RRC Polytech receives $1.5-million gift from Joyce Family Foundation

May 23, 2023

The Joyce Family Foundation has generously donated $1.5 million to support students who face barriers to education. The donation will be used to create 10 annual bursaries for youth in care and for vulnerable students at RRC Polytech.

An announcement to celebrate the gift was made at the College’s Child and Youth Care program graduation today. Graduates of this program (like those shown above) support and inspire children, youth and families, and often find employment in treatment homes, mental health and justice facilities, schools and community-based programs.

“The Joyce Family Foundation Bursary creates the largest fund for student aid at the College and more than doubles RRC Polytech’s ability to support financially vulnerable students pursuing post-secondary educations,” says College president Fred Meier.

“We thank The Joyce Family Foundation for recognizing this need and removing financial stress, allowing students to focus on their studies.”

The fund will provide bursaries of up to $5,000 for 10 students per year. Each successful applicant will be assigned an academic coach, who will work with them throughout their studies to ensure their success in the program.

In Manitoba, there are currently more than 9,800 youth in care, 91 per cent of whom are Indigenous. Less than five per cent of youth in care pursue post-secondary education.

The Joyce Family Foundation Bursary doubles the number of RRC Polytech bursaries available, from nine to 19.

“This gift showcases the Board’s dedication to youth and their aspirations to become confident, independent contributors to society,” says Maureen O’Neill, Executive Director, Joyce Family Foundation.

“Ron Joyce believed that education had the power to open doors and this gift allows students to develop their unique interests and talents by starting and completing their program at RRC Polytech.”

RRC Polytech is a partner of the Manitoba Scholarship Bursary Initiative, where the provincial government matches private donations at a 1:2 ratio and in turn provides an additional 50 per cent in bursaries.

“The Manitoba government applauds the Joyce Family Foundation for their generous support of youth in care at RRC Polytech,” says Advanced Education and Training Minister Sarah Guillemard. “With the Manitoba Scholarship Bursary Initiative, our government will contribute an additional 50 percent to the Joyce Family Foundation Bursary, to help further remove financial stress for students.”

The Joyce Family Foundation is a private family foundation created by Canadian entrepreneur Ronald V. Joyce, who was best known for investing in the first Tim Horton’s in 1964.

The foundation works to build a legacy for the future — through ongoing leadership and innovative partnerships — by promoting improved and meaningful social, economic and emotional engagement for young Canadians.

With this gift, the RRC Polytech Comprehensive Campaign has reached $38 million of its $60-million goal. To join the movement that will transform RRC Polytech into a greater force for economic and social change in Manitoba, and position the College to face the future head-on, visit

Registration open for RRC Polytech’s summer youth camps

May 16, 2023

Historically, the phrase “go to your room” has held a negative connotation for generations of youngsters. But thanks to a new learning opportunity from RRC Polytech, working in collaboration with IKEA, this will no longer be the case for dozens of Winnipeg tweens and teens.

Design Your Dream Room, one of four new day camps the College will offer this summer, teaches campers the basics of interior decorating and room layout under the guidance of an RRC Polytech interior decorating professional.

Other youth can learn the art of photography or how to design and launch their own product, or deepen their relationship with their cultural identity.

“Our summer youth camps give young people a taste of what a polytechnic education looks like,” says Breanna Sawatzky, Manager of Campus Well-Being at RRC Polytech. “They’ll learn new skills in hands-on, experiential environments — guided by experienced RRC Polytech leaders.”

Aspiring shutterbugs will learn about composition, posing, exposure and light control under the direction of a professional photographer in Out and About Photography, while budding entrepreneurs will develop a product from idea to minimal viable product, and go through a design sprint in Entrepreneurship Camp.

The College’s Indigenous Cultural Exploration Camp, open to all youth ages nine to 11, will guide campers through experiential learning while incorporating cultural activities.

“We know the importance of introducing kids to technology, art, business, culture and creativity at an early age, as they’re beginning to think about their future careers,” says Sawatzky. “These camps are a fun, low-pressure opportunity for kids to start to explore their passions while familiarizing themselves with our campus.” Read More →

RRC Polytech hosts inaugural Work-Integrated Learning conference

May 10, 2023

More than 100 representatives from Manitoba businesses are meeting today to learn the advantages and benefits of mentoring a student through Work-Integrated Learning (WIL) opportunities at RRC Polytech.

Hosted by the College’s Applied Computer Education and Work Integrated Learning and Career Services department, the one-day conference Engaging in Work-Integrated Learning for the Changing Workplace aims to inform businesses about the WIL opportunities that exist within the College, and the supports they can receive to promote accessibility and equity, diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

“The College is already well known for its experiential approach to learning, and we want to ensure our industry partners understand the many benefits of providing students with Work-Integrated Learning experiences,” says Dr. Christine Watson, RRC Polytech’s Vice President, Academic.

“Not only do our students gain important skills that support their future career paths, but our host employers also benefit through early access to high quality talent.

“Students come to RRC Polytech because they want a high-quality education that will prepare them to enter the workforce after graduation. This includes access to industry mentorship, experiential learning and co-operative work placements.”

The conference is funded through a partnership with the Business + Higher Education Roundtable (BHER), with support from the Government of Canada.
Through the partnership, RRC Polytech has committed to providing 650 WIL opportunities for students in 2023. New initiatives created include the Sprint to Innovate competition, pitch workshops and additional projects completed through Applied Computer Education.

“We need to scale up opportunities for employers to work with equity-deserving students to create truly inclusive and meaningful work environments,” says Andrew Bieler, Director of Partnerships & Experiential Learning at BHER. “We applaud RRC Polytech in bringing together business and industry organizations to better understand how best to support students from different backgrounds in Manitoba.”

Conference sessions focus on how businesses can maximize their talent pipelines through WIL, supporting students and employees with autism, cultural competencies training, and accessibility resources. The day kicks off with a keynote from Dr. Lionel Laroche about managing cultural differences in Canadian organizations. Read More →

Quick Train courses boost College’s contribution to a cleaner economy

May 9, 2023

RRC Polytech is meeting with federal parliamentarians this week to discuss further opportunities for Canada’s colleges, Cégeps and institutions to be the driving force in providing the skills required to transition to a clean economy.

The virtual meetings, led by Canadian Colleges for a Resilient Recovery (C2R2) — a coalition of 14 institutions from across Canada that work together to provide the skills required to transition to a clean economy — build off the success of the recently launched Quick Train Canada initiative.

Quick Train Canada is a series of tuition-free micro-credential courses offered at C2R2 institutes across the country that focus on providing Canadian workers and employers with options to update skills quickly through multi-week, virtual and in-person learning designed to boost job security and participation as the economy transitions to more sustainable practices.

“RRC Polytech’s six Quick Train courses filled up within the first week of being launched, which shows there’s a demonstrated need for learners to quickly and easily bolster their portfolios with relevant skills that will contribute to a greener economy,” says Fred Meier, the College’s President and CEO.

“RRC Polytech and C2R2 members across Canada are positioned to quickly develop thousands of training and applied research opportunities to help Canadians access new careers, support the transition to a low-carbon economy and foster equity, diversity and inclusion.”

Each C2R2 institution offers Quick Train courses relevant to their areas of expertise. All courses are tuition-free, and many are offered virtually so anyone in Canada can access them. Read More →

Lenovo provides new computers to RRC Polytech student cohort

May 9, 2023

A cohort of Pathway to Information Technology Programs students at RRC Polytech were gifted $50,000 worth of state-of-the-art laptops from tech giant Lenovo, preparing them to innovate and succeed in IT roles across the province.

“This partnership with Lenovo not only provides students with laptops, it’s also another way barriers to education are removed,” says Fred Meier, RRC Polytech’s President and CEO. “This gift enhances the student experience and provides access to technology that meets the needs of industry and allows students to be successful in achieving their educational goals.”

The College’s Pathway programs are designed to equip Indigenous Manitobans with the support and skills needed to confidently transition into specific RRC Polytech programs. Created in partnership with RBC Future Launch, Pathway to Information Technology Programs prepares and empowers students to enrol in RRC Polytech’s IT Operations, Information Security and Business Information Technology programs.

“Our vision is to help create a world where every person has access to the technology that allows them to achieve their goals,” says Libby Richards, Lenovo’s Community Engagement Manager. “Connecting students with technology is crucial in innovation and moving society forward. This program aligns with our goals and provides students with the foundational knowledge to be successful in the rapidly growing field of IT.”

Pathway to Information Technology Programs requires students to have access to a computer with certain memory and speed requirements; those who don’t already have access are provided with options to rent a computer from the College.

At the start of the program’s first semester, Lenovo provided all students with new ThinkBook 15 Gen4 laptops, which they will be able to keep even after they’ve completed their studies.

Earlier today, representatives from Lenovo were able to tour Manitou a bi Bii daziigae and meet with students from the program.

“It’s clear to see why these students selected this program,” says Warren Beleyowski, Client Executive, MB/SK Public Sector for Lenovo Canada. “Providing them with laptops was an easy decision, as these students are going to be the ones who are meeting the ever-changing needs of tomorrow.”

RRC Polytech hosts 23rd annual Pow Wow

May 5, 2023

RRC Polytech hosts its 23rd annual Pow Wow today to celebrate Indigenous students and graduates, while also honouring the Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and Two-Spirit People (MMIWG2S), or Red Dress Day.

Each year, RRC Polytech’s Pow Wow welcomes hundreds of guests, community members, dancers, drummers, staff, faculty and Indigenous graduates from all programs to join in the celebration, hosted by the School of Indigenous Education with guidance and leadership from the College’s Elders-in-Residence.
This year, campus flags will be lowered to half-mast and the day will be recognized with a Memorial Song dedicated to MMIWG2S, their families and those impacted by the loss of loved ones.

“Creating space to celebrate Indigenous achievement is essential action for reconciliation and is the responsibility of all of us that call North America — Turtle Island — home,” says Isabel Bright, Dean of the School of Indigenous Education.

“While we celebrate the achievements of all Indigenous students, it’s important to recognize that the date of our Pow Wow coincides with the Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and Two-Spirit People. Indigenous women, girls and Two-Spirit people deserve respect and safety.”

Earlier this year, College leaders were invited into Indigenous communities to hear directly from members about the barriers that Indigenous learners face when considering post-secondary education. Some individuals expressed fear for the safety of their daughters or granddaughters when they leave their communities to come to Winnipeg or other urban centres, and worried whether they would make it home.

“Not only should we ensure all students are getting the highest quality education we can offer, but they should feel safe while doing so — this should never be a barrier to access,” says Fred Meier, RRC President and CEO.

“We will continue to work collaboratively with Indigenous communities to ensure we are taking meaningful steps to address the calls for justice in the final report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, and to ensure that all women, girls and Two-Spirit people are supported and safe in their educational journey.” Read More →

Engineering technologist receives Distinguished Graduate Award from RRC Polytech

April 27, 2023

A Winnipeg engineering technologist who has been a local, provincial and national leader in his profession has been honoured with the Distinguished Graduate Award from RRC Polytech.

Robert Okabe, CEO and Registrar at the Certified Technicians and Technologists Association of Manitoba (CTTAM), graduated with a Civil Engineering Technology diploma from RRC Polytech in 1983. His dedication to technicians and technologists, along with his passion for his community and volunteering, has set him apart and made him an outstanding candidate for the College’s highest achievement.

“RRC Polytech is proud to honour Robert Okabe with the Distinguished Graduate Award,” says College President Fred Meier. “His professional achievements truly embody the kind of commitment and leadership we aim to demonstrate to students. His contributions to Manitoba showcase the difference that RRC Polytech graduates make to our province, especially in the profession of applied science and engineering technology.”

Distinguished Graduate Awards honour and recognize the College’s finest graduates — those who have made an impact in their profession and their community through outstanding achievements in one or more of the following areas: humanitarianism, professional excellence and community service.

Okabe was recognized as a Fellow of Engineers Canada FEC in 2019 and as an International Engineering Technologist by the Canadian Council of Technicians and Technologists (CCTT) in 2013. He has served in various positions for the CCTT and the Canadian Technology Accreditation Board.

Okabe is currently a Program Advisory Committee member with RRC Polytech, Assiniboine Community College and University of College of the North, and has provided invaluable guidance and advocacy with the accreditation of RRC Polytech’s engineering technology programs.

He also has a role in all nine of the College’s Engineering Technology Advisory Committees, which provide direction and curriculum support from those working on the ground.

“I am incredibly excited and proud to be receiving this award,” says Okabe. “I believe that giving back to the community is such an important thing I can do as a graduate and am proud to support the next generation. The College provided so much for me in my career, and it’s an honour to be celebrated in this way.” Read More →

RRC Polytech recognizes unsung office heroes on National Administrative Professionals’ Day

April 26, 2023

RRC Polytech is proud to celebrate National Administrative Professionals’ Day, and to recognize the valuable contributions these individuals make in our workplaces.

Staff and students are encouraged to thank the administrative professionals in their lives for the essential work they do here at the College, and across our community.

Celebrated on the Wednesday of the last week of every April, the day recognizes the work of administrative assistants, receptionists and other administrative support professionals.

This year, the day falls on April 26, when the College will host a 2.5-hour professional development session for administrative staff. Participants will discover how they rank in the four primary personality types — dominance, influence, steadiness and conscientiousness — using the popular DiSC tool.

“The administrative professional role is that of a ‘hero’ — supporting efficiency and productivity, providing the technical and administrative support to teams both internally and externally,” says Denis Cordella, Chair of Business and Management for RRC Polytech’s School of Continuing Education.

“They are ‘solution builders’ and proactively make a difference to support goals.” Read More →

RRC Polytech and RBC celebrate Indigenous food, fashion and music

April 19, 2023

In partnership with RBC Future Launch, Indigenous culture takes centre stage today as RRC Polytech students, staff and community members gather for a celebration highlighting the importance of entrepreneurship in Indigenous culture.

Running 1:00–5:00 p.m. at Manitou a bi Bii daziigae, Indigenous Food, Fashion and Music: An RBC Reaction by Collision Community Event will showcase Indigenous culture and arts in Winnipeg. As part of RRC Polytech’s commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion, the event will immerse guests in Indigenous culture, as represented by some of the brightest local entrepreneurs, chefs, designers and performers.

“Representation and celebration of Indigenous culture is an important way to let Indigenous students, staff and community members know they are welcome here and they belong at RRC Polytech,” says College President Fred Meier.

“When RRC Polytech connects with partners like RBC, amazing things can happen. This is the second year we’ve had the pleasure of hosting the RBC Reaction by Collision Event in-person, and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank RBC for choosing to support RRC Polytech students.”

Event highlights will include a haute couture fashion show, delectable cuisine from local chefs, a crafter’s market with local artisans and music provided by Juno nominees Indian City. Featured guests include Brownees Urban Bistro, Feast Café Bistro, Olivia Nasikapow, Gayle Grubin, Dawn Harris, OGICHIDAA, and many others.

Miranda Harper, an RRC Polytech grad and drummer in the local rock band Venus Man Trap, is taking part in the event’s panel and looks forward to sharing her experience as an Indigenous musician with students and community members.

“We’re showing future Indigenous generations that they’re welcome here, that there’s space for them to innovate and be bold,” Harper says. “I get inspired when young people ask me questions, either about my experience as a musician or about my career in commercial banking. It’s important for me to share the path and journey I went on to get to where I am and hopefully motivate others to do the same.” Read More →

Indigenous Culinary students savour world-class training opportunity

April 4, 2023

A world-class event, a thousand hungry attendees, and seven eager first-year Indigenous Culinary Skills students from RRC Polytech were among the ingredients making up a true recipe for success, served up in downtown Winnipeg last month.

Opportunity knocked when organizers of last month’s International Indigenous Tourism Conference reached out to the College looking for help in feeding visitors to the RBC Convention Centre who were attending the largest Indigenous tourism event in the world.

Chef Patrick Anderson, an Indigenous Culinary Skills instructor at the College, didn’t have to do much to convince his current class members to step up and show off their skills. All seven first-year students immediately volunteered and even organized their own carpool to ensure they didn’t miss the chance of a lifetime — to work in the kitchen at a massive international event preparing upscale traditional dishes and learning from world-renowned top chefs.

“Our students got to work shoulder-to-shoulder with 11 of the most accomplished Indigenous chefs from all over North America, helping them make 650 portions of some of the most well thought-out and delicious Indigenous dishes,” says Anderson.

“Even I was blown away by all the amazing flavors they developed and served. This menu was proof that Indigenous cuisine is so much more than bannock, berries and smoked meat.”

Although cooking for convention attendees was a first-time experience for most of the students, they leaned on their training, their mentors and each other to embrace the moment and perform to rave reviews.

By the end of the night, their confidence was off the charts as they enjoyed samples of their work and even danced a few friendly jigs with event coordinators and guest chefs in celebration.

Culinary Skills students cooking at the International Indigenous Tourism Conference“It was a really useful experience,” says Culinary Skills student Belinda Johnson. “I’d been to conferences before when I worked in health care, but being able to help prep and plate next to these chefs was so exciting.”

The professional chefs could not stop raving to instructors about how diligent and skilled the students were. A few of the students even received job offers out of the experience.

“Our team did not look like first-year culinary students at this event — they acted like graduates,” says Anderson.

“They worked like experienced cooks that have an incredibly bright future ahead of them. One of the coordinators came up to me and told me she believes the future of the Indigenous culinary industry is very bright knowing there are programs like ours.”