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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 →

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 →

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 →

RRC Polytech unveils artwork by KC Adams at opening of Roundhouse Auditorium

April 29, 2022

Today, RRC Polytech unveiled Anishinaabe/Nêhiyaw/British artist KC Adams’ Morning Star design — which is embedded within the floor of the College’s new Roundhouse Auditorium — at the official opening of the space at Manitou a bi Bii daziigae.

“KC Adams really captured what our College and this building represent,” says Fred Meier, President and CEO, RRC Polytech. “Not only did she so thoughtfully include distinct histories and cultures that are part of these lands, but she also integrated what type of learning will happen here. It pays homage to history, but it’s here in the present and looks to the future.”

Located on the second floor of Manitou a bi Bii daziigae, RRC Polytech’s newest building at the Exchange District Campus, the Roundhouse Auditorium is a 210-seat space that will be used for events, ceremonies and collaborative learning. It is sound-proof, ventilated for the use of traditional medicines, and features a curved, panoramic projector to display videos and create an immersive experience.

“This space brings together so many aspects of RRC Polytech’s guiding principles: transforming to meet emerging needs, committing to reconciliation and diversity, and deepening our partnerships to maximize prosperity,” says Meier.

“The uniqueness of the Roundhouse will create more opportunities to gather, innovate, collaborate and invite the wider community in. It’s spaces like this that set RRC Polytech apart and show we can be really proud of how our College continues to contribute to the changing landscape of the Exchange District, Winnipeg and Manitoba.” Read More →

RRC Polytech hosts first in-person Skills Manitoba competition since start of pandemic

April 19, 2022

For the first time since 2019, RRC Polytech will host the Skills Manitoba Provincial Competition, welcoming more than 110 post-secondary students to its Notre Dame Campus to compete in skilled trades and technology contests representing a range of industry sectors.

This year’s competition — which had to be postponed a few days due to last week’s spring storm — runs April 19–22. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, RRC Polytech had hosted the provincial competition on campus every year since 1998.

“We’re excited to have Skills Manitoba back on campus. It’s an incredible opportunity to showcase the talent that comes out of RRC Polytech and our partner institutions,” says Derek Kochenash, Dean, Skilled Trades and Technologies. “The event highlights how well our students are prepared for careers in the trades and allows them to show off their talents to their peers and industry professionals.”

Each year, the competition provides the opportunity for nearly 500 high school, post-secondary and apprenticeship students to compete in events that test skills required in trades and technology careers. (This year’s secondary-level competition for high school students remained virtual, and was held from April 4–14.) Contests are designed by provincial technical committees made up of industry professionals and educators.

“Skills Canada Manitoba is working to change the perception of skilled trades and emerging technologies,” says Maria Pacella, Executive Director, Skills Canada Manitoba. “The young people who participate in these competitions will be the workforce of tomorrow. As we emerge from this pandemic, we all need to work together to showcase the economic and social benefits of a skilled workforce.”

Winners of the provincial competition form Team Manitoba, and compete at the Skills Canada National Competition in Vancouver from May 25–28. Read More →

Morning Star installation grounds Manitou a bi Bii daziigae in Indigenous traditions

March 30, 2022

A stunning work of art embedded in the floor of the Roundhouse Auditorium at RRC Polytech’s new Manitou a bi Bii daziigae space honours Indigenous artistry and technology while highlighting its importance to our past, present and future.

Designed by prominent Anishinaabe/Nêhiyaw/British artist KC Adams, Morning Star incorporates traditional and emerging technologies in a space designed to bring people from a wide range of backgrounds together to learn and innovate. Manitou a bi Bii daziigae is home to RRC Polytech’s flagship business, information and technology programs.

Morning Star celebrates traditional Indigenous technologies such as birch bark, which Adams featured prominently in the design.

“Embracing technology is a part of who Indigenous people are and have always been,” she explains.

“Birch bark was used as a versatile technology for many tribal groups across North America for knowledge sharing, vessels, shelter, transportation, design, fuel and even sunglasses to prevent snow-blindness.”

Adams, who is based in Winnipeg, sourced the bark herself, then scanned and digitally altered it to fit the larger design. The bark is arranged in a pattern that represents new beginnings —  “the first star you see in the morning, the star that guides us.” Read More →

RRC Polytech honoured for heritage preservation of historic Scott Fruit Building

March 29, 2022

RRC Polytech proudly accepted a Heritage Conservation Award for its recently opened Manitou a bi Bii daziigae space at Heritage Winnipeg’s 36th annual Preservation Awards last Thursday. The award was received in partnership with Number TEN Architectural Group and recognizes the project team’s special effort to protect, conserve and reuse the historically designated Scott Fruit Building in its transformation of the Exchange District Campus.

“This award celebrates the spirit of innovation that bonds education and industry, leading to progress in any era,” says Lynn Zapshala-Kelln, Vice-President Finance and Administration at the College. “RRC Polytech is proud to extend the legacy of such an historic site, knowing its modernization will keep its entrepreneurial spirit alive while allowing us to achieve our commitments to constantly transform our learning model, strengthen academic pathways for students and deepen community partnerships.”

Located on Elgin Avenue, the 100,000-sq. ft. Manitou a bi Bii daziigae (shown above, under construction) was designed to look to the future while respecting the past. Adapting and upgrading the nearly 110-year-old Scott Fruit Building included restoration of the original wood and steel windows, the cleaning and repointing of the brick façade and incorporating historic elements in the interior design of the new space.

“The Scott Fruit Building’s longevity is a testament to the value of innovation,” says Zapshala-Kelln. “By protecting and celebrating its heritage status, Manitou a bi Bii daziigae provides our students and staff with a tangible link to our community’s rich history of visionary thinkers, who serve as their role models as they shape the next century of advancement.”

Built using the latest construction technology of concrete and steel in 1914, the Scott Fruit Warehouse was considered cutting-edge in architecture and appliance capability at the time, helping Winnipeg become the wholesale centre of Western Canada. Read More →

From here to chair: Ellowyn Nadeau becomes first woman to head Winnipeg Construction Association board

March 8, 2022

It’s an announcement 118 years in the making: in February, the Winnipeg Construction Association (WCA) named RRC Polytech instructor Ellowyn Nadeau the first woman board chair in its history.

“This is about women in general — it shows we have a place in this industry,” says Nadeau. “We’re finally achieving an understanding that women can contribute in this field, and we want to. It’s an honour and a privilege.

Nadeau has a long history in construction. She’s been a Construction Management instructor at RRC Polytech since 2015, a Supply Chain Management Professional since 2010, and a professional civil engineer since 2000. Engineering runs in her family — her dad was a mechanical engineering professor at the University of Manitoba — but for many women and girls, construction has not been considered a viable option.

“There weren’t a lot of women in the industry in the 1990s,” says Nadeau. “Even now, there are more women in offices than in the field. The field is less welcoming to women — you’re constantly transitioning from crew to crew, job to job, and you have to prove yourself every time. As an industry, we have to work on that.”

Proving herself is something Nadeau has done. She is past chair of Manitoba Women in Construction, a member of the Committee for Increasing Participation of Women in Engineering, and a member of PEO International, a philanthropic organization providing educational opportunities for women. She joined the WCA board in 2015.

“The WCA has been very supportive, respectful, open and encouraging,” says Nadeau. “This is a culmination of the last couple years, but it’s just the start.” Read More →

RRC Polytech launches $60M campaign: In Front of What’s Ahead

December 1, 2021

Red River College Polytechnic has officially launched the largest-ever campaign in the institution’s history.

To mark Giving Tuesday — a global generosity movement aimed at giving back to the community — RRC Polytech is calling on all Manitobans to support the institution’s commitment to providing students, partners and communities with programs, spaces and supports that put them ahead of the competition.

In Front of What’s Ahead is a $60-million comprehensive campaign that aligns with the College’s new five-year strategic plan and focuses on three priority areas of funding, informed through a broad stakeholder engagement process:

  • Enhance student life ($10 million)
    To position RRC Polytech as a first-choice institution for learners.
  • Transform our spaces ($40 million)
    To keep pace with the rate of change of our businesses and societies.
  • Amplifying our impact ($10 million)
    To attract instructors and researchers in tune with an ever-changing economy, and to better support our partners.

Meeting these priorities will better prepare RRC Polytech to embrace disruption to meet the needs of its students and community members — today and in the years ahead. With this support, RRC Polytech’s students will have access to learning spaces and state-of-the-art equipment that prepare them today for the workforce of tomorrow. They will have more opportunities to work with and learn from industry leaders and mentors. Students will have access to new pathways and programs that reduce barriers and allow learners to receive the appropriate supports needed to succeed.

“As Manitoba’s polytechnic, we have a responsibility to equip our students and partners with the skills, facilities, technology and pathways they need to get in front of a rapidly changing workforce,” says Fred Meier, RRC Polytech President and CEO.

“For more than 80 years, we have been anticipating the needs of industry and fulfilling the training gaps in communities across the province. As technology and the way we work continues to evolve, we’re asking all Manitobans to join us. Join us in creating opportunities for grads to contribute on day one, in creating access for entrepreneurs and businesses to bring their ideas to life, and in creating spaces for communities to flourish.” Read More →

RRC Polytech announces new name for Exchange District Campus expansion

November 10, 2021

Today, Red River College Polytechnic announced the new Anishinaabemowin (Ojibwe) name of its recently opened building at the Exchange District Campus.

Formerly known as the Innovation Centre project, the new building — now called Manitou a bi Bii daziigae, which translates to “Where Creator sits / Brings light” — officially opened its doors to the public.

As part of the festivities, the College’s Elders-in-Residence — Elder Paul Guimond, Okonace (Little Eagle Bone) from Sagkeeng First Nation, and Miss Una Swan, Black Eagle Woman, from Fisher River Cree Nation — held a pipe ceremony in the agora of the new 100,000 square-foot space to introduce the name to the community, bring spirit and life to the name, and honour traditional sacred ceremony.  

“We’re in a time of beautiful change to bring that light, that hope, and I think if we can bring the spirit of that name into that building, maybe we’ll be able to take that step ahead and walk with it,” said Guimond. “The new building is so unique. It’s powered by nature. Much like how we live, powered by nature and the sun. The sun is such a beautiful spirit: it brings warmth, it brings growth, it brings light, it brings hope. Without that sun there is no life. And if you look at the new building, it’s all powered by the sun. 

“It’s just a matter of now respecting it and giving it the name that it needs to guide that spirit. It’s a building, but it has spirit. It’s going to bring that positive spirit in the minds and the realm of all people. I think there’s an opportunity to give a name to something that’s going to give us life, that’s going to give us hope. And I hope that that name will serve its purpose, and I’m glad that opportunity is there.” Read More →