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 →

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 →

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.

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 →

WOW! Hospitality’s Doug Stephen receives Honorary Diploma in Hospitality and Tourism Management

February 24, 2022

For more than 40 years, Doug Stephen, founder of WOW! Hospitality Concepts, has been an integral part of the Winnipeg dining and hospitality sector, bringing smiles and building memories for thousands of people each year.

He’s also provided countless opportunities for RRC Polytech students to gain hands-on industry training and experience, making him a particularly fitting recipient of the College’s honorary diploma in Hospitality and Tourism Management

“RRC Polytech is proud to recognize the many contributions Doug Stephen has made to the dining and hospitality sector, as well as the education of future culinary, hospitality and tourism leaders in our province,” says Fred Meier, President and CEO of RRC Polytech.

“There’s an ideal we aspire to as a polytechnic institution, which is to match in-class know-how with the highest quality of work-integrated learning available. That’s because we believe our students deserve the very best — just as Doug Stephen believes Winnipeggers deserve the very best in their dining and hospitality experiences.”

Born in Dauphin, Stephen showed early signs of entrepreneurial leanings. At age 14, he was managing a fleet of Winnipeg Free Press carriers in Clear Lake. A year later, a chance meeting with the owner of Clear Lake’s pizza parlor saw him learning to cook and quickly taking over management duties at the restaurant.

After high school, Stephen came to Winnipeg to pursue his science degree at university, intending to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a physician. While enrolled, he worked as a server at the Old Spaghetti Factory (OSF). After completing his studies, he took a break year and never really looked back, leaving Winnipeg to gain hospitality training and experience in Toronto, Los Angeles, St. Louis and Ottawa, before returning to take over OSF and Brandy’s in 1980.

“I am so honoured that RRC Polytech has decided that I have given back and that I have contributed to the community,” Stephen says.

“It took a lot of work and perhaps some mistakes along the way. I have been very, very lucky because I’ve done what I have loved my entire life. Along the way I’ve had some great mentors and wonderful opportunities.” Read More →

RRC Polytech supports Bell Let’s Talk Day as part of commitment to mental health

January 26, 2022

As part of its ongoing commitment to prioritize and promote mental health and well-being, RRC Polytech is encouraging staff, students and community members to take pause and participate in Bell Let’s Talk Day 2022.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly impacted all of our lives. In this time, it is critical that we continue to prioritize, and further expand, RRC Polytech’s mental health and well-being initiatives,” says Fred Meier, President and CEO at RRC Polytech. “Bell Let’s Talk aligns with RRC Polytech’s objective to cultivate an environment of support that provides well-being, belonging, connectedness and positive mental health for our entire community.  RRC Polytech is proud to join the Bell Let’s Talk campaign and support expanded and enhanced mental health initiatives in Manitoba.”

As part of its strategic plan for 2022–2026, the College is creating a culture that supports the mental health and well-being of students, staff and faculty. Building on the strength of the Healthy Minds, Healthy College strategy launched in 2014, the College recently unveiled its new Campus Well-Being unit, which strives to take a more holistic approach to physical and mental health, with the goal of benefitting even more people by providing opportunities to connect through sport, recreation and wellness-based activities.

In developing the unit’s mandate and guiding principles, RRC Polytech used as a foundational guide the National Standard for Mental Health and Well-Being for Post-Secondary Students, a document developed by the Mental Health Commission of Canada and Canadian Standards Association Group, with financial support from Bell Let’s Talk.

Additionally, a generous donation from Bell’s Post-Secondary fund is helping RRC Polytech implement this national standard, with funding being used to help the Campus Well-Being unit work with students to co-design a peer support program.

“Bell’s commitment to student mental health is an ongoing priority, especially as students continue to be impacted by the effects of the pandemic,” says Mary Deacon, Chair of Bell Let’s Talk. “We are proud to continue our support of post-secondary institutions’ efforts to expand, enhance or establish programs that support student mental health and well-being, and ultimately student success.”

Today, RRC Polytech will host a live virtual workshop at 12 p.m. for students, staff and faculty that will include short film viewings and a discussion about ways to open up conversations about mental health and wellness. Read More →

RRC Polytech welcomes Knowledge Keepers Council to further Truth and Reconciliation commitments

January 13, 2022

Red River College Polytechnic is proud to welcome its first Knowledge Keepers Council.

Allen Sutherland, Barbara Bruce, Albert McLeod and Martha Peet will join Elders-in-Residence Paul Guimond and Una Swan to provide guidance and diverse Indigenous perspectives throughout RRC Polytech’s work to embed truth and reconciliation.

Earlier this fall, RRC Polytech released its 2022-2026 Strategic Plan, In Front of What’s Ahead. The second of the plan’s three commitments is to commit to Truth and Reconciliation by pursuing equity, diversity and inclusion in everything the College does.

“Our needs for consultation and engagement are expanding as we work towards advancing truth and reconciliation and embedding Indigenous perspectives across RRC Polytech. This is a vital piece of ensuring we are on the right track, that we are being intentional,” says Fred Meier, President and CEO, RRC Polytech.

“We are so fortunate to have such esteemed and respected Elders and Knowledge Keepers joining together to support strategic planning and execution across our organization, which will impact all areas, from academic programs and culturally appropriate supports to applied research, fostering relationships with Indigenous communities and businesses, and being a prominent workplace in Manitoba. I look forward to seeing this group strengthen the efforts outlined in our new Strategic Plan.”

The new Council will advise senior leadership on strategic initiatives as the College responds to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s 94 Calls to Action. The formation of the Council also aligns with the Commission’s principal number seven to support reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples, which states the perspectives and understanding of Indigenous Elders and Traditional Knowledge Keepers of the ethics, concepts and practices of reconciliation are vital to long-term reconciliation.

“One of the most beautiful things about Indigenous cultures is that they are so diverse and there is an understanding of value and respect, despite different customs, traditions and languages,” says Carla Kematch, Director, Truth and Reconciliation at RRC Polytech.

“Within this Knowledge Keepers Council, we have individuals who are proud Cree, Inuit, Métis, Dakota, Oji-Cree, Ojibway and Two Spirit. It’s very inclusive, and each brings a lifetime’s worth of knowledge, teachings and experiences. We need to hear these voices as we move forward and make decisions. 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 →