Practitioner Data Initiative

Building data capacity to help skills organizations serve Canadians more effectively

More than ever, data is critical for organizations to drive strategic decision-making and program improvement, but community service nonprofits often struggle to harness the power of their own data. Between limited funding opportunities dedicated to data capacity and the lack of trusted technical advice familiar with nonprofits, many nonprofit leaders and their organizations don’t know how to get started. This is a lost opportunity—for nonprofits, their funders and the skills ecosystem. Without better data capacity, it will remain a challenge to know how well community-based services, like skills training, are meeting the needs of Canadians.

Blueprint created the Practitioner Data Initiative (PDI) in response to the data challenges nonprofits face. The Practitioner Data Initiative (PDI) is a pan-Canadian project, funded by the Future Skills Centre (FSC) and Blueprint. Through PDI, community service nonprofits receive a $100K to $200K grant from Future Skills Centre to work with Blueprint for twelve to eighteen months. Blueprint marries this flexible grant with trusted and technology-neutral advice grounded in deep expertise with program data, technology solutions and nonprofit service delivery.

The PDI Model has three core elements:  

  • Development of a Capacity Building Plan  
  • Implementation guidance and supports  
  • Opportunities for peer learning and exchange

Each Capacity Building Plan is tailored to the needs of the nonprofit partner. They identify specific actions related to key data capacity levers:

  • Developing/Hiring Talent & Skills
  • Investing in technology solutions  
  • Building a data culture in the workplace
  • Advancing the value of data internally and externally  
  • Attracting additional resources/funding for data capacity

In Phase 1, kicking off in Spring 2021, Blueprint selected nine partners through an Expression of Interest to pilot PDI and help develop and test the model. Promising results informed Phase 2.  

In Phase 2, kicking off in Fall 2022, an additional six partners were selected to further refine the PDI model.  All PDI partners—outlined below—are committed to advancing their journey towards improved data capacity.  

Blueprint is publishing a series of case studies to illuminate how the Practitioner Data Initiative is helping organizations to harness their own data, and in turn, grow their impact for the clients and communities they serve.

Phase 1 Partners (2021-2022)

Halifax, Nova Scotia

TEAM Work Cooperative provides client-centered case management services while facilitating inclusive employment and workplace opportunities for all people.

Turo, Nova Scotia

Futureworx offers an expansive range of employment, educational, and training programs for their community and partners.

Toronto, Ontario

WoodGreen Community Services (WCS) is one of the largest social service agencies in Toronto, providing Canadians and newcomers with housing, employment, training and mental health supports.

The Neighbourhood Group of Community Services (TNG) is a multi-service charity serving low-income people across multiple locations in Toronto. Their services include supporting youth, seniors, newcomers, providing childcare services, conflict resolution training, and homelessness services.

New Westminister, British Columbia

Douglas College is a public, nonprofit college and home to the Training Group, which offers employment, training, and language programs for employers.

Vancouver, British Columbia

Immigrant Employment Council of B.C. (IEC-BC) is a government funded body dedicated to helping newcomers better understand how to access the labour market.

Calgary, Alberta

Calgary Catholic Immigration Society (CCIS) provides settlement and integration support services to vulnerable newcomers.

Saint John, New Brunswick

Kaleidoscope Social Impact, formerly known as Saint John Community Loan Fund, specializes in skills development, financial literacy training, and creating innovative and affordable spaces to rejuvenate neighbourhoods.

Saint John Learning Exchange (Learning Exchange) provides education programs, work skills development, employment assistance, and mental health supports.

Phase 2 Partners (2022-2023)

Calgary, Alberta

Calgary Immigration Women’s Association serves the needs of immigrant and refugee women, girls and their families, through more than 50 programs covering settlement needs, language and employment training, family matters and much more.

Rise Calgary is working to end poverty by supporting low-income individuals and families with access to basic needs supports, advocacy, financial empowerment opportunities, parenting, employment, and life skills programming.

Calgary Economic Development is funded by the City of Calgary to works with business, government, and community partners to position the city as the location of choice for the purpose of attracting business investment, fostering trade, and growing Calgary’s workforce.

Centre for Newcomers supports the integration of newcomers and the communities that welcome them. through services and programs in multiple areas, including language, settlement, employment, mentorship and youth.

Edmonton, Alberta

Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers helps newcomers find work, learn English, get settled, and join a community.

Winnipeg, Manitoba

Manitoba Institute of Trades and Technology provides certificate, post-graduate, and diploma-level technical training for career-oriented post-secondary and secondary students.

The Practitioner Data Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada’s Future Skills Program. 

cover of report with decorative image in the top left corner and the report title in the botom right corner

PDI Case Study I

Informing program development to support newcomers.

PDI Case Study II

Supporting continuous improvements in education and employment services.

The Value of Growing Data Capacity


More than ever, data is critical for organizations to drive strategic decision-making and program improvement, but community service nonprofits often struggle to harness the power of their own data. Between limited funding opportunities dedicated to data capacity and the lack of trusted technical advice familiar with nonprofits, many nonprofit leaders and their organizations don’t know how to get started. This is a lost opportunity—for nonprofits, their funders and the skills ecosystem. Without better data capacity, it will remain a challenge to know how well community-based services, like skills training, are meeting the needs of Canadians.

Blueprint created the Practitioner Data Initiative (PDI) in response to the data challenges nonprofits face. The Practitioner Data Initiative (PDI) is a pan-Canadian project, funded by the Future Skills Centre (FSC) and Blueprint. Through PDI, community service nonprofits receive a $100K to $200K grant from Future Skills Centre to work with Blueprint for twelve to eighteen months. Blueprint marries this flexible grant with trusted and technology-neutral advice grounded in deep expertise with program data, technology solutions and nonprofit service delivery.

The PDI Model has three core elements:  

  • Development of a Capacity Building Plan  
  • Implementation guidance and supports  
  • Opportunities for peer learning and exchange

Each Capacity Building Plan is tailored to the needs of the nonprofit partner. They identify specific actions related to key data capacity levers:

  • Developing/Hiring Talent & Skills
  • Investing in technology solutions  
  • Building a data culture in the workplace
  • Advancing the value of data internally and externally  
  • Attracting additional resources/funding for data capacity

In Phase 1, kicking off in Spring 2021, Blueprint selected nine partners through an Expression of Interest to pilot PDI and help develop and test the model. Promising results informed Phase 2.  

In Phase 2, kicking off in Fall 2022, an additional six partners were selected to further refine the PDI model.  All PDI partners—outlined below—are committed to advancing their journey towards improved data capacity.  

Blueprint is publishing a series of case studies to illuminate how the Practitioner Data Initiative is helping organizations to harness their own data, and in turn, grow their impact for the clients and communities they serve.

Phase 1 Partners (2021-2022)

Halifax, Nova Scotia

TEAM Work Cooperative provides client-centered case management services while facilitating inclusive employment and workplace opportunities for all people.

Turo, Nova Scotia

Futureworx offers an expansive range of employment, educational, and training programs for their community and partners.

Toronto, Ontario

WoodGreen Community Services (WCS) is one of the largest social service agencies in Toronto, providing Canadians and newcomers with housing, employment, training and mental health supports.

The Neighbourhood Group of Community Services (TNG) is a multi-service charity serving low-income people across multiple locations in Toronto. Their services include supporting youth, seniors, newcomers, providing childcare services, conflict resolution training, and homelessness services.

New Westminister, British Columbia

Douglas College is a public, nonprofit college and home to the Training Group, which offers employment, training, and language programs for employers.

Vancouver, British Columbia

Immigrant Employment Council of B.C. (IEC-BC) is a government funded body dedicated to helping newcomers better understand how to access the labour market.

Calgary, Alberta

Calgary Catholic Immigration Society (CCIS) provides settlement and integration support services to vulnerable newcomers.

Saint John, New Brunswick

Kaleidoscope Social Impact, formerly known as Saint John Community Loan Fund, specializes in skills development, financial literacy training, and creating innovative and affordable spaces to rejuvenate neighbourhoods.

Saint John Learning Exchange (Learning Exchange) provides education programs, work skills development, employment assistance, and mental health supports.

Phase 2 Partners (2022-2023)

Calgary, Alberta

Calgary Immigration Women’s Association serves the needs of immigrant and refugee women, girls and their families, through more than 50 programs covering settlement needs, language and employment training, family matters and much more.

Rise Calgary is working to end poverty by supporting low-income individuals and families with access to basic needs supports, advocacy, financial empowerment opportunities, parenting, employment, and life skills programming.

Calgary Economic Development is funded by the City of Calgary to works with business, government, and community partners to position the city as the location of choice for the purpose of attracting business investment, fostering trade, and growing Calgary’s workforce.

Centre for Newcomers supports the integration of newcomers and the communities that welcome them. through services and programs in multiple areas, including language, settlement, employment, mentorship and youth.

Edmonton, Alberta

Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers helps newcomers find work, learn English, get settled, and join a community.

Winnipeg, Manitoba

Manitoba Institute of Trades and Technology provides certificate, post-graduate, and diploma-level technical training for career-oriented post-secondary and secondary students.

The Practitioner Data Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada’s Future Skills Program. 

cover of report with decorative image in the top left corner and the report title in the botom right corner

PDI Case Study I

Informing program development to support newcomers.

PDI Case Study II

Supporting continuous improvements in education and employment services.

The Value of Growing Data Capacity


Want to learn more? Read our research papers for a wide range of ideas to strengthen career guidance:

August 1, 2022

Responsive Career Pathways Research Brief: Guiding Careers for the Future

The Responsive Career Pathways Research Brief consolidates key findings from our past 9 research papers in partnership with the Future Skills Centre. In this brief, we outline key innovation challenges and opportunities for career guidance services in Canada, and highlight common barriers to accessing these services.

English ReportFrench Report
November 25, 2021

Breaking Down Barriers to Career Development

Career guidance systems could be designed with a whole-of-person lens. This paper considers promising practices in breaking down barriers to career guidance for Canadians.

English ReportFrench Report
November 22, 2021

Navigating Canada’s Messy Education and Training Marketplace for Career-Focused Learning

Adult learners have to navigate an increasingly diverse, fragmented and complex education and training marketplace. This paper assesses options helping Canadian learners navigate their education and learning choices.

English ReportFrench Report
November 19, 2021

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Responsive Career Pathways

The path to accessing career guidance is challenging for racialized people, women and newcomers to Canada. This paper offers opportunities to strengthen our publicly-funded employment systems to effectively address labour market inequity.

English ReportFrench Report
November 17, 2021

The Role of Employers in Responsive Career Pathways

Employers are critical in establishing more responsive career pathways for Canadians. This paper outlines some of the challenges and opportunities employers are facing related to the future of work and skills.

English ReportFrench Report
November 17, 2021

The Career Development Profession in Canada and the Emergence of Online/Multi-Modal Practice Delivery

Career development practitioners have a critical role to play in helping Canadians prepare for the future of work. This paper tackles questions about the role of career development practitioners and the evolution of their practice.

English ReportFrench Report
November 17, 2021

Applying Behavioural Insights to Career Guidance

Offering forward-looking, customized, high-quality and accessible career guidance to a wide range of Canadians is possible. This paper identifies behavioural and motivational barriers to accessing career guidance and offers a promising path ahead.

English ReportFrench Report
November 17, 2021

Use of Technology and Tools in Responsive Career Pathways

The role and use of technologies that help individuals and career practitioners navigate career pathways are rapidly evolving. This paper outlines potential ways responsive career pathways can be enabled by technology.

English ReportFrench Report
November 16, 2021

Glossary of Terms

This document provides consistent definitions for the terms that are applied across all of the research papers for the Responsive Career Pathways initiative.

English ReportFrench Report
November 16, 2021

A Roadmap for Change: Building Responsive Career Pathways in a Post-Pandemic World

This paper offers considerations for strengthening and aligning our careers and employment systems to better serve Canadians across their career trajectory.

English ReportFrench Report
November 15, 2021

Labour Market Information in Responsive Career Pathways

Finding ways to make labour market information accessible and useful for service providers and individuals is key for creating more responsive career pathways.

English ReportFrench Report

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