A partnership between Red River College and the provincial arm of the Frontiers Foundation is helping residents of Northern Manitoba communities address a critical housing shortage in the region.
Through a recent enhancement and expansion of Frontier Foundation's Standing Tree to Standing Home program, First Nation residents in Manitoba are being provided with the skills and equipment required to fell trees, set up sawmills in their communities, and eventually construct their own houses.
The project was borne out of an observed need for improved housing on provincial reserves, and was developed through a partnership between Frontiers Foundation Manitoba (the local arm of an Ontario-based charitable organization that builds homes in Aboriginal communities), Red River College's Gimli Campus and the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.
The College, for its part, was tasked with converting Frontiers Foundation's undocumented curriculum into five modules — including course outlines, skill checklists and tests — designed to help Northern residents get their own building program underway, using resources found in their own backyards.
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Thanks to a continued partnership with Manitoba’s Immigration Centre, Red River College is helping recent arrivals to the province “tap in” to their full potential.
As part of the Immigration Centre’s aptly-named Tap-In Program, RRC (via the School of Continuing and Distance Education) provides training courses to low-income students working to improve their marketable skills.
The program is similar to flying standby on a commercial airline: Applications are submitted to program administrators two to three weeks prior to their start dates. If spaces are available, they’re allotted to Tap-In participants, who access the courses at a reduced fee.
Some clients are working towards certification, while others are just topping up their resumes, or upgrading their skills. To date, Tap-In clients have accessed upwards of $225,000 in training from post-academic institutions in Manitoba, while working towards careers in such fields as Applied Arts, Business and Management, Basic Computer, Community Services, Trades and Industrial, Health Sciences, French, Education, Information Technology, and Safety.
“It’s a partnership we’re extremely proud to be involved in,” says Raeann Thibeault, Dean of the School of Continuing and Distance Education. “We’re thrilled to be working with the Immigration Centre in helping newcomers attain the education they need to provide a better life for themselves, and in helping with the supply of the skilled workforce in Manitoba.”
Not surprisingly, Tap-In participants are equally effusive.
“I am the kind of person that always wants to excel in my life, and one of my priorities has been my education,” says Miguel Rodriguez, a student from Colombia who’s currently enrolled in RRC’s Justice and Public Safety program. “Unfortunately, I have never attended college because of money restrictions … This is why I thank God that through Red River College and the Tap-In Program, I am achieving my dream.”
Click here for more information about the Tap-In Program.
Volunteers unload bikes from a pre-makeover version of "The Dinosaur," during Habitat for Humanity's 2010 Cycle of Hope. (Photo courtesy Habitat for Humanity.)
Students and staff in Red River College’s Transportation program have helped ensure a Habitat for Humanity fundraiser remains road-worthy — just the latest example of how the College builds community ties through its partnerships with not-for-profit groups.
In recent weeks, students and staff from RRC’s Body Shop and the Heavy Equipment Transportation Centre (HETC) — under the supervision of Transportation Chair Neil Cooke — repaired, refurbished and repainted the bicycle-hauling trailer used in Habitat for Humanity’s annual Cycle of Hope fundraiser.
In addition to the new paint job, the trailer (affectionately known as “The Dinosaur” by Habitat insiders) also boasts new lights, new reflectors and a number of mechanical repairs — all courtesy of Red River College, with contributions from project partners Imperial Paint & Supplies and Derrick’s Sandblasting & Painting.
“It’s Habitat for Humanity — they do so much for the community, and they do so much for groups of people who really need the help,” says Cooke. “It’s really great that our staff and students had the opportunity to help them out.”
Click here for more information about RRC’s Transportation programs.
Click here for more information about Habitat for Humanity.
Above: Habitat for Humanity's new and improved hauling trailer.
(Above: Career Trek participant Sara Mensah, a student at Arthur E. Wright School in Winnipeg, takes part in a Career Trek session at Red River College.)
Still not sure what you want to be when you grow up? Don’t worry, kids – you’re not alone.
According to the founder of Career Trek, a local not-for-profit organization that helps young people explore their post-secondary educational options, a staggering number of high school students still don’t have any clue what to do with the rest of their lives
“You’ve got kids making critical life decisions that are going to completely affect their future, and we’ve done nothing to position them to make intelligent choices,” says Career Trek’s Executive Director, Darrell Cole.
“But imagine if we could construct a system where people actually tried things before they committed to them.”
That’s where Career Trek can help: Now in its 15th year, the initiative was launched to help young people understand the value a post-secondary education can bring to their lives, and to equip them with the knowledge required to tap into their full potential, while making informed decisions about their futures.
After being nominated by their schools, participants aged 10 and up spend an academic year’s worth of Saturdays visiting the major post-secondary institutions in Manitoba, where they’re exposed to a wide variety of courses and career options. Here at Red River College (on the Notre Dame, Exchange District and Stevenson Aviation campuses), Career Trek participants receive hands-on training in a range of vocations, including journalism, carpentry, culinary arts and electrical engineering.
By explaining which high school courses typically serve as pre-requisites for those same fields of study or training, Cole and his Career Trek colleagues help to demystify a process that has for decades left many students struggling.
“We get to these kids early, so that by the time they get to high school, they’ve had some significant exposures to their future,” says Cole. “They’re gaining something we don’t usually have until we’re adults, which is hindsight.”
For more information on Career Trek, see www.careertrek.ca.
On Feb. 22nd and Feb. 23rd, Red River College will open its doors to prospective students from throughout the province, as part of annual Open House events aimed at showcasing the best the College has to offer.
From noon – 3 p.m., and 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. on Feb. 22nd, and again from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Feb. 23rd, attendees will have the chance to learn about the wide variety of programs and services available at RRC, by touring our Winnipeg campuses, speaking with staff and instructors, and taking part in information sessions and other interactive events.
“There really is something for everyone at Open House,” says Student Recruitment Officer Jennifer Powell of the event. “Visitors will learn that an education at Red River College is an excellent way to launch their career, whether they are students coming directly out of high school, or those wishing to further their careers or change direction.”
The Open House is aimed not just at potential students, but also parents, teachers and guidance counselors, all of whom are invited to seek the resources they need to assist in making decisions about post-secondary and career paths.
“Making the decision of where to go to school is sometimes tough,” explains Student Recruitment Officer Clint Thiessen. “I feel that one of the best ways to find out if Red River College is the place for you is to attend Open House and meet with an academic advisor, or take a personalized campus tour. Red River College staff are here to help you with you transition into college, and then into the workforce.”
At RRC’s Notre Dame campus, attendees can head to the North Gym to peruse displays and kiosks representing more than 110 full- and part-time programs. Scheduled tours of the Notre Dame, Exchange District and Stevenson Campuses will also take place throughout the duration of the event, with complimentary shuttle services available to transport students from campus to campus.
For more information, visit www.rrc.ca/openhouse.
Centre, foreground: Neil Cooke, Chair of Transportation, Math & Science at RRC; and Joyce Sobering, Vice-President, Sobering Automotive Centre Ltd., with the team that assembled the 1965 Cobra.
Students from Red River College's Automotive Department have found a new way to re-invest in the community, by using their skills to raise money for a local philanthropic group's scholarship fund.
Over the last year and a half, a team of students and instructors from RRC's Automotive program used their combined mechanical know-how to assemble a 1965 Cobra AC Replica Kit Car, which was supplied by the Red River Exhibition Foundation (the philanthropic arm of the Red River Exhibition Association).
The Foundation, in turn, was able to raffle off the car, putting the more than $40,000 in proceeds towards a scholarship program that helps individuals complete their post-secondary educations. Scholarship funds are used to support five industry sectors: Aerospace, Agriculture & Agri-Food, Automotive, Business, and Tourism.
On Tue., Dec. 14th, 2010, staff and students at the College were joined by Joyce Sobering of Sobering Automotive Centre Ltd., one of the Foundation's founders. Sobering said the Cobra project had a number of objectives: To showcase the skills and achievements of RRC students and instructors, to serve as a recruitment strategy for the automotive industry, and to raise funds to support all five of the Foundation's industry sectors.
"I think both the instructors and the students did a phenomenal job," said Sobering. "I was very impressed, not only with the finished product, but also with the time they committed to the project, and with their enthusiasm and skills."
Click here for more information about the Red River Exhibition Foundation.
Instructor Bob Chamberlain (left), accepts the School of C+DE's first-ever Teaching Excellence Award, as Raeann Thibeault, Dean of the School of C+DE, looks on.
Red River College shone a spotlight on some of its most important contributors last week, during the School of Continuing + Distance Education’s annual Instructor Appreciation Reception.
The event, which drew close to 200 attendees, gave staff members at the College a chance to pay tribute to C+DE’s pool of instructors, many of whom balance their teaching responsibilities with real-world industry jobs during the day.
“Tonight is our opportunity to say thank-you and to show appreciation for everything that our instructors do throughout the year,” said Raeann Thibeault, Dean of the School of C+DE.
“You help our students achieve their goals, and you help our students to be successful.”
Thibeault was joined at the speaker’s podium by David Leis, Vice-President of Business Development at RRC, and Stephanie Forsyth, the College’s President and CEO. Both spoke of the significant impacts that RRC instructors have on the lives of their students.
“This side of the College is so filled with that entrepreneurial spirit of creativity and integrity that is so great to be around,” said Forsyth.
“It’s like there’s this secret side of the College — a shadow side of the College — that comes alive at nights and on weekends. You’re really making a difference — both to students, and to industry here in Manitoba.”
As part of the reception, organizers paid tribute to instructors marking their 10th, 20th and 25th year of service with the College. They also honoured longtime instructor Bob Chamberlain — described by students as a “toasted marshmallow” (crusty on the outside, but soft and warm on the inside!) — with the first-ever Teaching Excellence Award.
Those recognized at the event included: Clara Baricz, Carlos Clark, Arnold Evans, Sandie Foster, James Hayes, Nancy Hughes, Suzanne Kelly, Phillip Klassen, Harold Klause, Daniel Larson, Dennis Mitchell and Bradley Schellenberg (10 years); Wayne Bemister, Leon Wartzaba and David A. Bibby (20 years); and Otto Gebhardt and Maureen Olafson (25 years).
Click here for more information about the School of Continuing + Distance Education.
Stephanie Forsyth (left), RRC's President and CEO, with Jhon Pinto (centre), a Civil Engineering student from Colombia.
Red River College's 6th Annual Welcome Party for Immigrant and International Students, held Fri., Nov. 26th at the Notre Dame Campus, was an entertaining — and welcoming — event that drew over 380 student, staff and family members.
The party featured Bhangra dances by Sher-E-Punjab; French Canadian folklore courtesy of Ça Claque, African rhythms from the Casimiro Nhusi Band; and the Latin American energy of Cubanisimo and Papa Mambo. Children in attendance also enjoyed caricatures, face painting and amazing balloon shapes.
Greetings were offered by a number of individuals — among them, Stephanie Forsyth, RRC's President and CEO; Nadia Mahmood, Acting Manager for Diversity and Immigrant Student Support; Levinia Brown, Elder; Stevenson Alloso, Director of International Education; and Danielle Funk, President of RRC's Students’ Association — all of whom touched on the importance of welcoming immigrant and international students to the College.
“Manitoba welcomed more immigrants last year than at any time in its recorded history — 13,520 people from around the world decided to make this province their new home," Forsyth said in her address. "As immigration to Manitoba increases each year, Red River College has seen significant growth in the number of immigrant and international students on our campuses. We've responded to that demand with more programs and services catered to you, and I'm proud to say that we are a leader in Canada when it comes to innovative ways to support immigrant and international students.
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Red River College will close for the holidays, beginning at noon on Wed., Dec. 22nd, 2010. The College will re-open at 7 a.m., on Tue., Jan. 4th, 2011.
Both the Notre Dame Campus and the Exchange District Campus will be closed during this time, as will RRC’s Steinbach campus. Campuses at Gimli, Peguis-Fisher River, Portage and Winkler will also close at noon on Dec. 22nd, but will re-open at 8:30 a.m., (not 8 a.m.), on Jan. 4th, 2011.
During the break, general access to the Notre Dame and Exchange District Campuses will be limited to the following hours:
December 22nd -23rd: 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
December 24th: 8:00 a.m. to 12 Noon
December 25th and 26th: Closed – no access
December 27th to 31st: 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
January 1st, 2011: Closed – no access
January 2nd – 3rd: 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m
January 4th: Resume regular hours effective 7:00 a.m.
Lab access on the NOTRE DAME and EXCHANGE DISTRICT CAMPUSES during the above hours will be limited to the classroom labs listed below. Students who are in one of the designated labs prior to closure will be given a 4 hour grace period (until 4:00 p.m. or 8:00 p.m. depending on day) to complete their studies or project before being asked to leave. Designated Labs are:
• D315 – Business Division students using desktops
• BB12 – Hospitality students using lap top computers
• A423 – Advanced Diploma – (GIS)
• A226 – Electrical/Electronic Engineering Students
Roblin (PSC) Labs:
• A 106 – PC Lab
•W 412 – Mac Lab
Entry to the Notre Dame Campus during restricted hours will be permitted via the East Plaza door of Building C. Entry to The Roblin Centre (PSC) will be permitted through the North Atrium doors. Sign In /Sign Out procedures will be in effect. Identification will be required for admission. Staff and students are advised to carry their College identification cards.
The Heavy Equipment Transportation Centre will be closed to students during the holiday break. Other campus locations will issue separate memos with respect to their hours of operation.
Limited technical support will be available to Continuing and Distance Education students from Mon., Dec. 27th, to Fri., Dec. 31st, 2010. Students requiring assistance with a LEARN course can email firstname.lastname@example.org, while those seeking assistance with a SharePoint course can email email@example.com. (Please allow 24 hours for a response.)
Here's the full version of the Q+A with Red River College's new President and CEO Stephanie Forsyth that was excerpted in the most recent issue of RED magazine.
1. What led you to a career in post-secondary education?
Prior to my first job in PSE, I was working in the hospitality industry and it was a challenge to get highly qualified people. Selkirk College approached me to develop and initiate programs for the hospitality sector. Over the next several years I worked both within the college sector and in the hospitality industry. I became engaged in assisting the more marginalized to obtain an education and employment and realized the power of education to transform lives. It has been inspiring and deeply gratifying. There was a time I would have never imagined I would be in education; now I’m completely devoted to this work.
2. What drew you to Red River College?
It’s perhaps the only college in Canada that could lure me out of B.C. It’s located in a “big small town,” it has an excellent reputation and its values and strategic directions fit with my interests and background, such as: working closely with communities, industry and the province in social and economic development; seeking to enhance access and success of Aboriginal learners and the chronically underemployed; leading in applied research and innovation; aspiring to be a green college; and the list goes on!
Additionally, I was very interested in learning about the lifestyle and culture of prairie Canada. So far, my impression is that Winnipeg is a great place to live that’s greatly misunderstood by the rest of Canada. It’s an accessible, affordable city with a lot to offer! I’m very impressed with the arts and culture, the amenities, and the warm and welcoming spirit of so many people, from shopkeepers to college staff.
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