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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.”

Read More →

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 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 →

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 →

RRC Polytech team finishes first in Sprint to Innovate challenge

May 5, 2022

RRC Polytech proudly owned the podium at the Sprint to Innovate Challenge last month, as teams representing the College won three of four available cash prizes.

Six Business Technology Management students teamed up as the North Latin Friends and outraced their peers to the finish line in the biannual 48-hour student innovation challenge, presented by the City of Winnipeg and held in cooperation with industry partners, the University of Manitoba and Tech Manitoba.

“Sprint to Innovate is a fun event that cultivates relationships between students and allows them to display technical and creative skills to potential employers,” says Dr. Jonathan Ziprick, Applied Computer Education instructor at RRC Polytech. “It’s a great opportunity for students to learn and practice the innovation process that is used for solving problems in industry.”

In Sprint to Innovate, industry partners provide real businesses challenges for student teams, who must choose an issue to tackle, work with a mentor to develop innovative business solutions over the course of a weekend, and then pitch their ideas to overcome the challenge to a panel of judges.

The competition requires teamwork, creativity and communication, and encourages participants to push the boundaries of conventional wisdom.

“The breadth of ideas, pragmatic approaches and workable solutions that students come up with in such a short period of time is impressive,” says Tyler Gooch, Director of Innovation & Technology for the City of Winnipeg. “As judges, it was difficult to select a winner because all the groups presented well-reasoned conclusions. In the end, we decided to reward a team that attacked their problem from a unique angle, forgoing obvious technology-based solutions to focus on a social innovation.”

With members hailing from Mexico, Peru, Argentina, Cuba and Ecuador, a cultural connection brought the North Latin Friends together as a team, and their shared experiences as new citizens inspired their response to the challenge — put forth by the City of Winnipeg — of how to encourage engagement and increase voter participation for the 2022 municipal election. Read More →

Mockups and lockups: Manufacturing student creates new covers for on-campus bike lockers

May 4, 2022

You can’t make something from nothing. Unless you’re in manufacturing — then you can come pretty close.

Just ask Ryan Ross, a CNC Machining and Advanced Technology student who created durable weatherproof covers for RRC Polytech’s bike lockers.

“In the beginning I had nothing to work with,” says Ross (shown, at right). “It all started with hours of CAD (computer aided design) to get an initial shape and feel for the part. Once I measured (the lockers), I realized my design fit quite comfortably and my second iteration was adapted to use the measurements.”

After he 3D-printed his designs and confirmed they were functional, it was time to research the right material for the job. Another challenge: using something he had not worked with before.

“For the past two years I’ve learned to be a machinist — to work with metals. To be in a project with virtually no machining and work with a different material entirely … it was definitely a bit of a culture shock,” says Ross. “It taught me a lot about the plastics manufacturing industry — it really shows you that even the simplest plastic piece has a lot of meticulous steps to perfecting the process.”

Ross chose to make the parts out of two pieces of polyurethane resin, as it’s tough, resistant to moisture and chemicals, and can be mixed with UV-resistant additives to boost life expectancy against the sun.

“I wanted to make something that was elegant and simple, but portrayed the College’s pride and grace through a single act of production,” says Ross. “It was hard to conceptualize in the beginning, but I got input from many instructors and fellow classmates and was able to finalize the design.” 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 →