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Human Resources, Labour and Employment
March 9, 2011

Labour Force Empowered Through SmartForce NL Initiative

Through an investment of $1,689,500, the Honourable Darin King, Minister of Human Resources, Labour and Employment, today announced SmartForce NL, an initiative that fosters innovation in skills development for all workers in the province. The funding was made available through the Labour Market Development Agreement.

The program will be delivered through a partnership with the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Technology Industries (NATI) and Bluedrop Performance Learning.

“The overarching vision of this initiative is to enable Newfoundland and Labrador businesses, both rural and urban, to create corporate learning cultures that contribute to both profitability and employee empowerment,” said Minister King. “SmartForce will also help businesses become leaders in connecting with the wider world through social media. This new initiative has the power to open up opportunities for job seekers and employee seekers alike and open up jobs and careers that might not otherwise have been attainable.”

Newfoundland and Labrador is the first province to use SmartForce to develop and deliver human resources training to small and medium-sized enterprises and help them overcome the challenges of competing for employees globally. The project will consist of a full suite of courses, launched on CoursePark Social Learning Network, which will train theory and practical application of the items identified in the HR Manager toolkit.

“CoursePark will provide workers and businesses in all sectors of the economy with access to thousands of free online courses and the ability to manage corporate and personal learning,” said Ron Taylor, Chief Executive Officer of NATI. “We are set to lead the country in training development through this initiative.”

Through CoursePark, individual employees will be able to build a personal profile and access courses on topics ranging from Microsoft Excel to leadership or project management. Companies will create learning networks to manage the training of their employees, helping them to improve human resources knowledge and strengthen global marketing skills.

“We created CoursePark as an online social learning network, not only to provide individuals with access to skills that promote career development and advancement, but also to provide businesses with a training solution that brings value, increased productivity and return on investment,” stated Emad Rizkalla, President and Chief Executive Officer of Bluedrop Performance Learning. “CoursePark is delivered in an innovative environment that encompasses a user-friendly platform enhanced with cutting-edge social learning features that will benefit small and medium-sized businesses across the province and around the world.”

“Through this initiative all programs and their benefits will be realized over a two year period, and there will be a comprehensive outreach campaign,” said Minister King. “Because NATI is working with Bluedrop, a local company, the vast majority of the investment we are announcing will be retained in this province and the expertise and knowledge will be local. It is gratifying that we can provide every worker and small business in the province free access to a technology that is already in use in 50 countries.”

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Media contact:

Bradley Power
Director of Communications
Department of Human Resources, Labour and Employment
709-729-0753, 699-5707
Ron Taylor
Chief Executive Officer
Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Technology Industries (NATI)
Julie Fitzpatrick
Online Marketing Specialist
Bluedrop Performance Learning
1-800-563-3638, ext 695

2011 03 09                                                                            10:40 a.m.

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