College earns Partner Award from CME Manitoba

March 22, 2018

CME Manitoba Gala Award recipients, 2018Red River College has been honoured with a Partner Award from the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters Manitoba — for its role as a leader in training, programming and applied research within the province’s robust aerospace and manufacturing industries.

“As Manitoba’s largest institute of applied learning, we are proud to play a critical role in driving Manitoba’s economy,” says RRC President Paul Vogt.

“Since we first opened our doors, the College has been central to the growth and success of our province, and has continually responded to the ever-increasing demand for highly trained and highly skilled graduates to meet the needs of businesses and industry. We are honoured to be recognized by CME Manitoba for our efforts.”

Each year, CME Manitoba’s Partner Award is presented to an organization that makes a notable contribution to the province’s manufacturing and exporting community.

It recognizes partners and service providers who demonstrate a measureable impact on the growth, sustainability or mission of manufacturing companies. Recipients are widely recognized for their integrity, dedication and collaboration in service to manufacturing.

“One of our key priorities at the College is to foster strategic partnerships that allow us to drive research and innovation by matching industry problems and needs with College expertise, resources, capabilities and facilities,” says Vogt (shown above, third from left, with other recipients).

“These partnerships are the backbone of the advancements we are seeing in the aerospace and manufacturing industries here in Manitoba. We must continue to grow and compete here at home, and on the global stage, with the latest research, state-of-the-art technology, and a highly trained workforce that has the knowledge and skills needed to meet the needs of industry today, and the future.”

Vogt will accept the award this evening at the 2018 CME Gala Awards Dinner, held at the RBC Convention Centre as part of Manitoba Manufacturing Week.

Red River College shows a ‘ladle’ love at Stone Soup Fundraiser

March 13, 2018

The soup’s on at Manitoba Hydro Place this Wednesday, when Red River College Culinary Arts students will join 11 other local chefs and restaurant staff for the sixth annual Stone Soup Fundraiser supporting the Child Nutrition Council of Manitoba.

Chef and instructor Karl Oman, together with Culinary Arts students Sophie Thibodeau and Colin Stone, will serve up a newly created ‘Holiday Sweet Potato Turkey’ soup, a cream-based concoction packed with turkey and cranberry flavours that was prepared by 17 first-year students who are currently learning short-order cooking.

The soup will be paired with a stuffing-flavoured focaccia bread created by students from RRC’s Professional Baking and Patisserie program.

“The Stone Soup Fundraiser is a great opportunity for our students to work together and to apply their learning and culinary skills to make a difference for those in need,” says Oman.

“This is just one of the many ways we work to give back to the community. Whether it’s through our work with Siloam Mission, or delivering the After-School Leaders Program for at-risk youth, we’re a community partner and we’re very proud to help encourage people to come down, try some delicious student-made soup and support such an important cause.”

The event will run from 11:15am – 1:15pm in the Hydro building’s main gallery. Judges will be present to sample all the soups and select a winner, and the public is also invited to select a favourite for the People’s Award. The cost is $10 per person, which includes samples of soup from three participating chefs or restaurants.

Winnipeg Jets exec brings mental health talk to RRC

March 12, 2018

Craig Heisinger, Winnipeg JetsWinnipeg Jets senior executive Craig “Zinger” Heisinger will trade the hockey rink for the presenter's podium this week, when he meets with College students and staff to discuss his personal connection with mental health, and why he feels it’s so important to keep the conversation going.

Heisinger’s noon-hour visit on Tuesday is part of RRC’s Healthy Minds Healthy College initiative, established four years ago to create a healthy College community, enhance mental health literacy, and better meet the mental health needs of students, staff and faculty.

“We are honoured to have such a well-known and respected member of the hockey community — and the mental health community — here to help us keep the conversation about mental health awareness going on campus,” says Breanna Sawatzky, RRC’s Mental Health Coordinator.

“Events like this are an integral part of our Healthy Minds Healthy College initiative, because they let those who may be struggling know they are not alone, and there are supports available. Mental illness knows no boundaries — it affects all of us, from post-secondary students to NHL hockey players.”

Heisinger is the Senior Vice-President & Director, Hockey Operations, and the Assistant General Manager of the Winnipeg Jets. He was close with Manitoba Moose forward Rick Rypien, who struggled with mental illness and ultimately died in 2011.

Rypien’s legacy lives on through the True North Youth Foundation’s Project 11 and through Zinger, who visits local schools throughout the year, sharing Rick’s story and raising awareness of mental health. Read More →

Partnership affords access to language training for newcomers to Canada in Thompson

March 8, 2018

RRC Language Training CentreNewcomers to Canada living in Thompson now have access to English language training, through a partnership with Red River College and University College of the North (UCN).

The new training is part of the expansion of RRC’s Language Training Centre in Winnipeg, which helps immigrant and international students improve their English skills in order to enrol in College programs, gain employment or become more independent in their everyday lives.

Over the past year, the LTC has expanded to satellite sites in Arborg, Steinbach, Selkirk and Thompson – areas identified as having the most need.

“We’ve welcomed about 200 people to Thompson in the last year, and many of the newcomers have valuable skills to offer – the only barrier keeping them from the kind of job they’re qualified for is language,” says David Williamson, Acting Dean of Access at UCN.

“Partnering with Red River College means we are giving our newcomers access to knowledge and resources that will help them confidently integrate into our community.”

As of today, there have been 65 applications to the new LTC in Thompson, while 48 students have already begun their training.

“What this partnership allows us to do is provide students with the language and communication skills they need in order to achieve their professional and educational goals,” says Anna Janik- Kelly, program manager for the LTCs in Thompson and Arborg.

“We want to help them become thriving members of the Northern community, who can use their skills and experience to enrich and strengthen the workforce, and help fill some of the labour market gaps.”

Through the partnership in Thompson, UCN is providing space for classes and an administrative assistant, storage, laptops and access to printing and photocopying — all of which are essential to helping the program run smoothly.

Classes administered by the LTC are five months in length, though students can continue on if they feel they need additional training. The programs are provided at no charge to students, with costs covered by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.

College recognized as workplace diversity leader for fourth year running

March 2, 2018

Red River College, Pride Winnipeg paradeRed River College is proud to be named one of Canada’s Best Diversity Employers for the fourth year in a row.

This prestigious recognition was awarded to 70 Canadian organizations today, highlighting employers that stand out through their efforts to create diverse, inclusive workplaces for employees.

“We often spend the majority of our waking hours at our places of work, so creating an environment that is open, welcoming and safe for our all staff and students is always a top priority for the College,” says Melanie Gudmundson, Chief Human Resource Officer at RRC.

“Equity and inclusion are embedded in our practices and demonstrated throughout the College, and I know I speak for the entire College community when I say how honored we are to be recognized for this important work and with this distinction for the fourth year in a row.”

The College was recognized for a number of programs and initiatives that encourage diversity and inclusivity, including a series of Indigenous workshop for all staff offered by RRC’s Elders in Residence; the College’s LGBTT and Healthy Minds, Healthy College Initiatives; its Girls Exploring Trades and Technology Camps; and a workforce audit to determine representation of designated group members in the workforce. Read More →

The Great Escape: DMD coordinator blends cutting-edge curriculum with back-to-basics home life

February 26, 2018

Chris Brower, Red River College

He’s happy where he is, but that hasn’t stopped Chris Brower from planning an escape.

Brower is the coordinator of the Digital Media Design program at Red River College. Currently, he is leading a team of DMD and 3D Computer Graphics students and faculty that are creating the College’s first-ever escape room.

According to Brower, the adventure game will be time machine-themed, and will feature technology that could make even the esteemed Doc Brown utter a trademark “Great Scott!”

“It’s going to have virtual reality components,” says Brower, who’s also the instructor for the DMD program’s Video and Motion Graphics course.

“Literally, you’re going to go into this time machine, which is VR [virtual reality], and you’ll go into places in the past, like an old pirate ship and an alchemist lab, and also future places, like this dystopian future environment.

“Our students have built all the different game environments. The 3DCG faculty, Tom Lepp and Matt Broeska, have once again outdone themselves. We even have students and faculty from the Business Information Technology program helping. It’s really taken on a life of its own.”

Brower says the plan is to finish the escape room by May, then open it up to industry, and perhaps, permit the public to take a trip through time this summer.

In the fall, DMD will introduce cutting-edge courses in video game design and audio, as well as a 360 Video and Immersive Filmmaking course.

“What I love about DMD is we’re right at the crossroads of technology, art and design. We’re trying to be as cutting-edge as we can and 360-degree video is really taking off, so we want to push it as much as we can,” Brower says.

“We’re going to be training students to not only shoot and edit 360 videos, but also to add graphics and interactive components, where they can make an interactive film or game out of it.” Read More →

Cupcakes, condoms and consent: RRC students to explore healthy relationships

February 12, 2018

Cupcakes and Condoms graphicJust in time for Valentine’s Day, students at Red River College will have the opportunity to talk about intimate relationships and related issue — such as the importance of consent — in an interactive workshop aimed at promoting better health and well-being.

Taking place at noon on Tue., Feb. 13, the College’s first-ever Cupcakes and Condoms event was facilitated by Klinic Community Health and the Sexual Education Resource Centre (SERC), and delivered as part of RRC’s Healthy Minds Healthy College (HMHC) Initiative.

Breanna Sawatzky, Mental Health Coordinator at RRC, says it’s important for students to have access to workshops such as this one, so they can feel empowered to make healthy decisions.

“We know that strong, healthy relationships — whether intimate or platonic — are key to personal well-being,” Sawatzky says.

“The Public Health Agency of Canada found that adults with strong relationships are more likely to report high life satisfaction and good mental health. Conversely, experiencing disrespect, harassment, abuse and sexual assault take a toll on one’s mental health and well-being, and are risk factors for developing certain mental illnesses.”

Through the HMHC initiative, RRC hosts several events each year to help students, staff and faculty dealing with mental health problems, while promoting wellness, recovery and resilience for all. Read More →

Partnership to help students gain work experience through wage subsidy program

February 6, 2018

Students in Red River College’s Applied Computer Education (ACE) department will gain an important first step towards their careers, thanks to a new partnership with the Information Technology Association of Canada (ITAC).

Through the ITAC Talent Career Ready program, eligible companies in the ACE Project Space, along with Co-operative Education and Work Integrated Learning (CEWIL) ACE Partners, will receive a wage subsidy for students’ work placements, which allows the companies to hire a driven employee who can apply cutting-edge knowledge and techniques learned at RRC.

The students will in turn gain valuable hands-on experience in the emerging digital economy.

ITAC’s Career Ready Program is currently providing paid placements to 30 students for the winter 2018 term (January to April), and will provide another 40 placements for the 2018-19 academic year. The program provides up to 50 per cent (to a maximum of $5,000) of a work term student’s pay in wage subsidies to employers.

Employers that hire students from underrepresented groups — including women in STEM, Indigenous students, recent immigrants, persons with disabilities, and first-year students — may also qualify for additional funding (up to 70 per cent or $7,000).

“The ITAC partnership will open doors for Red River College learners, and help employers secure the talent they need to compete in the digital economy,” say ACE chair Haider Al-Saidi.

In recent years, startups and entrepreneurs such as BIT Space Development, Consultica, Chekkit Geolocation Services and Cassidy e-Care Solutions have partnered with RRC students on their projects.

Work placement opportunities offered to students during the current term include stints at Wawanesa Insurance, Northfield IT and uniPoint Software.

College expands English language training to four regional sites in Manitoba

February 2, 2018

RRC Language Training CentreOver the last year, Red River College has opened four new Language Training Centres (LTCs) throughout Manitoba, providing access to critical language skills programming for an additional 250 students.

The College’s LTC in Winnipeg, which already trains more than 1,000 newcomers every year, has recently expanded programming to Arborg, Steinbach, Thompson and Selkirk. The five-month programs are provided at no charge to students, with costs covered by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

The LTC s offer English Language Learning programs as well as English for Specific Purposes programs. The former focuses on competency-based programs for students developing language proficiency for further education, employment, or settlement and daily life, while the latter focuses on learning English in a way that will further training opportunities, or employment in a specific job market.

“We are proud that more than 60 per cent of our English as a Second Language and English for a Specific Purpose programs are linked to employment outcomes,” says Kerri Caldwell Korabelnikov, director of the Language Training Centre at RRC.

“What that means is that we’re helping our students achieve their goals and connecting them either directly with employers, or with the resources necessary to find work in their chosen careers. I know this success will continue with the expansion. The areas we have expanded in have shown they are in need of language training services for newcomers, and we’re happy to fill that need and help strengthen those communities.” Read More →

Applied Computer Education chair a model of innovation at work

January 29, 2018

Haider Al-Saida, Red River College's ACE Project SpaceYou could say innovation is right up Haider Al-Saidi’s alley.

As chair of the Applied Computer Education (ACE) department at Red River College, Al-Saidi oversees the Business Information Technology (BIT) and Business Technology Management (BTM) programs. Both BIT and BTM make frequent use of the College’s new ACE Project Space, an interactive work hub located at 321 McDermot Ave., in Winnipeg’s Innovation Alley.

At the ACE Project Space, education and entrepreneurship co-exist. Students from the BIT and BTM programs work alongside industry leaders and entrepreneurs-in-residence to turn their enterprising ideas into realities.

“Educational institutions should lead,” says Al-Saidi, who has chaired the ACE department since late 2012, and previously chaired RRC’s Electrical Engineering Technology program.

“The model that colleges used to go by was to ask industry, ‘What do you want to do?’ and then do what they asked of us. The problem is industry will look at their immediate need, because what drives them is money. My philosophy is the opposite. I think that educational institutions should lead industry, and should provide them with new ideas to move forward. We still provide the support for industry, but also, at the same time, provide industry with new information.”

Having originated in a small room in RRC’s former Massey Building complex in 2015, the ACE Project Space moved to its new Innovation Alley digs one year ago, in January 2017.

It’s not the only aspect of the ACE department marking an anniversary this year. The BTM and BIT programs are also celebrating milestones, with BTM first being offered in January 2016 and BIT dating back a full 50 years. (In its infancy, it was known as the Computer Analyst/Programmer program; later the Information Systems Technology program was added, then the two merged into Business Information Technology.) Read More →