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RRC students launch new ASL Club to sharpen signing skills

January 22, 2020

Eager to enhance their communication skills by gaining practice outside the classroom, students in Red River College’s Deaf Studies and American Sign Language — English Interpretation programs have teamed with Deaf students from other programs to launch a new ASL Club.

The club — which is open to all RRC students, Deaf or not — allows members to teach other new skills in a safe, welcoming and fun environment.

It borrows its acronym from American Sign Language, the most common method of communication used by Deaf people in North America, and the one currently being taught to a number of the students who comprise the club’s inaugural roster.

Evan Husack, a Social Innovation and Community Development student at RRC, was appointed leader of the club shortly after it formed. So far, Husack — one of two club co-founders who are themselves Deaf — says he’s pleased with how things are progressing.

“It’s been going really well and it’s a safe space for people to use their signs,” he says.

Husack (shown above, at left) believes it’s important that all RRC students who plan to work with or in the Deaf community join the club, as they stand to learn a lot of things that can’t be taught in a classroom.

“The biggest thing to really improve your skills is to socialize with the Deaf community, if you actually want to get better,” Husack says.

“Being able to socialize [and] meet real Deaf people, that’s where you develop your skills.”

The ASL Club meets every Wednesday from noon to one p.m., in room F314 at RRC’s Notre Dame Campus. Read More →

Holiday Hours at RRC

December 12, 2019

Red River College will be operating on restricted holiday hours, effective noon, Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2019.

During the break, general access to the Notre Dame and Exchange District Campuses will be limited to the following hours:

  • Dec. 24, 2019: Regular hours until 12:00pm, then closed for the remainder of the day
  • Dec. 25-26, 2019: Closed (no access)
  • Dec. 27-31, 2019: 8:00am to 4:00pm
  • Jan. 1, 2020: Closed (no access)

Regular hours of operation will resume at 7:00am on Thursday, Jan. 2, 2020.

Lab access at the Notre Dame and Exchange District Campuses during the above hours will be limited to the classroom labs listed below. Students who are in one of the designated labs prior to closure will be given a four-hour grace period (until 8:00pm) to complete their studies or project before being asked to leave. Read More →

Masonry master named Apprenticeship Manitoba’s Instructor of the Year

December 9, 2019

The office of Brian Gebhardt, a Masonry instructor at Red River College, is reminiscent of the classrooms adjacent to it: surrounded by projects and artwork made of bricks, with a layer of dust on every surface.

Gebhardt is everything one would expect from a mason — covered in the same dust that cakes his office, with calloused hands hardened from almost 45 years in the trade.

For 30 of those years, that dust has been a byproduct of his work at RRC, and this year he received the highest honour an apprenticeship instructor can achieve when he was named Instructor of the Year by Apprenticeship Manitoba.

Gebhardt doesn’t let a little dust bother him; after all, he’s been working with bricks since his first construction job right out of high school, where time spent watching and talking with masonry veterans sold him on the trade.

“They seemed to enjoy what they were doing, and wage-wise it was what I was looking for,” he says.

To get a foot in the door, Gebhardt cold-called as many masonry contractors as he could to ask for a job, which he eventually landed — through what he’s convinced was a real-life game of Telephone.

“I phoned them and said, ‘I want to be a bricklayer,’ and I think he thought I said, ‘I am a bricklayer.’ And he said, ‘Have your tools tomorrow at 1700 Taylor,’” Gebhardt recalls with a smile.

“I picked up some tools — I had none — and I showed up at the job.” Read More →

Price Family Foundation pledges $525,000 in student awards to RRC

November 27, 2019

Students in Red River College’s Engineering Technology programs now have the opportunity to earn life-changing scholarships, thanks to the generosity of local philanthropists Dr. Gerry and Barb Price.

Well-known for their altruism, the couple will donate $525,000 to RRC over the next five years. Their scholarships will reward high-achieving students by providing them with the financial support they need to minimize time spent in part-time jobs to pay for tuition, rent and other living costs.

The first award recipients will be recognized tonight at RRC’s Technology Awards dinner.

“If you can barely keep food on the table and have a part-time job just to survive, you might not be able to put the best effort into school,” says Dr. Gerry Price (shown above, second from right), chairman and CEO of the Price group of companies.

“High-achieving students need to put in long hours, but if you’re broke, you’re kind of in trouble because you need to eat and sleep too. We want these scholarships to provide more time for hardworking students to focus on their studies so they can end up being the best they can be.”

Through the Price Family Foundation, Gerry and Barb Price have been generous supporters of education, arts and culture, and health care. They already fund about 200 scholarships each year, with a focus on those who don’t always have champions — children, single mothers and families in distress. With today’s announcement, they’ll be supporting an additional 30 to 60 students each year.

“This is significant,” says Andrew Roncin, an instructor in RRC’s Electrical Engineering Technology program. “Up until now, our programs haven’t had as many available scholarships — but with this gift, about 10 per cent of our Electrical Engineering Technology students can receive some support each year.”

The Price Scholarships will be offered to students who are enrolled full-time in Electrical Engineering Technology, Mechanical Engineering Technology, Instrumentation and Control Engineering, and Manufacturing CAD, and have achieved a minimum GPA of 3.0 after their first year. Read More →

Ready, set, hire: Recruitment event connects industry with tomorrow’s business leaders

November 12, 2019

A bell rings, piercing the silence. In the South Gym at Red River College’s Notre Dame Campus, a nervous group of well-dressed students rise from their chairs and rustle towards a large group of tables — where their futures may await.

Seated at each table are recruiters from leading Manitoba companies, hoping to scope out RRC’s best and brightest at the sixth annual First Impressions Recruitment Event.

Over the next four hours, more than 500 interviews with 114 students take place here, each no more than 12 minutes long.

“That’s not a lot of time to wow, but our students always come prepared to impress,” says Kirk Johnson, RRC’s Dean of Business and Applied Art and Hospitality and Culinary Arts.

“We’re known for the calibre of our job-ready candidates, which is why so many employers come back here year after year.”

“(First Impressions) is probably the most successful recruiting event we have all year,” says Aida Rodrigues, a senior talent acquisition partner for CIBC, one of the companies attending the event.

“The students we speak with are all well-prepared for industry. The faculty here has lots to do with it. People who’ve worked in banking and finance know how to prepare students for success in positions like the ones we’re hiring for.”

First Impressions is open to all students in RRC’s Applied Accounting, Business Administration, and Commerce Industry Sales and Marketing programs. The companies they meet are all looking to fill paid, full- and part-time, entry-level/trainee positions and higher. Read More →

College feeds local economy with unveiling of new culinary research kitchen

November 7, 2019

Manitoba’s vital agriculture and food industry is getting another boost with today’s grand opening of Red River College’s Prairie Research Kitchen.

The new research facility brings food science, culinary arts and industry together on the eleventh floor of RRC’s Paterson GlobalFoods Institute. The kitchen supports industry growth through new product development and by providing culinary students with food science skills required by this crucial economic sector.

“The Prairie Research Kitchen supports the growth of our ever-important agriculture and food industry, and helps build on Manitoba’s protein advantage, which is one of our strategic priorities,” says Economic Development and Training Minister Ralph Eichler (shown above, at right, with interim RRC President Darin Brecht).

“The Province of Manitoba is pleased to have provided $1 million from Research Manitoba towards the construction of the research kitchen, as culinary research is an area of tremendous opportunity. It’s exciting to see the College’s research chefs put their skills and expertise to work creating food products that are not only good for our health, but are also good for Manitoba’s economy.”

Culinary instructor plating food, Prairie Research Kitchen

Food and feed processing is the largest manufacturing sub-industry in Manitoba, accounting for 26 per cent of manufacturing sales in 2018. Many of the companies working in this area are SMEs, and this is where the Prairie Research Kitchen comes in — working directly with small and medium-sized operations to help bring new ideas and products to life. Read More →

Passion for InfoSec propels BIT student down new career path

November 5, 2019

A Business Information Technology (BIT) student from Red River College has won a prestigious award from ISACA (formerly the Information Systems Audit and Control Association), which will provide her with a $2,000 scholarship and valuable industry connections as she steps into her new career.

Now in her second year, Melanie Par enrolled in the BIT program hoping to combine her background in criminology with her technical skills as a programmer, and quickly discovered a passion for the information security (InfoSec) community in Winnipeg.

“I’ve never been more excited for the future,” she says. “Winning this award has been a reaffirming experience to pursue a career in information technology.”

Par learned more about InfoSec by volunteering for The Long Con — a community-based information security conference — and as president of RRC’s ISACA student group.

Karen Kabel, an Information Security instructor at the College, launched the student group last year, making RRC one of only two post-secondary institutions in Canada to have an ISACA student chapter. Kabel has been a member of ISACA for more than 20 years and was the first female president in Winnipeg; she thinks Melanie could soon serve in the same role.

“Melanie is always the first one to volunteer to help with our ISACA student activities,” says Kabel. “She was key in helping putting on the group’s first information security student conference (at the ACE Project Space). She volunteers to make a difference in the security industry for other RRC students, which makes her deserving of this award and the advantages that come with it.” Read More →

Opportunities await: Students help streamline operations for employment aid organization

November 4, 2019

Red River College’s ACE Project Space is opening new doors for Equal Opportunities West.

An initiative of RRC’s Applied Computer Education (ACE) department, the ACE Project Space plays host to students working in conjunction with corporations, entrepreneurs and non-profits to bring business and project ideas to reality.

Students in the interactive workshop recently created an application for Equal Opportunities West (EOW) to automate its scheduling system. The organization provides support services to people with work barriers — such as physical and intellectual disabilities or mental health issues — to help secure competitive employment or start businesses of their own.

The non-profit also runs a day program for people with intellectual disabilities.

“We as an organization have expanded so much over the years,” says Susan Morgan, EOW’s executive director. “We really felt it was getting difficult to schedule everybody and get everything on paper. Just physically keeping track of everybody was becoming a daunting task.”

“We had an idea for an app. We heard about the ACE program and we went down to meet with them and they certainly thought it was something they could help with. I had looked at these canned apps, but they were mostly for the restaurant industry. There are lots of good scheduling apps out there, but nothing quite as in-depth and comprehensive as what we needed.” Read More →

Campuses to go smoke-free in 2020

October 22, 2019

No smoking/no vaping symbolRed River College is “butting out” starting Jan. 1, 2020, when smoking and vaping will no longer be permitted at any of its campuses across the province.

The new policy is part of the College’s commitment to provide a healthy environment for its students, employees and visitors — one where they can work, learn, study and live.

RRC is one of Manitoba’s largest institutes of applied learning, and the province’s largest trainer of health-care professionals. It’s also consistently ranked as one of Manitoba’s top employers, and one of the greenest.

“We’re proud of these distinctions, and with that pride comes a responsibility to show leadership and set an example by putting an end to smoking and vaping everywhere on campus,” says Melanie Gudmundson, RRC’s Chief Human Resources Officer.

“We all share the same air. By adopting a 100% smoke-free policy, we’re eliminating exposure to second-hand smoke on campus that is known to be detrimental to people’s health, and contributes to local air pollution.”

The policy applies to all members of the College community, including students, staff and faculty.  Visitors to campus, including visiting instructors, prospective students, contractors and external clients, will also be prohibited from smoking on RRC property.

The College is making smoking cessation programs and resources available at no cost all members of its community through its Health Centre.

Exemptions to the policy will be granted to RRC community members who practice smudging and pipe ceremonies on campus. Red River College will also provide accommodation for the medical use of cannabis on campus in accordance with applicable legislation and policy.

To learn more about RRC’s smoke-free policy, visit rrc.ca/smokefree.

Better angels: RRC students partner with non-profit providing support to grieving families

October 21, 2019

Red River College’s ACE Project Space has been touched by an angel.

An initiative of RRC’s Applied Computer Education (ACE) department, the ACE Project Space plays host to students working in conjunction with corporations, entrepreneurs and non-profits to bring business and project ideas to reality.

This past summer, students in the interactive workshop created an application for Manitoba Angel Dresses to digitize its inventory system. Manitoba Angel Dresses is a non-profit organization that provides families who are grieving the loss of an infant with items crafted from donated bridal and bridesmaid gowns.

Diane Monkman, a spokeswoman for the organization, says the students and staff at RRC were very supportive of the project.

“The College was so helpful, so open and so accepting of the project,” Monkman says. “It can be very hard to start a conversation saying what we do, because a lot of people shy away from that, but it’s a needed service.”

“One instructor at the College, he just touched us so immensely. We had brought the items in one day so the students could see exactly what they’re doing. One of the instructors, it touched him so much that he got a little bit emotional.” Read More →