Cindy Petrowski’s enthusiasm for education took root at Red River College in the early 1980s. Today, she and her partner are giving back in the form of a newly created endowment fund: The Cindy Petrowski and Phillip Marsh Helping Hands Bursary.
In honour of their Metis family members, the bursary will support First Nations or Metis students with their academic aspirations and help with financial burdens.
Speaking from her home in Victoria, B.C., the RRC graduate, who now spends most of her time with family and her dog, or volunteering for various non-profits, fondly recalls her time at the College.
Petrowski chose RRC because of its reputation then — as now — as a post-secondary institution that offered instruction in current and high-demand skills recognized and required by employers.
She enrolled in the stenography program at a time when computers were just emerging in office environments. “I felt the course offered me an opportunity to learn office skills, and to try my hand at technology,” she remembers. Read More →
In the spirit of the holidays, RRC students and staff are encouraged to bring a canned food item with them while enjoying the Winnipeg Police Service (WPS) Choir as they perform carols at the Roblin Centre Student Food Bank this Thu., Dec. 1. The event will be held in the Roblin Centre atrium from noon to 1:00pm.
Overseen by the Red River College Students’ Association, the food bank allows students to help other students. RRC receives donated food and household items from Winnipeg Harvest and 30 community food banks held throughout the school year. Those goods are stored in a trailer on campus; every two weeks, they’re packaged and distributed to RRC students who have applied for assistance.
“Our Student Food Bank helps feed hundreds of RRC students and their families,” says RRCSA President Adam Taplin. “As students, we often have to decide between a night of studying or an extra shift at work to ensure we get a healthy meal. It’s only through the wonderful generosity of students, staff and the local community that we are able to restock the shelves and continue to provide food hampers year after year.”
This year will mark the first time the WPS Choir has performed at the food drive. When the choir first formed in 1974, it was only supposed to be for one year, in celebration of the City of Winnipeg’s centennial. More than 40 years later, the choir is still going strong, representing a link between the WPS and the community. Every year, the group performs free of charge at over 15 different venues and functions as a community service.
“We’re so excited to bring our group and holiday renditions to Red River College for the first time ever,” says Ron Smolik, Winnipeg Police Service and choir member. “Not only do we get to perform at one of the busiest campuses in downtown Winnipeg, but we get to do it while supporting a great cause.”
Post-secondary students pursuing careers as professional accountants now have a new pathway option, made possible through a partnership between Red River College, the University of Winnipeg (UWinnipeg) and the Chartered Professional Accountants of Manitoba (CPA Manitoba).
The newly designed option, in effect September 2017, is the only pathway of its kind in Canada. It allows students to obtain a two-year diploma in Business Administration with a major in Accounting at Red River College, then ladder into UWinnipeg’s Faculty of Business & Economics to obtain a three-year Bachelor degree in Business and Administration, and finally to complete five CPA preparatory courses to meet the entrance requirements for the CPA Professional Education Program.
“We want to continue to be on the leading edge of meeting the needs of industry,” says RRC President Paul Vogt. “Today’s partnership with UWinnipeg shows that we are working together as a network of post-secondary institutions to create greater mobility for students. Our partnership with CPA further demonstrates our close connections to industry and our ongoing efforts to ensure that our programming is relevant, timely, and accessible. The end result will benefit the profession and open more doors to rewarding careers for our students.”
The three partnering institutions are committed to making the programs as accessible as possible. This commitment includes development of additional online degree courses that will provide greater accessibility and flexibility, and will support the needs of adult learners who may be in the workforce and intend to pursue the CPA designation.
“CPA Manitoba is excited by the opportunity to partner with two of Manitoba’s most highly respected post-secondary institutions,” says Todd Scaletta, President and CEO of CPA Manitoba. “Together we will provide aspiring professionals innovative pathways to the unlimited opportunities in business, accounting and finance as a CPA. This new partnership offers individuals the flexibility of efficiently achieving the academic requirements for entry into CPA’s Professional Education Program, while studying part-time and gaining practical experience full-time.”
On a sunny, snowless November afternoon, students, faculty and administrators gathered at Red River College’s Medicine Wheel grounds to make history at the first on-campus Sweat Lodge ceremony.
In keeping with RRC’s strategic priority to advance Indigenous achievement — by weaving knowledge, philosophy and cultural perspectives into programming content and campus culture — the new Sweat Lodge facility, including fire pits and change rooms, marks the first step in the College’s ceremonial grounds expansion plan.
“I had a vision in 2004 of having a Sweat Lodge at Red River College available for students and staff, and that vision has now become a reality,” says Elder Jules Lavallee. “It’s a legacy for everyone to enjoy, and will help to heal for years to come. It was an incredible opportunity for staff and students to work together with the same purpose.”
Led by Lavallee and Mae Louise Campbell, RRC’s Elders in Residence, last week’s ceremony saw 17 people making their way into the Lodge for the inaugural sweat.
The structure, which represents the womb of Mother Earth, was made with willow branches collected and prepared in the days prior. Once the branches were in position, they were tied together and the frame was covered with canvas. The structure took approximately three hours to build, and was assembled in conjunction with Sweat Lodge teachings.
“Helping to put together the structure was a learning experience,” says a participating student from RRC’s Introduction to Trades Program. “Being Indigenous myself, it taught me some of the things that I did not know about these lodges and how they are built, and also how much work actually goes into it. It made me feel more connected to my ancestry.” Read More →
As of today, Red River College is one of four post-secondary institutions in Manitoba to offer a human resources training program recognized with a CPHR (Chartered Professional in Human Resources) designation from the Human Resource Management Association of Manitoba (HRMAM).
Graduates of these programs — in RRC’s case, the Human Resource Management Certificate offered through the School of Continuing Education — will be one step closer to receiving their professional designation upon graduation, and will be able to waive writing the National Knowledge Exam (NKE), the national standard of excellence for those working in the HR field.
“Red River College works in partnership with industry to provide relevant and timely programming that prepares our students to transition from college to career to meet the evolving demands in the workplace,” says Jo-Anne Shay, Dean of RRC’s School of Continuing Education.
“Accrediting our HR Management program opens doors to many career opportunities for our students, and provides industry with the necessary talent to make a real impact in their organizations.” Read More →
Once again, Red River College grads dominated the podium at this year’s Gold Medal Plates competition, with one now on his way to the Canadian Culinary Championships.
Jesse Friesen (Culinary Arts, 2009) took the gold medal at last night’s event, held at the RBC Convention Centre, while Melissa Makarenko (Culinary Arts, 2006) took silver. Friesen advances to the national competition, which takes place Feb. 3 and 4 in Kelowna.
A chef at Pizzeria Gusto, Friesen (shown above, at centre) won silver at last year’s event, while Makarenko (second from left), a chef at Resto Gare Bistro and Train Bar, won bronze last year.
Each year, the Gold Medal Plates event finds local chefs battling each other and the clock — with just 90 minutes to prepare and serve their creations to 500 assembled guests and judges.
The event also doubles as a fundraiser for the Canadian Olympic Foundation, which generates support to meet the technical, scientific, medical and coaching needs of Canada’s athletes.
A Red River College apprenticeship grad has made history, becoming the first deaf iron worker in Canada to receive his Red Seal certification.
Jonathan Anderson, 26, earned his iron worker credentials from RRC in 2015, and last spring wrote and passed his Red Seal exam. Over the weekend, he gathered at the Union Centre in Winnipeg to celebrate the achievement with friends, family and mentors.
Diagnosed as deaf shortly after his first birthday, Anderson attended the Manitoba School for the Deaf and St. James Collegiate, where he played hockey and football with the help of an interpreter, finding unique ways to communicate with this teammates.
“He learned to adapt,” Anderson’s mother, Bertha, told CTV News. “He couldn’t hear, but he always had his way of communicating.”
Anderson’s Red Seal certificate allows him to practice his trade anywhere in Canada. Since he began his career at the age of 17, he’s already worked on a number of high-profile job sites — among them, the Keeyask Generating Station, the Winnipeg Convention Centre and True North Square.
But the project he’s proudest of is the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, of which he told CTV, “My parents will say, ‘My son helped build that building,’ … I have children, and they’ll say, ‘Daddy worked there.’”
Anderson hopes his accomplishment will inspire others with hearing impairments to continue pursuing their dreams.
“I want to show that deaf people can work with people who are not deaf,” he explains. “You can succeed and prove them wrong. If they say you can’t, show them that you can.”
Three Red River College business students are in Toronto today to showcase and pitch projects at Colleges and Institutes Canada’s Applied Research, Entrepreneurship and Innovation Forum, taking place at Seneca College Nov. 7 and 8.
RRC’s Dinae Robinson, Fatima Feliciano and David Schlaikjar are among 24 students from 12 Canadian colleges attending the forum, in which participants showcase team projects and pitch socially innovative ideas to a panel of judges comprised of MPs and influential leaders in innovation.
All three of the RRC projects resulted from an ongoing applied research initiative allowing students to collaborate with local businesses in exploring the emerging field of social innovation. The goal of the partnerships is to enhance students’ creativity while better positioning them to become innovators in their own careers.
Working with National Leasing, Robinson’s team sought to improve access to education about Canada’s Indigenous communities by offering Indigenous Immersion tours to students, including a walking tour of The Forks and a seven-day cultural trip for youth to Swan Lake First Nation.
Feliciano’s team, also in partnership with National Leasing, researched socially innovative businesses around the globe, with the goal of sharing best practices in social entrepreneurship knowledge — and the students’ own globally inspired business ideas — to the local community and SMEs in Winnipeg.
Schlaikjar’s team worked with Boreal Wildcraft and Cypher Environmental, both of whom wished to further commercialize their products in international markets. With further support from the National Research Council’s Industrial Research Assistance Program, students profiled specific countries the companies thought were well-suited for expansion. Read More →
Today, Red River College and Skills/Compétences Canada (SCC) launched the twelfth National Skilled Trades and Technology Week (NSTTW), to create awareness for students and educators of the range of career opportunities available in skilled trades and technologies across the country.
“Careers in the skilled trades and technologies are of vital importance for Canada’s future economic stability and its standing in the global marketplace,” said Shaun Thorson, SCC’s Chief Executive Officer. “It is important that Canadian youth are informed about the many interesting and lucrative opportunities that are available to them in these sectors. During National Skilled Trades and Technology Week, students from across Canada will have the opportunity to participate in a variety of activities that highlight these potential careers.”
The two organizations hosted the official NSTTW launch at RRC’s Notre Dame Campus, where the Hon. Ian Wishart, Minister of Education and Training, and HGTV’s Sherry Holmes (Holmes Make it Right) kicked things off with a table-building competition for those in attendance.
Following the official program, students from Winnipeg and area schools took part in other interactive Try-A-Trade® and Technology activities, including welding, industrial mechanics, millright, carpentry, workplace safety, autobody repair, information technology, hairstyling and esthetics.
SCC also took the opportunity to announce the 2017 Skills Canada National Competition will be hosted in Winnipeg from May 31 to June 3 at the RBC Convention Centre. Read More →
A Red River College student has been hailed a hero for helping to raise funds that allowed an 11-year-old girl to undergo a lifesaving surgery.
Professional Photography student Samantha Lussier (shown, right) was honoured at last month’s Our Manitoba Heroes gala for raising $30,000 to send Allexis Siebrecht (left) to Toronto for a liver transplant last year.
Allexis was born with bileary atresia, a rare condition affecting one out of every 19,000 Canadians. Lussier first became acquainted with the girl after coming across a Facebook post seeking someone with O-positive blood.
Lussier’s blood type was a match, so — inspired by thoughts of her own younger siblings — she started the necessary tests to become an organ donor. But after flying to Toronto for further screening, she was informed her liver was unsuitable for donations.
Disappointed but undeterred, she instead began fundraising on Siebrecht’s behalf, selling handmade bracelets with the girl’s name and hosting a Bud, spud and steak event that generated $30,000.
Siebrecht, meanwhile, saw her health quickly deteriorating — but her prognosis improved after receiving word from Toronto that a suitable donor had been found.
After undergoing a successful surgery, Siebrecht met with Lussier for the first time in Winnipeg.
“It was definitely an emotional day,” Lussier told The Projector, RRC’s student newspaper. “This kid who could have been sick all her life was so energetic and happy. You’d never know she was sick. She is very inspirational.”
Siebrecht made a full recovery within days, and is now busy with dance classes and her school’s basketball and badminton teams. Lussier is set to graduate from RRC in 2017.
Photo credit: Joe Bryksa, Winnipeg Free Press