MW Canada was selected as one of eight case studies examining the bottom line returns from investing in Literacy and Essential skills (LES) in manufacturing settings. MW Canada is an innovative textile manufacturing firm in Cambridge, Ontario. MW Canada's 65 employees manufacture window covering, filtration composite and energy-related fabrics. In an effort to adapt to increasingly competitive markets, MW Canada initiated a new learning initiative, the Technical Skills Certificate Program, designed to improve technical communications and problem solving of its production staff.
Researchers implemented an evaluation strategy using the Gillis and Bailey High Impact Evaluation methodology to examine the key impact questions: How successfully did the training program develop new capabilities (learning and intentionality) in participants? How effectively were the new capabilities transferred to the job? To what extent (if any) did the new skills impact business outcomes and return on investment? Although the six-months training program covered a variety of technical areas, this evaluation focused on two segments— Mechanical Power Transmission and Introduction to Pneumatics. The findings suggest that, at the Transfer stage, approximately three-quarters of those who were trained applied their learning, improved their performance on the job, and perceived the training as a worthwhile investment for MW Canada. Slightly more than half the participants reported that the training improved organizational outcomes such as quality and productivity.