News

Lights, camera, action: A second chance at convocation

June 22, 2022

Today, after two years of virtual graduation ceremonies, RRC Polytech alumni — along with their classmates, friends, family, loved ones and College staff — are gathering for a second chance at convocation.

Almost 1,000 alumni will don a cap and gown to cross the stage in person during ceremonies at the Centennial Concert Hall.

“We recognize that being surrounded by classmates and loved ones, and crossing the stage is a major milestone to help celebrate students’ hard work and achievements,” says Dr. Christine Watson, Vice-President, Academic and emcee of the alumni graduation ceremonies.

“We wanted to be able to provide this memorable in-person experience to alumni who had virtual convocation ceremonies over the last two years,”

Earlier this spring, after receiving positive survey responses from alumni who graduated between Spring 2020 and Winter 2022, the College announced that special return convocation ceremonies would be held for alumni.

For Tian Tian, who first arrived in Canada in 2020, not only did she have to learn how to navigate a new country and way of life, but also remote classes in a new online learning environment. Despite all the challenges, Tian seamlessly managed a demanding class schedule, found time to give back to the community, and began building a family.

Having started her education journey at the onset of the pandemic, and finished during another wave of the pandemic, she now has the opportunity to attend the in-person convocation ceremony she had anticipated.

“I am grateful to be able to join my instructors and fellow classmates in person — they have been fundamental in helping me build brave relationships here at RRC Polytech and prepare for my future career,” says Tian, who is a 2021 honours grad of the College’s Manufacturing CAD program, and recipient of the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for outstanding achievement.

“Today is also extremely special because my son, Alexis, who became our youngest classmate, will be with my family in the audience while I cross the stage.”

Tian will bring remarks at tonight’s 7:00 p.m. ceremony, which — like those taking place at 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. — will be available to livestream at rrc.ca/convocation.

Congratulations to the classes of 2020, 2021 and 2022!

RRC Polytech launches new Orange Shirt Day design by local artist Peatr Thomas

June 21, 2022

Local artist Peatr Thomas, seated near one of his outdoor muralsRRC Polytech is proud to have worked with local artist Peatr Thomas on an original design for Orange Shirt Day: Every Child Matters, in support of the Mínwastánikéwin Truth and Reconciliation Award, created in partnership between the College’s School of Indigenous Education and its Campus Store.

Thomas is an Ininew and Anishinaabe self-taught, full-time multi-disciplinary artist from the Pimicikamak and Miskooseepi territories. A youth facilitator for many years, he is sharing passed-down knowledge, traditional teachings, culture and the healing process by creating visual forms of art.

“Orange Shirt Day: Every Child Matters and truth and reconciliation have become such a large part of the College community, and we can see how it has been embraced through the engagement and attendance of our events and workshops, but also through the funds we have raised for the Mínwastánikéwin Truth and Reconciliation Award and the Indigenous students we’ve been able to support so far,” says Carla Kematch, Truth and Reconciliation and Community Engagement.

Part of the values of truth and reconciliation is embedding Indigenous ways of knowing and being, and I’m so honoured that Peatr agreed to work with us to create an authentic piece of artwork that staff and students can feel proud to wear that is true to the meaning behind Every Child Matters.

“Peatr is an established artist in our community with a distinct vision — many will recognize his incredible murals throughout the city, and we are so grateful to him for sharing his art and teachings with us. I can’t wait to see this path for us grow and to create more opportunities.”

All proceeds from Orange Shirt Day sales, as well as those from Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and Two Spirit designs, go towards the Mínwastánikéwin Truth and Reconciliation Award. The word Mínwastánikéwin is Cree and means ‘to set it right.’ This award seeks to advance Indigenous student achievement and since 2019 has distributed $1,000 awards each year via the College’s annual Truth and Reconciliation Week held at the end of September.

Peatr Thomas' new Orange Shirt Day designWhile consulting on the shirt’s design, Thomas met with RRC Polytech Elder-in-Residence Paul Guimond and an Orange Shirt Day committee to share what was important to convey, and to explore what the College seeks to achieve through its strategic direction: supporting Indigenous student success through supports, programs and initiatives like the 4 Seasons of Reconciliation training, the Blanket exercise, Truth and Reconciliation Week, and more.

Thomas says his design represents courage. “Courage to move forward. Courage to speak the truth. Courage to make changes for the better. The youth today will have a better chance at a great future with the protection of the Bear Clan, guidance of our ancestors, and having the room for growth. Remember and pay tribute to the young ones lost. Remember to honour the survivors.”

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College launches new IT program for Indigenous students as part of RBC Foundation gift

June 20, 2022

Today, Indigenous learners interested in pursuing a career in Manitoba’s information technology (IT) sector will have access to a new program offered at RRC Polytech, thanks to a $450,000 gift from RBC.

This most recent gift — alongside funding for other programs and platforms that connect diverse students to their ideas, potential, and one another — makes for a million-dollar friendship.

“When community partners like RBC connect with RRC Polytech to create globally needed programs, we’re ready to answer the call,” said Fred Meier, President and CEO, RRC Polytech.

“This new pathway program is designed to equip Indigenous Manitobans with the skills and support required to transition into selected programs at RRC Polytech. With the move to remote and hybrid work and heavy reliance on technology, the world of IT operations is growing every day, and RRC Polytech’s students are in high demand.”

RBC has been a longstanding partner of RRC Polytech, and today, both organizations are celebrating over $1M in support. These gifts have provided mentorship and internship opportunities for students through such initiatives as Ten Thousand Coffees and Riipen, and sponsorship for the annual Directions Conference. They have also made possible a series of Reaction by Collision events, the latest of which served as host to today’s announcement about the new Pathway to Information Technology Programs offering.

“We at RBC are delighted to support the new Pathway to Information Technology Programs with this gift,” said Kim Ulmer, RBC’s Regional President. “Representation in industry, access to education, and tapping into the incredible talents of Indigenous people matters to all of us. We are so proud to further deepen our longtime friendship with RRC Polytech, while helping give space to new and innovative ideas in areas of information technology.”      Read More →

Careers in business: RRC Polytech program prepares grads to get hired by businesses, or start their own

June 16, 2022

Whether you’re selling a product, taking a product to market, working with people or looking to entice investors, a background in business provides a wide range of career paths to be followed.

This idea is at the core of RRC Polytech’s Business Administration program, a two-year diploma that allows students to follow an area of expertise — often directly into the workplace.

Business Administration graduate Paul Dorey, CPA, CGA used both his technical skills and the networks he established during his time at school to find what he calls his “forever home” at Talbot & Associates Chartered Professional Accountants, a Winnipeg-based accounting firm.

“One of my former RRC Polytech student colleagues reached out a few years ago and said, ‘Hey… why don’t you leave corporate accounting and come work for us at our public practice firm?’” recalls Dorey (shown above). “I decided to take a leap of faith and join him. It’s been six years since, and I’ll never look back.”

That kind of grad-to-grad connection is commonplace in Business Administration, where students spend the first term learning foundational skills before branching off into their choice of major: accounting, financial services, human resource management, marketing, and logistics and supply chain management.

Read More →

RRC Polytech adopts 2SLGBTQIA+ acronym and raises Progress Pride flag

June 15, 2022

RRC Polytech has committed to embed equity, diversity, and inclusion into all work done at the College and is always looking for ways to advance meaningful change.

Moving forward, the College will use the acronym 2SLGTBQIA+ to respectfully acknowledge members of the Two-Spirit, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and/or Questioning, Intersex, Asexual, and the countless affirmative ways in which people choose to self-identify community.

The College is placing Two Spirit People at the beginning of this evolving acronym, out of respect for their longevity, and their importance and status in Indigenous beliefs and traditions, after consultation and collaboration with our Elders in Residence and Knowledge Keepers Council.

“I’ve always advocated to recognize Two Spirit first because if we are going to talk about truth and reconciliation within Canada and recognize and acknowledge Indigenous people, including Two Spirit people, we should put them at the beginning. I’ve never understood why we are at the end,” says Barbara Bruce, O.M., All My Relations Inc., and RRC Polytech Knowledge Keepers Council.

“Placing the 2S at the beginning of the acronym is recognizing the original peoples of Canada — First Nation, Métis Nation and Inuit Two Spirit people — and it’s acknowledging who those people are. I think everybody should embrace this stance.” Read More →

College honours pioneering doctor who worked through AIDS crisis to save lives

June 14, 2022

With a career spanning multiple decades, Dr. John Richard Middleton (Dick) Smith has made an enduring mark on the 2SLGBTQIA+ community in Winnipeg.

Smith was one of the first doctors in Winnipeg to support patients diagnosed with HIV and AIDS, saving countless lives through treatment and education. Now, RRC Polytech is celebrating his efforts by presenting him with an honorary diploma in Community Development.

“Dr. Smith represents the embodiment of caring and giving back to your community — a value we work to instil into every one of our grads,” says Fred Meier, President and CEO of RRC Polytech.

“We are proud to honour Dr. Smith for his tireless work advocating for the 2SLGBTQIA+ community. His work teaches us if something doesn’t yet exist in the world but is necessary and positive, then be fearless and pursue it.”

Smith moved to Winnipeg from England in 1972. After seeing the need for specialized health care and safe spaces, he helped found the Winnipeg Gay Community Health Centre, the Village Clinic and Nine Circles Community Health Centre. He brought his activism and leadership to other roles as President of the Manitoba College of Family Physicians and President of Medical Staff for Misericordia Hospital.

“Receiving this recognition from RRC Polytech is a great honour,” says Dr. Smith. “Working with people has been the touchstone of my career and I’ve been so fortunate to forge many valuable connections here in Winnipeg while doing something I love. I hope that RRC Polytech graduates find something they love to do and find wonderful people to work alongside.”

In 2016, Dr. Smith came out of retirement to help open a multidisciplinary organization called Our Own Health Centre, which specializes in providing medical and well-being care to members of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community. Read More →

RRC Polytech celebrates 2,000 grads at in-person convocation

June 13, 2022

Today, RRC Polytech is celebrating its latest group of graduates with an in-person ceremony — the first held in-person since February 2020.

“Tonight’s ceremony marks a fresh start for our graduates. They have accomplished a great deal through challenging circumstances — they truly deserve a celebration,” says Dr. Christine Watson, Vice-President Academic.

“Our convocation ceremonies represent opportunity and new beginnings. We are excited to be gathering together again to celebrate our students’ achievements.”

More than 2,000 students — many of whom completed a significant portion of their learning in a virtual setting — will cross the stage over three ceremonies, the first of which takes place tonight at 7:00 p.m.

Among the honourees at this week’s ceremonies are Taryn Lucas and Trent Adams, the College’s 2022 Lieutenant Governor’s Medal recipients. RRC Polytech awards up to four Lieutenant Governor’s Medal awards each year to graduating students who excel in academic and technical achievement, involvement in College and/or community activities, and good character.

Lucas graduates from the Community Development program, while Adams graduates from Environmental Engineering Technology. Read More →

Province to add 30 new training seats to RRC Polytech’s Nursing program

June 9, 2022

The Manitoba government is investing over $830,000 to add 30 new nurse training seats to help sustainably increase the number of nurses working in the province in the years to come, Health Minister Audrey Gordon and Advanced Education, Skills and Immigration Minister Jon Reyes announced yesterday.

“Our government is strengthening health care,” said Gordon. “Investing in nurses who are an integral part of our health-care team is building our province’s health human resource capacity. We have been working closely with post-secondary institutions to sustainably increase the capacity of existing nursing programs throughout the province.”

“Our government’s multi-faceted action plan is responding effectively to labour market shortages in the health-care system that were amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Reyes. “This investment brings us even closer to fulfilling our July 2021 commitment to add 400 seats in nursing programs at post-secondary institutions across the province.”

Funding will add 30 new seats to the Nursing program at RRC Polytech. It will help renovate necessary learning spaces, add laboratory equipment and support new staffing, supplies and other operational needs, the ministers noted.  

“The work we do at RRC Polytech anticipates and aligns with the nursing and health-care needs of Manitoba, and this announcement recognizes the importance of investing in post-secondary institutions that provide highly trained graduates,” said Fred Meier, president and CEO, RRC Polytech.

“We are ready to grow and expand our programs as needed to prepare students to contribute on day one and in turn strengthen our province. We expect that all 30 seats will be filled by the end of the 2022-23 academic year.”

With this latest expansion, the Manitoba government has committed more than $30 million to establish 289 nursing seats that will support recruitment for the health-care system. The ministers noted work remains underway on the next phase of the plan to further expand training to meet the 400-space commitment made in 2021.

Learn more about RRC Polytech’s Bachelor of Nursing program.

Careers in accounting: Certificate program opens doors to roles in a variety of businesses

May 18, 2022

Behind any for-profit business is a bottom line, and behind any bottom line is an accountant.

The skills required to exercise precision while dealing with finances are in high demand — something that RRC Polytech instructor Lise Nicole Wall understands well.

“It serves anyone well to have accounting knowledge, because every business has to have revenue and expenses, budgets and what-not,” says Wall.

RRC Polytech’s Applied Accounting certificate helps meet this demand through an eight-month program, consisting of two four-month terms, that provides a path for students into entry-level positions, both locally in Manitoba and across Canada. The program highlights “foundational accounting skills,” according to Wall, while emphasizing general business practices, mathematics, communication, computer skills and business software.

The work involved is demanding, but the program’s short timeframe means students can go from being good with numbers to starting their career in just eight months. This includes getting workplace-ready by honing skills like working in a group, respecting colleagues, managing time and communicating well.

“You’ve got your foot in the door,” says Wall of the opportunities provided.

“If you do well, the business doesn’t want to hire externally, they want to promote from within. So quite often, it’s just about getting into that corporation, that company, getting an entry-level position, and proving yourself before moving up.”

“[It’s] pretty great that after eight months you have a skillset and are desirable and ready to be hired, versus a degree, where you might not know where you’re being hired.”

Read More →

RRC Polytech hosts in-person Pow Wow for graduating Indigenous students

May 9, 2022

Last Friday, RRC Polytech welcomed back its in-person Pow Wow to celebrate graduating Indigenous students, with a day-long event that included a traditional pipe ceremony, drumming, dancing, singing, feasting and an Indigenous makers market.

Approximately 170 Indigenous students registered for the event, the largest number in RRC Polytech’s Pow Wow history. The event was also live streamed.

For the past two years, the College’s Pow Wow has been held virtually, with students signing up to be recognized in a live stream filled with Indigenous performances and messages of congratulations. Including the two virtual celebrations, this year’s event marked the College’s 22nd Pow Wow.

“Nothing can replace celebrating our students in-person and creating these memories that help mark a special moment in their lives and where their cultures are celebrated,” says Fred Meier, President and CEO of RRC Polytech. “Indigenous success is vital to all areas of our College and is just one of the ways we will contribute to the ongoing process of reconciliation. We’re seeing Indigenous students register for this year’s Pow Wow from across all programs areas: health, business, trades, and many in between.”

“This past fall, we launched our new strategic plan: In Front of What’s Ahead. Of the plan’s three commitments, the second is to commit to Truth and Reconciliation and pursue equity, diversity and inclusion in everything we do. Our work will begin with listening.

“Just this year, we have welcomed a Knowledge Keepers Council to help advise on our strategic initiatives, and we’ve welcomed Jamie Wilson as our Vice-President of Indigenous Strategy, Research and Business Development, which will increase our capacity for partnerships with Indigenous students, businesses and communities, and help further embed the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action and training.” Read More →