreme when they could not contact their social worker, therent was due and their children were hungry. There weretensions among the trainees as well when some receivedlarger clothing allowances than others.In the important work of building links with thecommunity, the staff had to develop relationships withnumerous individuals and institutions or organizations. Inthis work, the staff played a key role in negotiating withothers for appropriate resources and were often mediatorswhen conflicts arose between the trainees and the community.SummaryThis chapter has presented a description of the thirdprogram included in my study, a re-entry program designed toassist women to enter carpentry and construction-related184jobs. Of the three programs I visited, the contestedcharacter of competing needs discourses was most evident inthis project. The struggles and problems seemed to benever-ending throughout the day-to-day running of theprogram and in the relationships between and among staff,CEIC, trainees and the community.This program was an experiment of sorts, a pilotproject which clearly illuminated the problems of employingthe traditional re-entry framework to train women for non-traditional work. The staff frequently challenged CEIC'sadministrative practices and the constant concern forreducing costs. They were at times successful in theirnegotiations, for example when CEIC agreed to the technicaltraining. The staff also challenged some of the trainees,particularly their rather aggressive behaviour which emergedwhen they worked as a group. They also worked hard torespond to the demands of the trainees and adapt the programto fit those needs. They were often caught in contradictoryroles as they demanded compliance to CEIC regulations andalso tried to develop trusting and empathetic relationshipswith the trainees.The trainees were continually resisting and challengingin this program. Many were unwilling to spend time workingon skills or issues they regarded as not useful and made itclear to the staff what they believed they needed. Theyalso challenged the pervasive sexism that still persistswithin post secondary education and within the trades. It185became clear as they progressed through the program, thattheir motivations for taking the training were based onpoverty and a desire to find a decent paying job, not acommitment to work in trades.Many came with histories of poverty, violence, abuse,and drug related problems. Their difficulties in making asuccessful transition into paid work were grounded in thesesituations which had to be addressed if they were to makechanges. The staff attempted to find the resources torespond to these issues. They also believed that thetrainees' troubled pasts had created ineffective andaggressive group behaviours which made the staff's workdifficult.At the end of the program few of the trainees went onto work in construction-related jobs. Employing a verynarrow sense of success, in which the goal is to have themajority of trainees successfully obtaining work inconstruction-related industries, this program failed. Thosethat did pursue this kind of occupation decided to continuetheir training and became students of a new carpentryapprenticeship program for women. But if another definitionof success is considered, in which the goal is to assistwomen to make informed choices, this program did make adifference. Most of the trainees discovered that they didnot have the passion to persist in this kind of work.At the end of this project, the staff submitted adetailed evaluation of the program to CEIC outlining many of186the problems considered in this chapter. This document wascritical of the main assumptions informing CJS re-entryprograms and was open and direct in describing problems theyencountered. The staff also included many specificrecommendations to remedy these problems. Building upontheir experiences and knowledge gained from working with thepilot project, the staff developed and submitted anotherproposal to CEIC for a bridging program for women wanting toexplore work in carpentry and construction-related jobs.CEIC turned down their application.All but one of the staff have since moved on to otheragencies and work. One of the trainees is now serving onthe board of directors of the agency. A proposal is beingdeveloped to be submitted to CEIC for a "bridging" program,one that would allow trainees to explore differentconstruction trades before making decisions about enteringspecific skills training that would lead to paid work.CHAPTER EIGHTTHE POLITICIZATION VERSUSTHE ADMINISTRATION OF WOMEN'S NEEDSIn the previous three chapters, detailed descriptionsof the three job-entry programs for women were provided. Inthis chapter, these accounts are analysed with specificattention given to revealing the contextual and contestedcharacter of needs claims. I will focus specifically onanalysing the kind of needs talk produced by the staff andthe relationships among the actors, that is staff, CEIC andthe trainees.In order to understand the struggles occurring in theeveryday world of running CJS job-entry programs, it isimportant to begin the discussion with a review of thedominant policy framework and how women's needs wereinterpreted within that framework. This interpretationplayed a significant role in the structuring and content ofwomen's job-entry programs. In Chapter Four, analysis ofthe needs claims of CJS revealed that the dominant policyframework was organized around the "need" to reducespending, supply workers to a changing labour market andprivatize decision-making and provision of training. As aresult, programs for women were, for the most part,relatively short term and had limited resources, with afocus on assisting women to find entry-level work.187188CJS was a "supply side" policy, which means that thefundamental concern was to supply workers to the labourmarket. In this orientation to labour market programming,women's struggles with the labour market were viewed as aresult of their inadequacies, specifically their lack oftraining, labour market information and recent jobexperiences. The segregated character of the labour marketand the discriminatory practices of employers were notdirectly addressed by this policy. In addition, within thedominant discourse, women were constructed as a ratherhomogeneous group abstracted from their race and class andother significant positionalities.The dominant framework also reflected the belief thaton-the-job rather than classroom learning was the mostefficient and effective way to assist women. As a result,all CJS Entry Programs were structured around classroomtraining (off-site) and on-the-job training (on-site) withhost employers. Given this orientation to job training andthe cuts in spending, the structure of and availability ofresources for the three programs in which the staff workedwas thus somewhat predetermined. Analysis of the dominantneeds claims of CJS and the "top-down" approach to policy-making, illustrates a policy process which contructed women-- both the staff and trainees -- as passive recipients,rather than active agents involved in a dialogical processof needs interpretation.The Needs Talk of the Staff: A Plurality of DiscoursesWith this overview of the dominant policy discourse ofCJS, the needs talk of the staff and the relations amongstaff, trainees and CEIC are now considered. As outlined inFraser's model presented in Chapter Two, bringing women'sneeds to the attention of Western capitalist welfare regimesinvolves three analytically distinct but practicallyintermingled struggles. These include the struggle topoliticize needs, the struggle to interpret needs and theirsatisfaction, which often involves public and semi-publicagencies of the state, and the struggle to empower women toself-determine their own needs.The three programs studied can be viewed as examples ofsemi-public agencies of the state in which most of the workof the staff (coordinators, instructors, and counsellors)involved struggles over the interpretation and satisfactionof the needs of the trainees. This analysis also revealsthe practical intermingling of these conceptuallydifferentiated struggles.^That is, the staff, in additionto discussions over the best way to satisfy the trainees'needs, were also involved in a process of politicizing needswhich had not been heretofore taken up within the dominantpolicy discourse. This involved a process ofrecontextualizing women's lives, of challenging thedecontextualization or abstraction of women's struggles from189190issues of race and class which was evident in the dominantpolicy framework.This analysis indicates that the staff in theseprograms employed a plurality of discourses about women'sneeds including oppositional, reprivatization and expertneeds discourses. As they attempted to have the state payattention to the diversity and complexity of the trainees'needs, they also employed administrative, therapeutic,feminist, and anti-racist interpretations. Although theneeds talk produced by the staff in each program was unique,the staff in all three programs resisted some aspect of thedominant policy discourse, whether it be the interpretationof women's needs or the satisfaction of those needs. All ofthe staff to some degree challenged the main goal of CJSEntry programs - to assist women to get a job, any job.They also resisted the dominant interpretation of the bestway to reach this goal by challenging how the programs werestructured and the kinds of resources provided. In thisprocess, the staff also had to address their own needs asworkers and their relationship to the state.In the program for native women, the staff resisted theCJS focus on helping the trainees find paid work. As analternative, the staff claimed that the trainees needed tobuild their self-esteem, think of careers as opposed to justjobs, and make plans for further education and training.They argued that it would be detrimental rather than helpfulto most of the trainees to help them become employed in a191low-waged, low-skilled job. In their interpretation of howbest to assist the trainees to improve their self-esteem,the staff claimed that the trainees needed to develop apositive sense of themselves as native women and they neededto heal from their experiences of violence and alcoholabuse.In arguing for an alternative to simply accessing thelow-skill, low-wage labour market, the staff in this programproduced a kind of oppositional anti-racist and feministdiscourse, one in which they struggled to politicize needswhich had not been identified in the dominant policyframework. In their discussions about the trainees'struggles with alcohol abuse and violence, the staff in thenative program also produced a kind of expert therapeuticneeds discourse when they called for on-site counsellingservices and argued that many of the trainees needed yearsof therapy.In the program which trained immigrant women, the staffalso resisted the notion of helping their trainees find onlyentry-level work. There are several noteworthy differences,however, between this program and the program for nativewomen. The staff in the program for immigrant women wantedthe trainees to find decent paying jobs and thus negotiatedwith CEIC for a curriculum that included English upgradingand which provided skills training in bookkeeping andaccounting. These skills would help the trainees find jobswhich were in high demand and which paid better wages with192more opportunity for advancement. The staff further claimedthat self-marketing, which involved the trainees securingtheir own host-employers, was an appropriate and effectiveway to help improve their job search skills, and their self-knowledge and self-esteem.Like the native program, the trainees' self-esteem wasan important issue, but it was approached in a differentway. Rather than develop activities in which the traineeswere encouraged to revitalize their cultural heritage, muchof the lifeskills curriculum focused on learning "Canadian"ways. For example, in the classes on assertivenesstraining, the staff argued that many immigrant women havedifficulties because their culture encourages them to bepassive and nonassertive. In contrast to the nativeprogram, the staff claimed that the trainees needed to thinkabout the short-term, rather than the long-term, and acceptthe fact that they must, to a certain extent, start over.Rather than encourage the trainees to think about theircareers, the staff in this program claimed they had to helpsome of the trainees lower their expectations of themselvesand their work.Although there were obvious differences from the nativeprogram, the staff in the program for immigrant women alsoproduced an expert therapeutic needs discourse. The staff,through their focus on helping the trainees adapt to theCanadian culture, were also producing a reprivatizationdiscourse, one which maintained old boundaries, keeping the193focus of the problem on the immigrant workers, not on thediscriminatory practices of employers or the government. Itcould be further argued that this approach helped toreinforce the dominant view in Canadian society that newimmigrants must bear the burden of change, rather than thelabour market becoming more responsive to the needs andresources immigrant women bring to the labour market.In the third program studied, the staff also resistedthe notion of helping women only find low-paying entry-leveljobs. The staff were committed to helping women get jobsthat paid a living wage. As the program progressed andvarious struggles emerged, however, the staff began tochallenge the effectiveness of the re-entry model asappropriate for helping women enter this kind of work. Theyalso began to reconsider whether entry-level constructionwork, even with its above minimum wages, provided enough forwomen who needed to pay for child care.As they learned more about the motivations of thetrainees and their diverse and complex lives, and about thedemands of working in these nontraditional trades, the staffargued for more flexibility and different resources. Inthis process, the staff produced an oppositional feministneeds discourse, one in which they attempted to politicizeissues such as the limits of the re-entry model and thedifferent resources the trainees needed to deal with issuessuch as lack of proper housing, experiences of sexualassault, child abuse and substance abuse. They also argued,194with limited success, for different and expanded resourcesto address the trainees' needs for transportation, earlymorning child care, and higher "clothing" allowances whichwould cover costs of tools and proper work clothes andsafety equipment.Like the other two programs, the staff also employed anexpert therapeutic needs discourse when they claimed thatsome of the trainees had serious personal troubles whichrequired extensive counselling and professional help. Someof the staff, in their struggles with some particularlyoutspoken trainees who challenged the structure of theprogram, also employed a reprivatization needs discourse,one in which they argued that the trainees' had to "behave"in order to succeed in the "reality" of the work world.The previous discussion focused on the multivalent andcontested character of needs talk produced by the staff inthe three job-entry programs. The next section considersthe relationships between staff, the trainees and the state.Attention is given to how the staff negotiated with both thetrainees and the state and how this was influenced by thedifferent working contexts, the bureaucratic practices ofthe state, and the shared and different race and classpositions of the actors involved.Mediating Between the Trainees and the StateIn the native program, the challenges to the dominantpolicy and the staff's production of an oppositional, anti-racist needs discourse took place within a context that wasstrongly influenced by the native-only environment. Thisagency had been created and the program developed followinga needs survey of the urban native women's community. Thestaff's claims that the trainees "needed" further educationand training, that they "needed" to build their self-esteemas native women emerged from this initial analysis.Although the hierarchical institutional practices ofCEIC tended to maintain unequal relationships between staffand trainees, in this program, their shared racial andgender identities allowed for a blurring of the divisionbetween staff and program recipients. Many of the staff andthe volunteer board members had had experiences similar tothose of the trainees and their claims about what thetrainees needed reflected this sense of having "been there".This shared experience as native women was critical todeveloping a more fluid continuum of relations. Such acontinuum, as Fraser has found in other social welfareprograms, is critical to the process of politicization, thecreation of an oppositional discourse and the empowerment ofwomen to determine their own needs.Although there was an attempt to maintain equalrelations between staff and trainees in this program, there195196were also power struggles. A few of the trainees struggledwith the staff over regular attendance and abstention fromsubstance abuse. Some of the trainees also resisted thecurricula which focused on native issues. Although thestaff wanted to avoid hierarchical relations, the structureof decision-making, their different economic situations andhigher education levels and their position as staff workedto maintain unequal power relations.This somewhat fluid continuum was not reflected in thestaff's relationship with CEIC where there were ongoingstruggles and tensions. CEIC had been concerned about thecompletion rates of the trainees and the low number oftrainees finding work. The staff experienced a lack oftrust by CEIC in their abilities. This tension persisted inspite of the fact that the program had been "successful"enough to receive government funding for several years. Therecent staff turnover was likely a factor in maintainingtensions.Another important element which affected the nature ofthe relationships in this program was the role of the boardof volunteer directors. This all-native structure played asignificant role in the web of relationships within thisprogram. The staff also reported some tensions in therelationship with this voluntary board, which seemed toarise out of the different perspectives of board and staffresponsibilities. The coordinator, in particular, found197that working with both the board and CEIC requiredsignificant effort and political skills.The recent turnover in staff affected the workingenvironment of this program. Staff reported a high degreeof work stress and frustration arising from their multipleand at times competing roles, limited program time andresources, and their low pay and job insecurity. Working onshort-term government projects perpetuated these features oftheir work. The previous staff had little time forcurriculum development, planning and organizing, leaving thenew workers with minimal guidelines. The demands of theirwork left them with little opportunity to take the time todevelop such resources.Like the native program, in the program for immigrantwomen, there were moments of conflict in the relationshipsamong staff, trainees and CEIC. In comparison to the othertwo programs, however, these appeared to be minimal. Thereappeared to be less of a hierarchical quality in therelationships between the program and the state. The staffdescribed their CEIC project officer as supportive and theyexperienced a sense of trust in this relationship. Thestaff were less isolated in their work, with other workersin the same agency also running government fundedemployment-related programs. Another factor reducingfriction may have been the long-term relationship with CEICand the many years of success in securing governmentfunding. The staff were also relatively experienced in the198process of proposal writing, negotiating and instructing injob-entry programs.As with the other two programs, opportunities for thetrainees to interpret their own needs were limited.Potential trainees may have had some input into thedevelopment of this program, however, since the staff basedtheir planning on information from women who could not getinto the lower level English training. In contrast to thenative program, there was less blurring of the divisionbetween staff and trainees. As employed, white, English-speaking, Canadian-born women, the staff had, to a certainextent, radically different experiences compared to thetrainees. As for the trainees, all were struggling with theprocess of immigrating to a new country and some were alsopolitical refugees.As women, the staff were sympathetic to the trainees'struggles and brought forward into the discussions thesexism and racism of the Canadian labour market. But at thesame time, they argued that the trainees needed to lowertheir expectations and that they also needed to, in a sense,start over again. Although the staff acknowledged thetraumas and disappointments of immigration, the programfocused on adapting to the Canadian culture and gainingCanadian work experience which left little opportunity forthe trainees to reflect on and discuss as a group theirdiverse experiences as immigrant women.199As the program progressed, the relationships betweenstaff and some of the trainees shifted and the distinctionsbecame blurred. Although many trainees had worked inprofessional jobs in their home countries, as new immigrantsthey found themselves with lower status and in reducedeconomic circumstances. This situation changed, however, assome of the trainees found work. Tensions emerged when someof the trainees succeeded in finding work with wages thatwere significantly higher than those of the staff.As in all the programs, there were concerns among thestaff over the work environment, the low wages and longhours. There was, to a limited extent, more job security inthis program, given the longstanding relationship with CEICand the agency's success in securing government funds foremployment programs. In spite of this more secure workingenvironment, the staff had similar difficulties serving theneeds of the trainees and their own needs as workers.In the program for training women for constructiontrades there were frequent struggles between the staff andCEIC, as well as between the staff and trainees. Thisprogram was a pilot project, and in many ways was a testingground for CEIC and the agency. Although the agency hadprovided employment-related services before, such as jobsearch clubs, this was its first government-funded job-entryprogram, and the agency had not previously developedrelationships with the CJS division of CEIC.200As women aware of the difficulties of finding jobs inthe changing economy and the barriers that poverty createdfor the trainees, the staff expressed much empathy with thetrainees. Because most of the trainees in this program werewomen struggling to survive on welfare and many had no post-secondary education, there were clear divisions betweenstaff and trainees. The majority of trainees had been onsocial assistance for several years and were knowledgeableabout and somewhat impatient with the social welfare system.The staff also faced resistance from a core group of "out"lesbians who were particularly outspoken and had littlepatience for participating in activities they considereduseless. For example, they had no time for lifeskillsclasses which discussed personal growth issues and the staffwere aware that they didn't want "this sharing and caringbullshit!".The staff had much experience working in variouswomen's programs, although only one had been recentlyinvolved with government-funded job-entry programs. None ofthe staff, however, had worked as tradeswomen. There werealso important differences in the strategies employed amongthe staff in response to various challenges and crises. Oneof the staff tried to negotiate with those trainees who werecritical of the program, attempting to build alternativeactivities as assignments. Another would confront thetrainees, claiming that they had to learn what the world ofwork was like. She argued that not showing up because they201were unhappy was not going to help them succeed in thelabour market.The tensions and conflicts facing the staff in thisprogram were intensified since they were to a certain extentmore isolated compared with the other two programs. As withthe native program, there was an advisory body and a boardof directors. And as in the native program the staffexperienced tensions in their relationships to theseadvisory structures. For example, when the first group oftrainees had given a rather negative evaluation of thecarpentry training at the technical institute, some of theadvisory committee members reacted by insisting on adifferent process for the second groups' assessment. Inboth the native program and in this program, the staffexperienced frustrations in their relationships with theadvisory committee or board because the members were notdealing with the everyday struggles of running the program.Summary and DiscussionAs in the process of developing CJS, "needs talk" was akey element in the discourse of the staff in each program.All the staff in each program resisted in some way theinterpretation of women's needs as outlined within thedominant policy framework. They argued for more funding andthe provision of different resources. They faced resistancefrom the state when their proposed curriculum and program202activities deviated from the predetermined structure andorientation. Some of the staff directly challenged thenotion that success in the programs meant matching womenwith jobs, any job. In this struggle the staff produced avariety of needs discourses including oppositional,reprivatization and expert needs discourses.Although there were common elements to their struggles,there were also important differences, reflecting thedifferent agencies, different clients and differentcurricula as well as different relationships between thestate, the staff and the trainees. Some of the staff wereexperienced negotiators and had years of practice ingovernment funded job-entry programs, while others were newto the process. Some staff shared similar racial and classpositions to the trainees, while others were differentlypositioned. In each program, the staff also had differentrelationship with other structures such as advisorycommittees and boards of directors which affected theirnegotiations with CEIC and with the trainees.This analysis has also revealed that negotiations withthe state and the trainees involved a contradictory processof politicizing and depoliticizing the needs of thetrainees. At times, the work involved a process ofpoliticizing needs and expanding the discussion to includeneeds that had not been addressed in the dominant framework,such as those needs arising from the trainees' experiencesof violence and discrimination. The staff's opportunities203to bring forward an oppositional discourse, however, wereseverely constrained by the dominant policy framework whichstructured programs around predetermined needs.In the process of arguing that different needs shouldbe addressed in these programs, the staff had to translatethese needs into objects of state intervention. Given thestructural constraints and ideological orientation of thedominant policy context, it is not surprising that the stafftended to employ discourses in which the trainees wereidentified as "deviant" subjects, needing to be "fixed".Such contradictory outcomes reflect the difficulty ofworking within the dominant policy framework, which to acertain extent had predetermined the structures and contentof each program, and the needs discourse of the staff.The staff's struggles to improve and expand theresources needed to deal with the trainees' multiple andcomplex problems were closely tied to their needs asworkers. The process of privatization along with the focuson reducing costs has resulted in adult educators who areworking in the nonprofit and who are committed to servingthe needs of their constituencies are being exploited.As was outlined in the accounts of the three programs,much of the developmental work was done on a voluntarybasis. There was no funding available under the Re-entryProgram of CJS to cover costs of this initial state. Giventhe limited finances provided by the government, the programstaff also had to give volunteer time to fund raising204efforts. This exploitation of the staff's commitment to thetrainees and to the programs success, together with the lowwages and minimum job-security, created a situation withhigh levels of work stress and dissatisfaction. The rate ofstaff turnover was high, leaving the programs with ongoingproblems in finding skilled workers and providing highquality instruction.The staff's process of interpreting the needs of thetrainees and their own needs as workers must also be viewedwithin the context of the hierarchical character of CEIC.The institutional practices of CEIC tended to, for the mostpart, position staff and trainees in unequal relationship toeach other and the state. This structuring of relationshipsconstrained the opportunities to politicize needs which hadnot been taken up within the dominant policy framework andalso contributed to the staff's experiences of not beingtrusted by the government. Furthermore, the unequal powerrelationships between staff and trainees and thebureaucratic practices of CEIC tended to marginalize thetrainees' efforts to interpret their own needs.This chapter has presented an analysis of the strugglesof the staff in the three job-entry programs with particularattention given to the plurality of needs discourses theyemployed as they discussed their work with the state andwith the trainees. In the next and final chapter, theimplications of this analysis for policy, practice andfurther research are considered with attention given to205replacing the "monological administrative process of needsinterpretation" with a more "participatory, dialogicalprocess".CHAPTER NINETOWARDS A MORE PARTICIPATORY DIALOGICAL PROCESS OFNEEDS INTERPRETATIONFor the time being, needs talk is with us for better orworse. For the foreseeable future political agents,including feminists, will have to operate on a terrainwhere needs talk is the discursive coin of the realm.(Fraser, p. 183)In this final chapter, implications for practice,policy and further research are discussed. The analysis ofthe CJS policy discourse, the needs talk of the staff andthe relationships among staff, trainees and the state hasrevealed that the dominant policy approach promotes amonological administrative process of needs interpretation.In this chapter, I address a variety of issues emerging fromthis analysis and theoretical framework, with attentiongiven to implications for policy development and theprovision of programs for women which would support a moreparticipatory dialogical process of needs interpretation.Within the dominant policy discourse, women's needswere reduced to entry-level skills training, labour marketinformation, "lifeskills" and job experience. It is in onesense difficult to argue against this characterization ofneeds which appeared to address some of the barriers womenface in their struggles to enter the labour market. Inother words, at this "thin" level of discussion aboutwomen's needs there was little controversy. However, this206"thin" interpretation of women's needs was stillproblematic, for it did not address or recognize thediversity among women. Thus, the dominant discourse of CJShelped to neutralize the differences in, for example,women's race, class and ablebodiness. This simplified viewof women's needs and ways to address them also renderedinvisible the contextually specific practices at the locallevel.As the diverse and multiple needs of the traineesemerged in the everyday struggles of running the job-entryprograms, claims about what women needed became more complexand contested. Once the discussion moved to a "thick"description of women's needs, the process became one ofcontestation with different interpretations put forward bythe different players -- the staff, the trainees and CEIC.Generally speaking, I sensed that the trainees had littleopportunity to act as self-determining agents. Some didresist, however, and found spaces for their voices to beheard.In this struggle, the staff assumed a central role,employing a plurality of needs discourses which at timeschallenged the dominant interpretation and, at other times,reinforced the monological administrative approach to needsinterpretation. The accounts above reveal a variety ofapproaches employed by the staff in their interactions withtrainees which both encouraged and discouraged the trainees'self determination of their needs.207The analysis of the production of needs talk by thestaff in these programs illuminates the constraints andpossibilities of working in a policy context in whichwomen's needs had been, to a certain extent, predetermined.Within a rather simplistic interpretation of women's needsthe staff found space to include activities which in manyways challenged the dominant discourse. However, thestructure of the programs and the relationships tended toreinforce the monological administrative approach, which wasfurther reinforced by the hierarchical institutionalpractices of CEIC.The failure of the "thin" interpretation to address thecomplexity and diversity of the needs of the womenparticipating in the programs suggests that labour marketpolicies continue to be developed on notions of workers asmale and women as 'other'. Women's participation in paidwork has dramatically increased and will soon equal that ofmen. However, women for the most part have had to adjust tothe existing structure of work which has not beensignificantly altered as a result of their increasedparticipation. It is unlikely that issues such as earlymorning child care for women working in construction andresources to support women healing from violence and sexualabuse will be part of the consciousness of male policy-makers. Policies should not be developed for the needs ofwhite middle class women alone either, for their issues andstruggles will be different from women struggling with208issues such as poverty and racism. For example, the Re-entry model was based on a view that the participants werewomen who had the family resources which supported a choiceto stay at home to care for their children. Other womensuch as those on welfare and immigrant women were eventuallyincluded in the eligibility criteria, but the model of theprogram remained the same.The "spilling over" of women's needs as they began toparticipate in these job-entry programs and the staff'sstruggles to politicize these needs in their negotiationswith the state suggests that these programs represent, inFraser's terms, a new "social" arena - an arena which is asite of discourse about "runaway" needs which can no longerbe contained within old boundaries of public and private.The accounts of the three programs provided in chaptersfive through seven indicated that the needs of the staffwere interwoven with the interpretation of the needs of thetrainees. Many of the struggles facing the staff in theirwork context were related to the impact of privatization andspending reduction. This impact of privatization isexplored in the following section.Privatization and the Exploitation of WorkersThe process of privatization - of shifting programsout of public educational institutions to the privatesector, which includes both for-profit and not-for-profit209training agencies - has created both constraints andopportunities for adult educators committed to programswhich empower women. On the one hand, many non-profitgroups now have access to public funding to provide programsfor women. Many of these groups and agencies have acommitment to serving the interests of women and areknowledgeable about their multiple and diverse needs.On the other hand, privatization has taken place withinthe context of greatly reduced government spending. Thegovernment's concern to keep costs down has led tocompetition among private sector trainers. This focus onreducing costs has unfortunately helped to create anexploitive situation in which adult educators working invarious programs must contribute significant numbers ofvoluntary hours in order for programs to be funded and tosurvive. The government is exploiting the staffs'commitment to the trainees.Not only does the government's agenda to privatizetraining add to the expansion of the "bad jobs" sector ofthe economy (i.e., lower wages, less security), but it alsomakes it difficult to build upon and expand the knowledgebase of workers in this sector. In the three programsstudied, only a few of the staff had worked for any lengthof time in CJS programs. Since the research was completed,many have moved on to other kinds of work. The weakattachment to the labour market which characterizes these210jobs makes it extremely difficult to maintain and build aknowledge base.Given that privatization is a process which willcontinue, it will be difficult to transform this situationinto a nonexploitive one. However, some interventions wouldmake a difference, for example the introduction of newpolicies to address issues of employment security forworkers in the those areas of the labour market where part-time, part-year, contractual work is the norm. Thedevelopment and implementation of national trainingstandards could also help by outlining ways government-funded training programs should be developed, delivered andevaluated.The issue of wages is also important. Althoughgovernment-funded job-entry programs are being offered bythe private sector, they are still funded by public moneyand information about wages and other costs should thereforebe made available. Wage scales should be introduced andused consistently, and should reflect the level ofknowledge, skills and responsibility necessary to providethese kinds of training programs. Alternative schemes forworkers to receive benefits while employed in short-termprograms should also be developed and made available.Workers in these programs would benefit as well fromopportunities for professional development and furthertraining.211The staff in the three programs studied frequentlychallenged the government about their working conditions,but as individuals working in isolation their effectivenesswas limited. More opportunities to organize collectivelywould help those adult educators working in the increasinglycompetitive environment of the non-profit sector to shareknowledge and skills in relation to proposal development,negotiations with government and employers, classroominstruction, curriculum development, counselling and crisismanagement. Through collective organizing, workers can alsomore effectively address issues relating to wages, workinghours and benefits.Workers acting collectively and not just within theirindividual programs can be more effective when arguing foralternative approaches to program development that are basedon a participatory dialogical process of needsinterpretation. A necessary aspect of alternativeapproaches is the provision of funding and resources forthis kind of developmental work -- funding that wouldsupport ways to reach out to women in their own communities.Evaluation and monitoring of the training programsprovided in this privatized context are very important.Governments which continue to provide public funding tothese activities should be working with agencies andtrainers to establish guidelines and a monitoring process.The licensing and accreditation of private sector trainingagencies also should be examined and changes introduced to212ensure ongoing evaluation takes place and minimum standardsare established. The experiences of participants ingovernment-funded job-entry programs should be part of theevaluation process.Addressing the issue of privatization is an importantaspect of challenging the dominant needs claims of labourmarket policy. Providing a non-exploitive work environmentand engaging in collective problem solving are critical tosupporting a more participatory dialogical process of needsinterpretation within the decision-making process.Democratizing the Needs Interpretation ProcessAlthough this study indicates that the staff in thesethree programs resisted the narrow interpretation of women'sneeds within the dominant policy discourse, they werelimited in their capacity to challenge the monologicaladministrative approach to needs interpretation. Thetrainees' opportunities to determine their own needs wereeven more constrained. Bringing a more participatorydialogical process to decision-making requires that changesmust happen in the micro politics of everyday interactionswith staff, CEIC and trainees, as well as the macro politicsof policy-making.In order to promote a democratic needs interpretationprocess, attention must be given to the three mainstruggles: politicizing needs, maintaining an oppositional213interpretation of the satisfaction of these needs, andempowering women to participate in these discussions. Inpromoting a more democratic process, one in which "better"needs interpretations can emerge, attention must also begiven to supporting a process which is inclusive rather thanexclusive and one in which the interpretation of needs doesnot disadvantage some groups of people over others.In order to build programs that are flexible and thatrespond to the diversity and complexity of women's needs,the decision-making process must become less hierarchical,more permeable, and one in which all the actors participate,including the trainees, the staff, the government workers,the employers and the policy-makers. Under CJS, the LocalAdvisory Councils (LACs) were an attempt to involve avariety of labour market partners in decision-making.However, since the members were selected by local MPs andthese structures remained outside of the CEIC traditionaldecision-making process, in some cases they had littleinfluence and in others the interests represented weremainly those of business and labour.In order to illustrate the implications for everydaypractice and policy-making, I will take up the issue ofviolence, a "runaway" need not addressed within the "thin"description of women's needs in the official policydiscourse, but one which emerged as an issue within allthree programs. Many of the trainees were survivors ofsexual abuse and other forms of violence which created214significant barriers for their ability to participateeffectively in the programs. The issue of violence was alsosignificant for the staff who struggled to respond withinthe limits of the programs. In one program, the staffrisked violence when they intervened on behalf of some ofthe trainees, helping to move them out of abusivesituations. Staff received threats from partners who werefearing the changes that were happening for the trainees.It was a also a concern for the staff as they struggled torespond and in the process employed a variety ofinterpretations in their negotiations with CEIC for expandedresources.Politicizing the issue of violence against women anddemanding state intervention in relation to this issue hasbeen a major focus for many feminist groups. The women'smovement has achieved some success in bringing this issueout of the private/domestic domain and into thepublic/political domain. As feminists succeed inpoliticizing the issue of violence against women, they alsoface the challenge of identifying the issue as relevant towomen's labour market programs and not only women's needsfor shelters and healing.Linked to the politicization process is the importantwork of interpreting how women's needs can be satisfied.There has been a strong tendency for the state, in responseto this issue, to institutionalize services and create a newarea of social welfare professionalization. In the process215of defining women's needs in relation to their experience ofviolence and determining the satisfaction of those needs,those who are involved with training programs and women whoare survivors of violence must be empowered to participateand determine what kind of interventions would be helpful.The diversity of women's experiences with violence mustalso be recognized and included in the discussion so thattheir experiences are not abstracted from struggles theyface through racism, classism, ageism, ableism andheterosexism. The goal should be the development ofprograms based on a process of needs interpretation that isinclusive of each constituency of women who are to be servedby these programs.This dissertation began with a quote from Weiler (1988)in which feminist practitioners are encouraged to "do whatis possible", while recognizing the limitations of thecontext in which they work. Many of the barriers such asviolence and racism which women face in participating in jobtraining programs and finding well-paid employment can onlybe addressed in a limited way within the confines of labourmarket programs and policies. A broader variety ofinterventions is therefore necessary, not simply programswhose focus is on getting women into the labour market. Thelimitations of labour market programs must be recognized andsupport and resources made available for "pre-training" or"bridging" programs. The focus of these kinds of programsis not getting women jobs, but assisting them to get to a216stage where they can benefit from short-term job-entryprojects.Focusing on the needs of women for particular supportand resources must be balanced with attention given to thestructure of the labour market itself and the discriminatoryand exploitive practices of employers. Other kinds oflabour market policies and programs in addition to thosewhich focus on providing workers with skills are necessaryto address the negative aspects of economic restructuringwhich creates "bad jobs" as well as "good jobs". To alimited extent, new Employment Equity legislation wasintroduced to address the systemic barriers that exist inthe structure of the labour market. This approach has notproven to be very effective, however, in bringing aboutsignificant changes to employment practices.Recommendations for Further ResearchThis study has employed Fraser's critical discourse-oriented approach to policy analysis. This approach directsattention to the politics of needs interpretation and thecentral role that needs talk plays in the development oflabour market policies and programs. Her conceptualizationof the struggles facing adult educators and feministsworking in state-funded programs is a powerful andinsightful approach which I will continue to employ infurther research.217The results of this study suggest that more attentionshould be given to examining labour market and otherpolicies which affect the practice of adult educators.Employing a critical orientation to the arguments central topolicy-making is an important aspect of this kind ofresearch. Examining policy from the "bottom up" - that is,from the perspective of the everyday struggles of adulteducators - is also useful to further understanding of theemancipatory possibilities of adult education activities.Further research is necessary to monitor the impact ofprivatization on the provision of job training programs forwomen. This further research should involve criticallyanalysing the needs discourse of new labour market policies.This study did not explore the politics of needsinterpretation that occurs within the confines of governmentdepartments, particularly CEIC which has responsibility forlabour market policies and programs. This would be afascinating and important contribution to a rich and "thick"description of policy and decision-making. Searching inother fields, other countries and other areas of stateactivity for policies and programs that are based onparticipatory dialogical processes of needs interpretationis another important research activity that would deepenunderstanding of the possibilities for such an approach.218Summary and ConclusionBased on a theoretical approach which focused on theconstruction of "needs talk" as the medium through whichconflict is played out and inequalities are elaborated andchallenged, the everyday struggles of several women workingin three CJS programs were explored. The central goal ofthe study was to illuminate the contested and contextualcharacter of the political struggle over needsinterpretation and how the staff in these three programsparticipated in this struggle.One of the central assumptions informing this inquiryis that running government-funded job-entry programs isdifficult and contradictory work. It is work that issignificant because it is in these kinds of adult educationprograms that many women are served -- women who facemultiple barriers and have limited access to other trainingopportunities. My goal was to illuminate the opportunitiesand constraints arising from dominant discourse of the CJSpolicy, the structure of programs, and available resources.It was important, therefore, not only to attend to thestructural and ideological constraints, but also toilluminate the moments of resistance and empowerment.This analysis indicates that the dominant policydiscourse which influenced the structure and content ofprograms, and the hierarchical decision-making process left219little opportunity for the staff to respond to the diverseneeds of the trainees and to empower the trainees tointerpret their own needs. The challenge for practitionersand others advocating for change in policy-making is todevelop programs based on participatory dialogical processesin which all actors involved, including the state, theemployers, the staff and the trainees, can participate inidentifying needs and the most effective way of satisfyingneeds. In order to replace the monological, administrativeprocess of needs definition with participatory dialogicalprocesses of needs interpretation, changes need to occur atall stages of decision-making from the development of policyto the delivery of programs.Finally, although needs talk does seem to be the"discursive coin of the realm" as Fraser has noted, perhapsother orientations to discussing and developing policies andprograms that empower women should be included. That is,other idioms such as rights and responsibilities should beadded to the discourse. Perhaps when justified needs claimshave been translated into social rights, such as the rightto collective self-determination, to participate indecisions affecting our lives, women will be further alongthe path to equality.In closing, I want to return to everyday struggles ofproviding meaningful programs for women who are seeking paidemployment. The following poem by Jane Munro (1992)captures, I believe, the richness and complexity of women's220lives as well as the resistance which eventually "cracks"the narrow confines of programs which have been structuredwith little understanding of the complexity of women's needsand of their strengths.HyacinthBasting the faces together, just to try this placeon for size. Basting stitches. Basting in my own fat,that's what. The best place here's the coffee shop.All the pretty girls don't have kids at home,and the grey-haired, super-natural women scare me.They've thought about too much. It showsin their choice of shoes. My shoulder hurts--this bag's too heavy. In the registrar's office theytold me "You've got all deficiencies!"No grade point average. No math, No science.No foreign language. No English composition.No employer's name. No spouse to speak of.An no softness in my voice.That cuticle's bleeding again.They're polite, but no one has the slightest ideaof the mess in the kitchen or the kid with bronchitis.What did she mean, reentry woman?I never had the chance to be here before.Women's work turned to the inside.Blind hems. Hidden seams. Who counts the stitchesit takes to make a deficient life?One that doesn't fit anymore.Mama left me grandma's gold thimble.Good women, daughters of farm women,raised in the church. At sixteen, grandmaput up her hair and wore long skirts.At sixteen, mama embroidered linens.At sixteen, I failed math and made that green dress.My farm's the window sill. By the time I was nineteen,I had a daughter, and a husband. There's been plentyof growing-up around me. Deficiencies? Maybe.But raising kids gives you persistence.Last night, I heard the hyacinth crack its plastic pot.A root clawed through the green shell.I heard a scratching, breaking sound--thought some black beetle was in there--but it was just this one white root tip221lengthening through the split it made.No needle. No thimble. Just that thread.Ate a peep-hole, then let her rip--the coiled growthfrom inside straightening out, nosing into space.Tree roots heave paved roads.Seed leaves lift pebbles.Morning glory rises throughcement step, base board, window frame.Climbs summer long inside the front hall.All the deficiencies? Reentry?The force that drives a hyacinth rootcomes from the years it bloomed and sank.Just because you're vulnerabledoesn't mean you're weak.Made, mended, remade.A thimble's a tiny cup, a shining capMama would push me into this if she could.Perhaps that's reentry--generationspacked into my head and heart,a full bulb, freshly planted.222REFERENCESAbella, R. 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My dissertation entitled DoingWhat Is Possible: Working With and Against Policy AffectingWomen's Job Training is a study of the opportunities anddifficulties feminist practitioners face as they work withgovernment policy in order to improve women's job trainingand employment opportunities. The experiences of womenproviding government-funded job training programs aare thefocus of this research.I am writing to request your participation in the studywhich would involve a one to two hour tape-recordedinterview which could be conducted at a place and time ofyour choosing. During the interview, I will be asking youabout the nature of your work and efforts to bring aboutchange. Another aspect of the study involves analysis ofgovernment reports, policy statements, governmentdocumentation, briefs and proposals. In this regard, Iwould also like to examine written materials you have beenworking with in your programs and efforts to bring aboutchange. Examining these materials will help me tounderstand the context of your work.Please be assured that your responses to my questionsand any copies of written materials you give me will be keptconfidential and anonymous through use of pseudonyms andnumerical coding of data. Once the study is completed, eachparticipant will receive a summary of the study. You arefree to refuse to participate or withdraw at any time andyour decision to do so will not be held against you in anyrespect. If at any time you have any concerns or questions,please feel free to contact me at my home at 733-7480, or atUBC at 228-5853.Sincerely,Shauna ButterwickAppendix B 234INTERVIEW SCHEDULE1. I'd like to hear about your program:How/when did you begin working with government fundedjob training?What kinds of programs do you offer?Does your program help women? Which women and how?How/why do you decide on the kinds oftraining/curriculum?What government rules/criteria/documentation must youwork with? Do they help or hinder? How?Where are the obstacles or difficulties?Where are the opportunities?Do you have opportunities to talk about and exchangeideas about your program with others? If so, how and when?2. Tell me your thoughts on government training programs:What do you think is the government's role regardingwomen's access to the labour market?What do you think of the current policy? Does it helpwomen? If so, which women and how?Should the policy and programs be changed? If so, howand why?Can you change government policy/programs? If so, how?What is important to remember when working withgovernment? What advice would you give to another?What are the dangers/obstacles?How do you know you've been effective? What are therewards for yourself/for others?What is your bottom line? (How do you keep yourprinciples intact when working with the state)?3. Is there anything you would like to add or comment on?Appendix C 235CONSENT FORMI am willing to participate in the study Doing What Is Possible: Working With and Against Policy Affecting Women's Job Training. I understand the purpose of this study is toexplore the opportunities and difficulties in working tobring about change in government policies affecting women'sjob training opportunities.I understand that participation in the study involves aone to two hour tape-recorded interview, conducted at aplace and time of my choosing. I also give permission tothe researcher to examine written materials such as briefs,reports, proposals and communication with government thatrelate to my work.I understand that the confidentiality of my responsesand any written materials I submit for analysis will bemaintained through numerical coding. I understand thatpseudonyms will be used in the final document whenindividuals or places are referred to. I understand that alldata will be destroyed once the study is completed.I understand that I can refuse to answer any questionsand to withdraw at any time from the study and that suchdecisions will not be held against me in any way. Iunderstand that I can call the researcher, ShaunaButterwick, at 228-5853 or 733-7480 if I have any questionsor concerns.I have received a copy of this consent form and theletter of introduction outlining the nature of the study.signature of Participant^ pateSignature of Researcher^ Date

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