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Research Domain: Group Three - Informal Learning Cultures

Title of Project: Growing Jobs for Living: Environmental Adult Education, Participatory Research and Job Creations Project, Belleville

Start Date: April 1, 1997
Academic Investigator: Dr. B. Hall (OISE/UT)
Community Partner: CASAE
Student Researcher: Darlene Clover (OISE/UT)

The objective of this community-college-university project located in the Quinte bio-region is to use non-formal and informal adult learning, participatory research and participatory evaluation to help people learn to create a healthy more sustainable community. Non-formal and informal education processes are used in this project to augment the capacity of individuals and community-based organisations to address problems of environmental degradation and unemployment. The Quinte bio-region is an area which has experienced significant economic structural changes over the past five years. As an area of relatively established industrial production dating back to the earliest European settlement of Ontario, the region has undergone a strong rise in unemployment. At the same time, in part due to the long patterns of chemical agricultural land use and industrial production, it is an area experiencing much environmental degradation in terms of high arsenic levels in rivers and streams, pesticide and herbicide run-off into drinking water supplies, and contaminated soil.

"The Growing Jobs for Living Project" is unique because it is a university-college-community project and also, because it is a research project within a research project. The inner circle of researchers come from the community. Members participating in this project are researching into environmental and social problems in their community and identifying job creation alternatives. The outside circle is an analysis of the ways in which non-formal and informal education and learning processes increase community awareness, challenge assumptions, and stimulate action towards the creation of more healthy, sustainable home-grown work.

This project combines values and criteria of environmental sustainability with the needs in a specific community for economic restructuring. Green Job Creation represents an important alternative to the consumer driven global industrial production trends which are being experienced all across Canada. This project combines locally generated environmental research findings with job needs through a process of community revitalization. Adult education in the form of study circles, workshops and participatory research is one key to community transformation.

This is an important model for alternative job creation which might well be exploredby other communities across Canada and around the world and therefore, the work is being broadly disseminated.

Research Questions

The research questions are in two parts. The first set is what the community members are researchers set-out to discover. The second set is a look at the overall project in terms of evaluation.

  1. Community Research Questions

    What types of alternative employment opportunities have already been undertaken in the community? Were they successful or not? If Yes, why? If not, why not?
    This research done in the form of survey and interviews and was undertaken by three Belleville community members and one Senior Researcher from the University of Toronto.

  2. What are some of the types of sustainable jobs that could be created in this community?

  3. Where is the support in the community for this work? What resources exist in the community to begin this work?

The data for these two questions came from:

a) a final question on the survey mentioned above

b) four community workshops

c) two workshops at Loyalist College

d) informal interviews with the Mayor and various political party representatives

Evaluation Questions

In addition to the above research questions, researchers are also interested in the finding responses to the following questions:

  1. What have been the most effective learning processes?
    What have been some of the major outcomes of the project?

    What have been some of the obstacles faced by community members?
    In what ways did community workshop/research participants augment their learning through other sources?

  2. How important has the broader educational aspect of this project been to its success?

The results of these questions will be published in 2000.


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