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New Healthy Minds Healthy College Strategy released; learn more at online forum on April 9

March 31, 2021

Red River College is pleased to share that its new Healthy Minds Healthy (HMHC) College Strategy: A Roadmap for Action 2021-2025 has been approved and endorsed by Senior Leadership and the HMHC Steering Committee — who serve as a catalyst for moving this important work forward — and will carry the College forward for the next five years.

Many staff and students across the College have had opportunities to participate in wellness events and initiatives organized by HMHC — from therapy dogs to paint nights to presentations by guest speakers such as Jordin Tootoo (shown above). If the last year has taught us anything, it’s that supporting healthy minds and creating a healthy College community is so much more than the fun and visible events we enjoy on campus.

“The goal of Healthy Minds Healthy College is to promote an environment of support that provides a sense of well-being, belonging, connectedness and positive mental health for all students, faculty and staff,” says RRC President Fred Meier.

“We know that personal well-being supports academic and career success, and our personal well-being is often affected by the conditions in which we learn and work. Our HMHC Strategy: Roadmap for Action recognizes the strengths that are currently in place at RRC, while providing a path forward to guide the work that remains.”

While this work was underway prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, recent events have created new and different stressors, bringing mental health to the forefront of many people’s minds. Further, there is a risk of an “echo pandemic” of poor mental health, caused by widespread social and economic disruption.

The HMHC Strategy acknowledges the need to take a community-wide, systemic approach to promoting well-being. We have built in strategies to promote mental health and well-being amongst all community members, identified additional strategies to support those with concerns about coping, and outlined priorities to support individuals experiencing mental illness or crisis.

“Our HMHC Strategy focuses not only on building individual coping skills and encouraging help-seeking behaviour, but takes a systemic approach, aiming to create interpersonal and organizational conditions that foster positive mental health,” says Breanna Sawatzky, Mental Health Coordinator at RRC.

“The current strengths and future priorities highlighted in the Roadmap for Action do not belong to one College department or division, as we recognize that becoming a health-promoting institution requires organization-wide collaboration. Students, staff and faculty members all contributed to the creation of this Roadmap, including the selection of priorities.”

To learn more about the HMHC Strategy: Roadmap for Action and RRC’s immediate priorities, please join Sawatzky for: State of Mind: A Community Exchange on Friday, April 9, from 1–2 p.m. This interactive forum will include a short presentation highlighting key aspects of the strategy, followed by discussion.

Manitoba Metis Federation increases support for Métis students at RRC

March 10, 2021

Red River College has been able to support more Métis students in need, thanks to an additional donation by the Manitoba Metis Federation (MMF) and the Louis Riel Institute (LRI).

The Louis Riel Bursaries are available to any full- or part-time RRC students requiring financial assistance who hold citizenship (or are eligible for citizenship) with the Métis Nation. Since 2014, the bursaries have helped 174 Métis students achieve academic success.

The MMF’s donation has been matched by the Manitoba Scholarship and Bursary Initiative (MSBI), making more than $400,000 available and enabling the College to support more than 80 students who have applied for this year’s bursary

“This generous donation comes at a pivotal time for many students,” says RRC President Fred Meier. “The immediate assistance makes a direct impact on the lives of students who are working hard towards completing their education, but may be struggling due to COVID-19 or other factors. A bursary can be a critical support and the motivation a student needs to keep going and focus on training for their future career.”

Meara Grant, a fourth-year student in RRC’s Bachelor of Nursing program, received the bursary this year and said it was a huge relief.

“I have been struggling to pay my bills and manage good grades throughout school, especially with times like these,” she says. “This support has taken a tremendous amount of stress off of my shoulders. It has allowed me to focus more time on my clinical placement, and pursue my dreams as a nurse.”

Grant will be completing her senior practicum in the Selkirk Regional Health Centre’s emergency department next month. After graduation, she plans to work as a nurse for a few years before returning to school to obtain her Masters of Nursing and become a Nurse Practitioner.

“Education is so important for our Nation’s growth and prosperity,” says MMF President David Chartrand. “The Métis government in Manitoba has worked hard to get to a place where we can provide our youth with the necessary funding for their education, so they have the chance to find meaningful work and achieve greater financial security.”

Since establishing the bursaries, the MMF and LRI have provided $800,000 to Métis students at RRC as part of the mission to advance education and training for Metis people in Manitoba, and to foster an understanding and appreciation of the culture, heritage and history of the province and its Métis people. Read More →

RRC partners with province to build rapid-testing capacity to protect Manitobans

December 16, 2020

Red River College has partnered with the provincial government to launch a new micro-credential that will build a skilled workforce to support Manitoba’s rapid-test strategy for COVID-19, Premier Brian Pallister and RRC President Fred Meier announced today.

“Our government’s number one priority in the face of this pandemic is to protect Manitobans and halt the spread of this deadly virus,” says Pallister. “With the launch of this new micro-credential, Manitoba will be well positioned to support the creation of targeted rapid testing initiatives to protect our front-line workers and the Manitobans they care for.”

The premier noted the province will launch a dedicated COVID-19 rapid testing service pilot for teachers in Winnipeg in the new year, which will help support the health and wellness of Manitoba’s school communities.

Students of the new RRC course will learn how to use best practices in testing performance for COVID-19 and the technical skills needed to support the launch of a Fast Pass rapid testing pilot for teachers in the new year. Participants of the free micro-credential can expect six hours of theory and a five-hour lab component, totalling 11 hours of instruction, conducted over five days.

“Our government is committed to partnering with industry leaders like Red River College to create made-in-Manitoba solutions that will help save lives,” says Pallister. “While vaccinations are beginning in Manitoba for targeted groups, we must continue to stick to the fundamentals and stay home to support our health-care and front-line workers at this crucial time in our fight against COVID-19.”

The first cohort of the RRC course is expected to start in early January, and will focus on skills needed to use the Songbird Hyris bCUBE and other rapid tests. The program is being offered free to eligible applicants with a foundation in science and/or working in a laboratory setting, including:

  • medical laboratory assistants or technicians with laboratory-related work experience
  • graduates of a science or chemical and biosciences technology program
  • graduates of a pharmaceutical manufacturing program
  • graduates with a bachelor of science degree with a major or minor in biology, biochemistry, biomedical sciences, chemistry, microbiology or zoology Read More →

College and province launch new micro-credential course for COVID-19 immunizers

December 10, 2020

As part of its plan to protect Manitobans against COVID-19, the province has partnered with Red River College to ensure people who will administer the COVID-19 vaccine have the opportunity to upgrade or extend their skills with a new micro-credential, Premier Brian Pallister and RRC President Fred Meier announced today.

“This micro-credential will help us rapidly activate the people we need — including retired health care workers, students and others with a critical baseline of knowledge and skills — as an integral part of our vaccine campaign,” says Pallister.

“We must be ready to ramp up our response as more doses of the COVID-19 vaccine arrive, so we can protect our neighbours and loved ones as quickly as possible. Manitoba’s health-care workers are already an integral part of the COVID-19 response and we are looking for more people to step forward and join Team Manitoba. This new micro-credential will help ensure those hired to administer the vaccine can upgrade their skills if they need it, so they can be ready to vaccinate safely and quickly.”

“Our college community has stepped-up in the fight against COVID-19,” says Meier. “They’ve met the challenges this pandemic has given us head on, worked around the clock, and found new and innovative ways to adapt and deliver our programs, while creating immediate, urgent, short bursts of training to keep Manitobans safe.

“That work won’t stop, and we will continue to leverage our skill and expertise to support our health-care providers — many of whom are RRC grads — who are on the front lines of this pandemic every day.”

Yesterday, the province issued an order under the Regulated Health Professions Act (vaccination administration) to expand the types of regulated professions that can administer the COVID-19 vaccine in Manitoba. The new micro-credential will help ensure they can properly administer the COVID-19 vaccine and help immunize Manitobans.

The eight-hour course, offered at no cost, includes an online portion as well as an in-person lab. Course participants will learn about the virus, become familiar with safe COVID-19 vaccine procedures, learn about immunization and related anatomy, and understand best practices when vaccinating clients. Read More →

Province launches new training and recruitment initiatives to support disability services sector

November 30, 2020

The Manitoba government is introducing new training and recruitment initiatives to help ensure agencies that serve individuals with disabilities have adequate staff, while also creating employment opportunities for job-seekers, Families Minister Heather Stefanson announced today.

This work is part of the government’s broader plans to help  protect vulnerable Manitobans during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The pandemic has put a serious strain on agencies that provide services and supports to Manitobans with disabilities, so we are introducing new initiatives to help bridge that gap on an urgent basis,” says Stefanson. “Today we are highlighting our plans to better protect Manitobans with disabilities by launching an online employment platform that will match eligible service providers with available positions. This will be supported by a recruitment campaign, as well as a new online training program that will help prepare workers for rewarding positions throughout Manitoba in disability services.”

There are more than 70 community-based agencies in Manitoba that provide residential care to adults with intellectual disabilities. They are experiencing significant staffing challenges related to COVID-19 and require immediate support to ensure they can continue to provide compassionate care to their clients.

The province is partnering with Manitoba Possible (formerly the Society for Manitobans with Disabilities) and their online platform, called envoyy, to connect agencies with job-seekers who have appropriate training and skills. The Manitoba government is providing $68,000 to strengthen envoyy with better technical support, customer service and related demands over the next six months. The province will also be expediting adult and child abuse registry checks for applicants to ensure they can be safely employed. Read More →

RRC grads working on frontlines critical to pandemic response

November 26, 2020

Polytechnic graduates have been critical to Canada’s pandemic response. Two Red River College grads are proving just that in Polytechnics Canada’s Faces of the Frontline video series.

Red River College is Manitoba’s only polytechnic, offering hands-on and applied learning to prepare students for the industries that await them outside campus doors. Faces of the Frontline features two RRC grads working in non-traditional frontline industries: Allison Enns (Architectural/Engineering Technology, 2017 and Construction Management, 2019) and Chad Corbett (Hospitality and Tourism Management, 2014).

“We’re always proud of our grads, but especially now as we see so many of them rising to the challenges the pandemic brings,” says RRC President Fred Meier. “Construction and hospitality may not be the first industries that come to mind when you think of the frontline, but our grads are here to show you how crucial they are to our safety and economy.”

Enns is a site coordinator at Akman Construction and Corbett is the co-owner and vice-president, operations at Block & Blade Restaurant and Bar. As frontline workers, both Enns and Corbett had to respond quickly at the onset of COVID-19 and have continued to adjust the ways in which they work to stay operational, while keeping Manitobans safe.

RRC grad Allison EnnsIn their video features, Enns and Corbett are quick to describe how their education at RRC prepared them to step up when Manitobans needed them most. Watch Enns’ feature here, and Corbett’s feature here.

“When the pandemic began, our member institutions and their graduates really stepped up,” says Sarah Watts-Rynard, CEO at Polytechnics Canada. “It was clear from the beginning that a large majority of Canada’s essential workers came from institutions offering applied, hands-on programs.

“Polytechnic institutions like Red River College don’t simply prepare grads for real-world working environments, they embed tangible skills and confidence in their students, preparing them to make a real and immediate impact. Faces of the Frontline highlights the important work our institutions and their graduates are doing during the pandemic, and we’re proud to include Red River College grads in this campaign.”

Red River College thanks all front-line workers for their vital efforts during the pandemic. RRC continues to educate and train the next generation of professionals who will keep our people safe and our economies strong.

College hosts dialogue on anti-racism in higher education

November 23, 2020

Racism continues to lurk in college classrooms and decision-making tables, but there are steps we can take as organizations and individuals to make our campuses safer and more welcoming for all members of our community.

That was the resounding takeaway from last Wednesday’s virtual platform discussion, Anti-Racism: A Dialogue about Transforming Higher Education, hosted by RRC and the Red River College Students’ Association. (You can watch a recording of the event here.)

Over 300 RRC students and staff participated in the online event. The discussion was led by panelists from across the country who brought diverse experiences, insights and perspectives to a lively and wide-ranging conversation about what post-secondary institutions — and the people who work and study there — can do to combat racism.

The large turnout reflected a high level of commitment to anti-racism as acts of intolerance and hatred continue to rise around the world, says Melanie Gudmundson, Chief Human Resources Officer at RRC.

“We’ve done a lot as a college to create policies and initiatives that protect and support the diversity of our students and staff, because that diversity — and the different points of view it brings to our College — are one of our greatest strengths. Our goal for this event is to hear some of those voices and inspire further, concrete action. There is still much work to do. The number of people who turned out for the event shows how high a priority this is for our community as a whole.”

Conversations about racism are never easy, she adds, but they’re essential to creating space for change.

“We may not know how to start the conversation, or what to say, but silence is not an option.”

Priyanji Mediwake, RRC’s Diversity and Inclusion Specialist and one of the event’s organizers, says some of these actions are already underway, including the recent launch of a new Equity, Diversity and Inclusion strategy, and recruitment plans to ensure greater diversity at the College and BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour) representation among senior, mid-level and front-line leaders.

“RRC’s new Diversity Champions team, which includes staff and faculty representation from each School and Department across the College, is another first step to enhancing conversations and actions.”

Leading the panel were Eternity Martis, an award-winning Toronto-based journalist; Jason Mercredi, whose work helps rebuild Indigenous governance systems; and Zilla Jones, a Winnipeg criminal defense lawyer who specializes in challenging abuses of police authority. Read More →

New training program launched to address workforce challenges at personal care homes

November 20, 2020

The Manitoba government and Red River College are partnering to support resident care in personal care homes during the pandemic through the launch of a COVID-19 health-care support worker micro-credential, Health, Seniors and Active Living Minister Cameron Friesen announced yesterday.

“Ensuring the appropriate care and support is available to residents of Manitoba personal care homes is a top priority as we see the strain that COVID-19 is placing on personal care home workforce,” said Friesen. “We must do everything possible to ensure we have staff to support the care needs of residents in our long-term care homes. This requires an immediate increase in the available workforce and this new training program addresses this goal.”

The College will offer a week-long condensed, high-intensity training program that will train students to work as uncertified health-care aides (UHCAs) and create immediate employment opportunities for Manitobans, including students currently enrolled in a health sciences faculty or program.

These workers will support all members of the resident care team, assisting with resident care and support under the general supervision of a manager or nursing supervisor. Duties may include resident observation, companionship, redirection, stocking of supplies and more.

“As part of our continued efforts, we’ve established a Rapid Execution and Deployment Team that will continue to create new and innovative solutions to offer our expertise, facilities and network of campuses to support all Manitobans in response to COVID-19,” said RRC President Fred Meier.

“I am proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish to aid in our provincial response, and I want to commend our staff, faculty and instructors for continuing to step up and support our communities.”

The course will include a combination of virtual and in-class education, and consists of five days of theory offered virtually and two days of in-person skills education. Starting Nov. 30, it will be offered to students in Winnipeg, Selkirk, Steinbach, Winkler and Portage la Prairie, with opportunities to offer the course in additional communities in rural and northern Manitoba being explored.

Eligible students must be over the age of 18 and possess a minimum of a Grade 10 education. Experience in direct care is not a pre-requisite, and the course is being offered tuition-free with a commitment to provide service in a personal care home for a period of three months following completion.

Interested individuals must apply to the COVID-19 casual pool and select the location where they prefer to complete the training. The deadline to apply for the first intake of students is Monday, Nov. 23. Read More →

Elder Mae Louise Campbell awarded honorary diploma for lifetime of advocacy

November 18, 2020

Elder Mae Louise CampbellElder Mae Louise Campbell is a healer, teacher, grandmother and advocate who has made it her life’s work to support and strengthen Indigenous women — both individually and collectively.

Today, Red River College is proud to recognize her contributions to the community by awarding her an Honorary Diploma in Indigenous Social Enterprise, with a focus on Community Development and Social Innovation.

“In an organization as large as Red River College, it’s special to find someone who is known, respected and beloved by an entire community, and Elder Mae Louise is all of those things,” said RRC President Fred Meier.

“During her 14 years with the College, she was invited by all 110 academic program areas to conduct and lead countless workshops, ceremonies and teachings. She is known and celebrated for her stories that underscore the importance of harmony, respect and resilience.

“Elder Mae Louise’s leadership has left an indelible mark on the College and the province of Manitoba, and we are pleased to award her this honorary diploma and recognize her important contributions.”

Cambpell’s knowledge and experience have been embraced by many. Her life lessons and unique ability to educate and share knowledge around Indigenous worldviews — creating dialogue outside of textbooks — has been imperative to both Indigenous and non-Indigenous members of the community.

She has been an instrumental figure supporting many initiatives and committees, both nationally and across Manitoba, including: Grandmother Moon Lodge, Clan Mothers Healing Village and Knowledge Centre, the Mayor’s Indigenous Advisory Circle, the Grandmothers Council of Manitoba (as a Wisdom Keeper), and the First Nations Advisory Committee to Canada’s Prenatal Nutritional Program. She served as an Elder and advisor for the Canadian Women’s Foundation on matters concerning the sexual exploitation and human trafficking of women and girls, and was the recipient of the 2016 Indspire Award in the category of Culture, Heritage and Spirituality.

The College announced and presented Campbell’s Honorary Diploma yesterday at the first ever Virtual Fall Convocation ceremony, during which more than 900 graduates from every RRC campus celebrated the milestone achievement. Read More →

College’s COVID-19 micro-credential training in high demand

October 23, 2020

Today, Red River College and the Manitoba government announced three additional intakes to the COVID-19 micro-credential to further expand testing efforts in Winnipeg, with plans already underway to offer training opportunities to health-care professionals in specific areas of rural Manitoba.

“The health and safety of Manitobans remains our top priority as we continue to expand our efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19 within our community,” says Health, Seniors and Active Living Minister Cameron Friesen.

“Increasing testing is key as we work to reduce wait times and improve access for all Manitobans, and this includes an adaptive and highly skilled workforce. Through this partnership with Red River College, we are training additional health-care workers to immediately redeploy to screening centres where their assistance is helping to reduce wait times and provide better service.”

The micro-credential, which trains health-care workers and students to safely perform a nasal swab on adults and children to collect samples to test for the virus, was announced earlier this month and is in high demand. In less than 24 hours, RRC filled the first three sections, while maintaining a wait-list of nearly 120 students.

The three additional intakes announced today will be offered weekly — with the first beginning on Nov. 9 — and will run until Nov. 27. These new sections are already filling quickly and RRC is on track to train over 180 health-care professionals and students to safely perform sample collections at authorized COVID-19 test sites, further supporting testing efforts in the province.

The first group of students, who started the course on Monday, will complete their training today and will be ready to enter the workforce as early as next week. Read More →