New UTSC Cluster Preparing for Workforce of the Future

The University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC) Clusters of Scholarly Prominence Program has awarded funding to a new cluster: Education and Training for the 21st Century Workforce

Led by Professor Elizabeth Dhuey of U of T Scarborough's department of management, the new cluster will conduct research to “address growing labour inequalities and strengthen educational approaches, programs and services to help children and youth develop skills that align with the competencies needed to thrive in the new realities of the 21st-century economy.”  

Cluster team members are Laurent Cavenaile, Rob Gillezeau, Kristina McElheran and Pamela Medina Quispe of U of T Scarborough's department of management, Ethan Fosse of UTSC’s Department of Sociology and U of T’s Data Sciences Institute, Michal Perlman of the department of human development and applied psychology at OISE, Brad Seward from the centre of industrial relations and human resources, Phil Triadafilopoulos from the U of T Scarborough department of political science and Linda White from the department of political science at the St. George campus.  

The objectives of Education and Training for the 21st Century Workforce include: understanding the implications of changing workforce demands on skill needs; understanding skill formation and outcomes leading to positive trajectories; and developing a sustainable research and knowledge-sharing network of academic and community partners.

The cluster will address what the team identifies as three critical gaps in current literature guiding public policy. The first is the need for distinctly Canadian research on the future of work, as most research has been conducted in the U.S. The second gap is a lack of research focused on early childhood, primary and secondary education programs, as most current research focuses on adult learners. Finally, the group will bring equity, diversity and inclusion perspectives to consideration of the “distributive benefits and burdens of existing educational and training systems.”

Professor Dhuey views Education and Training for the 21st Century Workforce as having significant synergies with the institutes of the newly established iRISE (institutes for Resilient and Inclusive Societies and Ecosystems), “in particular, the anticipated research on the impact of climate change and transitions to the green economy by the Institute for Environment, Conservation, and Sustainability; research on alternative and cooperative economic practices of Indigenous and racialized communities of the Institute for Inclusive Economies and Sustainable Livelihoods; and research on health inequalities and solutions by the Institute for Inclusive Health and Well-Being.”

This was the fourth annual competition of the Clusters of Scholarly Prominence Program operated by the office of the vice-principal of research and innovation. The program promotes interdisciplinary and interdepartmental collaborative clusters of scholarship in areas of established and emerging strength at U of T Scarborough. More information about the program and other funded clusters can be found on the OVPRI webpage.