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Red River College and New Media Manitoba offer first-of-its-kind Queer Coded youth summer camp

July 15, 2021

Calling all rainbow gamers interested in learning game development and new skills!

Red River College and New Media Manitoba are launching a Queer Coded youth summer camp — the first-of-its-kind to be offered by the two organizations. The camp will be taught by 2SLGBTQIA industry professionals and allies in a safe and supportive environment, with the goal to open more doors for interested youth and diversify this growing industry in Manitoba.

“With the expansion project of our Exchange District Campus opening this fall, and the exponential growth of the digital and tech sectors in Manitoba, we know the demand for diverse and skilled grads in areas like game development, interaction design and development, and film production will continue,” says Dr. Christine Watson, RRC’s Vice-President, Academic and Research.

“Red River College is committed to fostering an environment where all individuals are and feel welcomed, respected, safe and supported in their ideas, perspectives and participation. We are proud to offer a series of camps and provide opportunities to open our doors, virtually, to invite future students on campus and expose them to these growing industries in a fun, safe and inclusive way.”

Youth with a passion or talent for drawing, writing, animation, music or programming are all welcome to this virtual youth camp that will give participants an opportunity to meet and work with peers, create art and tell interactive stories in their own way.

The camp will be offered virtually over two weeks. The first week of the camp will focus on character design, what works and what doesn’t work (exploring favourite games and genres), storytelling, and creating sprites and backgrounds. In the second week, participants will learn about implementing characters and backgrounds into a story with mechanics using a game engine, creating narrative games and/or visual novels, and using a visual game creator. Read More →

Going green: College launches Energy Advisor program to support sustainable energy efforts

July 13, 2021

Female energy advisor takes outdoor meter reading.Red River College, in collaboration with the Manitoba Environmental Industries Association (MEIA), is the first post-secondary institution in the province to launch an Energy Advisor program.

The 15-week, part-time micro-credential program was developed to meet the need for Energy Advisors (EAs) to help deliver the one million EnerGuide rating services for eligible homes in Canada, as per the federal government’s Greener Homes initiative.

With the roll-out of the government’s Greener Home initiative and the nation-wide shortage of EAs, there’s an increased demand for specialized training, and in turn an immediate opportunity for employment for skilled labourers in Manitoba.

“The Energy Advisor micro-credential program was created to address and meet industry demands,” says Dr. Christine Watson, RRC’s Vice President, Academic and Research. “By leveraging the in-house expertise at RRC’s dynamic research facilities — including the Building Efficiency Technology Access Centre (BETAC) — along with our partners at MEIA, we’re delivering specialized skills training to prepare Manitobans for immediate employment in the growing sector of sustainable infrastructure.”

The micro-credential courses are targeted for Manitobans currently working in the fields of construction, trades or engineering, to provide necessary up-skilling. The program was designed to help learners acquire the knowledge and specialized skills to get certified as an EA and pass the Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) federal examination.

Once NRCan-certified, EAs can also add other NRCan services to their qualification, including EnerGuide for Multi-Unit Residential Buildings and ENERGY STAR for New Homes. Read More →

Library Services’ Warm Up Week recognized by American Library Association

June 21, 2021

Red River College Library Services’ Warm Up Week is one of five projects to receive the 2021 American Library Association (ALA) Presidential Citation for Innovative International Library Projects.

Warm Up Week was developed by RRC Library Services, in partnership with College stakeholders, to provide support and mental health services for RRC students. The event was conceived to address the many challenges the pandemic has posed to post-secondary institutions, including students’ experiences adapting to changes in course delivery, staying connected with their peers and instructors, and obtaining mental health and academic supports from home.

For 500 RRC students, the Winter 2021 semester was delayed by one week to hold the first-ever Warm Up Week, Jan. 4 to 8. The week-long event gave faculty time to pivot to online program delivery and provided students with a supportive online environment to develop co-curricular and academic skills, helping ensure their success heading into the winter semester.

“To address challenges the pandemic has added to students’ academic experience, the College continues to develop innovative solutions to support our students,” says Arnold Boldt, Executive Director, Academic. “Warm Up Week is an important initiative that addresses mental health concerns while also boosting students’ confidence and preparedness in their educational journeys.”

The event consisted of seminars, workshops, help desks and self-guided learning opportunities. Some of the Warm Up sessions included: Technology Skills for Online Success, Online Learning Strategies, and Intercultural Competence.

Partnerships with the School of Indigenous Education, Mental Health and Wellness, the Centre for International Education and Global Partnerships, Employment Services and the RRC Students’ Association provided access to additional supports such as Indigenous Elder drop-ins, resumé-writing workshops, mindfulness sessions, and more. Read More →

Business Administration grads named 2021 Lieutenant Governor’s Medal recipients

June 18, 2021

Every year, Red River College awards up to four Lieutenant Governor’s Medal awards to graduating students who excel in academic and technical achievement, involvement in College and/or community activities, and good character.

This year, Red River College is proud to award two winners who embodied every aspect of the award:

RRC grad Laura Dyer with certificateLAURA DYER: Business Administration – Marketing

The COVID-19 pandemic and the transition to online learning was a challenge for many students — Laura Dyer included. Throughout the last 15 months, Dyer remained committed to her studies – completing her final exams with a cumulative GPA of 4.23, and to her community throughout her academic journey.

Community involvement has always been important to Dyer. She has been a volunteer with Motion Ball for Special Olympics and Larche Winnipeg, organizations supporting individuals with intellectual disabilities, for three years. She describes these volunteer experiences as life-changing because of the selfless and kind people she has had the honour to develop relationships with.

She is also an active member of the RRC community, participating on both the women’s soccer and futsal teams.

Recognizing the challenges the COVID-19 pandemic was having on people’s mental and physical health, she volunteered her time as an online fitness instructor five days a week to provide home workout videos to individuals in the community.

Dyer is described by her nominators as an ambitious, motivated, enthusiastic leader, and an “outstanding performer with a shining personality.”

RRC grad Sadie Tait with certificateSADIE TAIT: Business Administration – Accounting

After a successful career working as an insurance broker, Sadie Tait was ready for the next challenge and enrolled in the program at RRC’s Portage la Prairie Campus.

In her first year in the program, Tait excelled — achieving perfect scores on several exams and tutoring her peers. When the College transitioned to online learning as a result of the pandemic, Sadie maintained her high grades and transferred to the Steinbach Campus for her final year to pursue an accounting major.

The summer before her final year, she learned she was pregnant with her first son. She maintained her grades and worked hard to complete her program online, and she and her husband welcomed him into the world two weeks before she completed her final exams in April 2021.

While completing her studies, Tait served as an elected councillor for the Municipality of North Norfolk, worked part-time, and volunteered for several organizations in her community, including the MacGregor and District Kinette Club, the MacGregor-Austin Senior Support Program, the MacGregor Curling Club, and the MacGregor Chamber of Commerce.

She received five glowing letters of recommendation in support of her nomination, describing her as a leader, professional, hard-working and an essential asset to her community.

Canadian Animal Blood Bank celebrates 25 years; partnership with RRC thrives

May 25, 2021

From skilled trades to health sciences, Red River College’s Notre Dame Campus (NDC) is home to a wide variety of growing talents. What many might not know is that, in a quiet corner of the campus’s mall level, dogs have been giving blood and saving lives for a quarter century.

The Campus is home to the Canadian Animal Blood Bank (CABB), an organization launched in Winnipeg that’s become the national leader in collecting and distributing life-saving canine blood donations to veterinary clinics across the country. This year, CABB celebrates its 25th anniversary.

“We have a really swanky lab here, considering we basically started in a closet,” says Beth Knight, CABB laboratory director and RRC grad, with a laugh.

“It was a storage space and it’s phenomenal how we’ve grown. For that, Canadian Animal Blood Bank can never thank Red River College enough for what they’ve done for us, because they give us a roof over our head, a phone, computers, a parking lot, access to a space — the gift they’ve given can never be totally appreciated.”

CABB was started in 1996 as the brainchild of Dr. Ken Mould, a Winnipeg-based veterinarian who saw the need in Canada for canine blood banking, instead of requiring vets to travel to the U.S. border for dated, substandard product. Since the organization’s beginning, when they worked with just a few local veterinary clinics in Manitoba, they’ve expanded into several provinces.

“We’ve grown from one or two clinics to where we are now, with multiple sites across Canada that collect. We have Alberta, Ontario, Montreal — and we’ve recently started looking at expanding into the Atlantic provinces,” says Isabel Bright, current CABB board member and Dean of RRC’s School of Indigenous Education.

As the former Chair of Life Sciences (2011-2021), Bright has seen first-hand how the relationship between RRC and CABB has helped foster that growth, and goes a lot deeper than just brick and mortar. The clinic at NDC is a pragmatic learning opportunity for those in the College’s Veterinary Technician program.

“Students have an opportunity to volunteer and to learn about transfusion medicine from the experts at the blood bank,” says Bright. “There are also some conferences that we’ve shared together so students have an opportunity to learn and hear from experts in different parts of the country for the latest in blood banking and transfusion medicine.”

Read More →

Colleges partner to deliver workforce training in goods movement and supply chain sector

May 4, 2021

Four colleges from across Canada have partnered to support economic recovery in their regions through the launch of a new industry training program in the supply chain sector, funded by the Future Skills Centre and developed by Mohawk College’s City School initiative.

Nova Scotia Community College, Mohawk College, Red River College and Vancouver Community College have partnered to deliver the Material Handling 4.0 pilot program, designed to help people transition into careers in the supply chain sector.

The program builds upon the successful training model used by City School in Hamilton, combining industry-driven training, individualized student support and practical work experience to provide comprehensive training services to people who face barriers to employment and education.

Upon completion of the program, participants receive a micro-credential and employment services to help them successfully transition into long-term, stable employment.

The Material Handling 4.0 pilot program will provide participants with six weeks of industry-specific instruction and a two-week paid work placement, complete with wraparound supports such as child care, all required PPE and supplies for work safety, and referrals to support services (legal clinics, housing, health, etc.).

This program will provide training for 243 people across the four participating colleges. Mohawk begins its first local cohort of the program today, and the partner colleges will launch their cohorts starting in Fall 2021.

Future Skills Centre (FSC) announced an initial investment of $1.95 million in the first phase of the program at Mohawk College in 2020 to develop and establish the program in the Hamilton area. Today, it is announcing an additional $1.1 million to expand the program to the three additional communities across Canada.

“As we continue to recover from COVID-19, our government is helping jobseekers upskill and re-skill to fill in demand jobs. Mohawk College’s Material Handling 4.0 project is helping workers transition into new job opportunities within the supply chain sector,” says Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion. “Further investments through the Future Skills Centre will allow new partnerships to expand the project’s reach and continue this important work.” Read More →

Have laptop, will travel: New virtual projects turning RRC students into global citizens

May 3, 2021

The Government of Canada has chosen Red River College to take part in an innovative pilot project aimed at getting more students involved in international exchange opportunities, especially students facing barriers to working and studying abroad.

The Outbound Student Mobility Program, designed and administered by Colleges and Institutes Canada (CiCan), was launched last year to provide more Indigenous students, students with disabilities, and students facing financial need with opportunities to expand their perspectives and apply the global competencies they gain abroad to the careers they pursue back home.

At least, that was the plan.

Since then, the COVID-19 pandemic has added a new challenge to the mix: accomplish all of the above, but without the need to physically fly students across borders.

Raeanne Hebert, a Business Information Technology (BIT) instructor at RRC, was about to travel to Brazil to help develop an exchange program there when the pandemic struck, halting the program in its tracks. However, development funding from the Outbound Mobility project gave her the opportunity to pivot the geographic exchange into a virtual one.

That initiative is now well underway: for the past three months, students in RRC’s BIT program have been connecting online with computer engineering students from the Federal Institute of Ceará (IFCE) to develop solutions for local entrepreneurs, including IT for a drone that delivers pesticides, a fitness and nutrition app, and an energy metering device for a power monitoring dashboard. They’ve completed three projects together so far.

“Students from both countries connect in RRC’s virtual Project Space and program together online for about four hours a day,” says Hebert. “They’ve been learning a lot from one another.”

Hebert says international exchanges — virtual or physical — are critical to opening students’ eyes to other cultures and ways of life, to breaking down stereotypes, and to strengthening relationships and connections.

They’re also vital to fostering innovation.

“When it comes to the future of IT, innovation is 1,000 per cent important. Exchanges like these help our students learn how other countries do things. They teach us innovative solutions to the problems we all face.” Read More →

Innovation Centre to feature new-to-North America sustainable solar energy technology

April 22, 2021

Red River College is leading the way in the use of solar energy-conducting technology, providing opportunities for students and local construction firms to grow their skillsets.

Next week, electrical and building envelope crews will begin the installation of approximately 400 Kromatix Building Integrated Photovoltaics (BIPVs) — the first of their kind in North America — along the exterior façade of the Innovation Centre, currently under construction in Winnipeg’s Exchange District.

“We’re proud to be the first institution in North America to welcome this sustainable technology — it’s only fitting that it’s installed on a building designed to cultivate and foster innovative ideas,” says RRC President Fred Meier.

“This is just one example of how RRC puts its values of sustainability into action, and demonstrates to our students there is always a better way of doing things, so long as you are open to new ideas and have the courage to ask, ‘How can we make this work?’”

Diagram illustrating Kromatix technologyDeveloped by SwissINSO, Kromatix is an opaque glass — colour-treated without the use of paint or tint — that is layered over the solar, thermal and electrical components of each panel. The technology results in aesthetically impactful panels that are optimized for solar energy generation.

When combined with the building’s 138 rooftop panels, the glass will allow the College to offset energy consumption by about 193Mwh/year, enough to power 18.5 average-sized homes for the same amount of time.

Diamond Schmitt Architects and Number TEN Architectural Group, who worked in tandem to design the new building, sourced the innovative product from Denmark. Using a procurement method called design-assist, subcontractors were brought into the project before the design was complete to ensure the vision was functional and achievable.

“It was really important for us to work with local tradespeople for the installation of the panels,” says Frank Koreman, Project Manager at Akman Construction Ltd.

“Working with local trades to learn and install the panels means we have the technology here in Winnipeg, and it can be passed along and shared for future projects. The teams working on this project are loaded with RRC grads, so it comes full-circle to have been taught in school and then bring back new technology for an RRC project.” Read More →

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 →