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Getting it done, at home: Winkler Campus allows RRC student to reach career goals

September 15, 2020

Suzy DueckAfter dropping out of high school to help support her family, Suzy Dueck didn’t think she’d be someone who could pursue a post-secondary education.

But next spring, she’ll graduate from Red River College’s Bachelor of Nursing program at the Winkler Campus. Having the accessible option to study and train in her home community — without needing to move or commute to Winnipeg — is what she says gave her the chance to do it.

In 2014, Dueck took the first steps to becoming a college student by enrolling at RRC’s Winkler Community Learning Centre (WCLC) to receive her high school diploma.

“The instructors were very supportive — and the fact that it was self-directed was helpful. The flexibility to be able to come during the day or during the evening — there was always somebody there to answer questions and help,” she says.

Not long after Dueck graduated from the WCLC, RRC announced it would be permanently delivering its Nursing program in Winkler and Portage la Prairie beginning in Fall 2018.

“I quickly applied and I got in,” she says. “I did my anatomy and physiology, psychology, stats, pretty much all of the prerequisites were available in Winkler, which was amazing.”

Now 31, Dueck had been working jobs in customer service, fitness and hospitality — which allowed her to make a positive impact on people’s daily lives — when her husband, Albert, planted the seed in her mind that she might enjoy being a nurse.

“I ended up working in a care home and I really fell in love with taking care of people and making a difference,” she says. “My husband is my biggest fan, he’s actually a firefighter and he feels very passionate about helping people. He’s the one that has been pushing me to do more — I feel like he’s my cheerleader and the person that nudges me to push myself beyond what I thought I could do.” Read More →

Dining options at PGI now open and ready to welcome guests

September 3, 2020

Back to school never tasted so sweet. Today, Red River College opened the doors to the Paterson GlobalFoods Institute for diners looking to experience the hospitality and culinary skills students have to offer.

Located in the heart of the Exchange District, Jane’s restaurant and the Culinary Exchange are officially open for business again. Students are excited to apply their learning, and offer guests the chance to taste the latest and greatest in upscale, urban cuisine.

With the fall academic term underway, these openings offer more than just a spot to enjoy fabulous food — they’re an important part of the learning process for Hospitality and Culinary Arts students as they practice and refine their skills.

“Red River College has always been a cornerstone in Winnipeg’s hospitality and culinary industry,” says Kirk Johnson, Dean, Hospitality and Culinary Arts. “We’re excited to be open for business again, and provide a range of delicious dining and meal options for our community.”

Both Jane’s and the Culinary Exchange closed their doors in March at the onset of COVID-19. Since then, the College has followed public health guidelines to implement a number of measures so guests can again enjoy the mouth-watering options students are serving up.

“Our renowned chefs and culinary students are busy cooking up a storm in these kitchens,” says Karen McDonald, Chair, School of Hospitality and Culinary Arts. “In addition, our hospitality students are ready and eager to welcome guests back inside these elegant and vibrant locations.”

While guests can expect the same top-notch cuisine, some things will look a little different in the wake of the pandemic. Anyone who visits one of these locations will be required to wear a non-medical face mask (except while eating), sanitize their hands upon entry, and follow all physical distancing or other guidelines that have been put in place. Read More →

New RRC president hits the ground running, with an eye to the future

September 3, 2020

Fred Meier has spent his first few weeks as Red River College’s president and CEO focused on making connections and building momentum towards a fall academic term unlike any other in the College’s 82-year history.

Adjusting to any new leadership role can be challenging enough. But taking the reins during a time of global upheaval and transformation amped up the need for Meier to make every minute count.

“I arrived on day one knowing I was joining an institution that has shaped the lives of many Manitobans and contributed a great deal to our province’s economy,” he says. “What I saw right away was a community of people who have innovated and adapted unbelievably fast to the COVID-19 pandemic in order to keep our students learning.”

Knowing how deeply students and industry partners depend on RRC for skilled training, workforce needs and applied research, Meier invited the Hon. Ralph Eichler, Minister of Economic Development and Training, on a tour of RRC’s Notre Dame Campus to highlight how the College has prepared its facilities to safely welcome back students for hands-on learning.

“The Minister told me he was impressed by the work we’ve done. I was impressed, too, by the ingenuity of our staff and students and their dedication to moving forward safely.”

Meier says that his leadership vision places a heavy premium on engaging employees, and on ensuring faculty and staff are listened to, valued and supported in their work.

At the end of August, he unveiled the College’s new online Staff Forum, a website designed for employees by employees to connect them with information, resources and collaboration tools quickly and easily.

“Strong internal communication and collaboration are the bedrock of our success as an organization. While this has always been true, the disruptions to our business by COVID-19 make employee engagement a higher priority than ever. Adopting new tools, technologies and strategies to share and learn from one another will continue to be near the top of my list.” Read More →

Students throughout Manitoba face pandemic head-on: Regional campuses committed to meeting industry demands

August 12, 2020

Much has been made over the last few months of the rapid changes, pivots and personal sacrifices made to minimize the impact of COVID-19-related disruptions on students at Red River College.

And while many of those changes relate to operations at RRC’s primary campuses in Winnipeg, the same measures were in play at regional campuses throughout the province, where for years staff and students have been rising to industry demands at a growing rate.

“We believe in thinking big,” says Dr. Christine Watson, Vice-President, Academic. “By continuing to innovate and keeping a focus on the future, RRC now has eight campuses across the province — each equipped with state-of-the-art facilities and knowledgeable, talented instructors. By listening to Manitoba’s communities, we are empowered to support industry growth, employ more Manitobans, strengthen our communities, and extend the standards of RRC educations, which our province has learned they can trust.”

As Watson explains, the College’s commitment to establishing roots in Manitoba communities accounts for a significant part of its overall identity and impact.

“We need to provide pathways to education and training that meet students where they are, and where they want to go,” she says. “For some, the ability to live, study and work in their hometown is essential.” Read More →

Safety top priority as College prepares for students, staff to return to campuses

August 5, 2020

With the Fall 2020 academic term just around the corner, Red River College offered an on-campus preview today of what students can expect when they return to school next month.

Attended by the Hon. Ralph Eichler, Minister of Economic Development and Training, today’s media tour showcased a number of applied learning activities currently taking place on the Notre Dame Campus, and highlighted new measures the College is taking to protect the safety of an increasing number of students and staff coming back to school.

RRC President Fred Meier says the College’s response to COVID-19 — and the quick pivot to online and blended learning this past spring — has positioned RRC to continue to meet industry needs and help drive Manitoba’s economic recovery.

“COVID-19 has handed our province an unprecedented set of challenges to overcome. I continue to be impressed by how organizations across all sectors have found innovative ways to meet those challenges head-on,” says Eichler (shown above, at left). “Red River College adapted quickly to support its students, made valuable contributions to our community efforts against COVID-19, and — thanks to hard work — prepared itself to play a vital role in Manitoba’s economic recovery.”

The tour provided a look at the catch-up, hands-on training currently underway at RRC’s Skilled Trades and Technology Centre, along with its Indigenous Culinary Skills, Dentistry and level four Carpentry programs, and a tour and demonstration by students in the new Medical Radiologic Technology lab.

While the majority of catch-up training is happening at the Notre Dame Campus, Culinary Arts students are equally busy at the Paterson GlobalFoods Institute. Earlier this summer, a number of the College’s regional campuses welcomed students back to complete hands-on learning to wrap up their studies, as well.

“Although we’ve been working incredibly hard since March to deliver our programs online, we’re very excited to have people moving through our halls, our labs, our offices and classrooms again,” says Meier (shown above, at right). “As Manitobans, we have managed the impacts of COVID-19 better than many other regions, and that — along with the tremendous leadership and hard work of our employees — has made it possible for us to continue preparing students for careers in industries that will need their knowledge and skills more than ever.” Read More →

Start your own side hustle with help from webinar or 12-week course

June 23, 2020

Red River College has partnered with The Maker’s Collective to offer Manitoba Side Hustles, a free webinar and paid course for beginner side-hustlers, freelancers or entrepreneurs, or anyone looking to turn their skills and passions into successful business ventures.

The free 90-minute webinar, Manitoba Side Hustles: Side Hustle Starter Kit, guides you step by step through the basics of getting your side hustle off the ground. You’ll hear from a panel of experienced side hustlers about their journeys, including local guest speakers who have walked the walk and are operating their own side hustles right here in Winnipeg. You’ll have the opportunity to ask questions and get coaching from the panel.

The paid 12-week course takes a more in-depth look into getting your side hustle off the ground. It offers a community to support, a template to follow and resources to help you set up your business and thrive in today’s economy.

The Maker’s Collective is a Canadian business development hub and community for creative entrepreneurs, side-hustlers, freelancers and makers.

FREE WEBINAR
Manitoba Side Hustles: Side Hustle Starter Kit

  • Wed., July 8, 2020
  • 7 to 8:30pm
  • Location: Online
  • Price: Free
  • Register now

COURSE
Manitoba Side Hustles: Side Hustle 101

  • Begins Thu., July 23; runs for 12 Thursdays
  • 7 to 9pm
  • Location: Online
  • Price: $179.97
  • Early Bird Price $134.97 (25% off) if you register by July 12
  • 10% discount for RRC alumni after July 12
  • Register now

C.P. Loewen Family Foundation donates $50,000 to help southeast Manitoba students affected by COVID-19

June 17, 2020

John Loewen, executive director, C.P. Loewen Family FoundationRed River College students in Manitoba’s southeast region who have been financially impacted by COVID-19 can apply for relief, thanks to a $50,000 donation from the C.P. Loewen Family Foundation.

The College will award 50 bursaries, valued at $1,000 each, to students living in southeast Manitoba who complete a general scholarship application form and include a one-page statement outlining financial hardships they’ve faced due to the pandemic.

“This contribution from the Loewen Foundation will have a tremendous impact,” says interim RRC President Dr. Christine Watson. “We know that students have been struggling, and receiving this bursary could make the difference in someone’s decision to continue with their studies in the next term.”

“Red River College is thankful for the donors, staff, alumni and community members that have stepped up over the last few months to ensure our impacted students receive the relief they need.”

John Loewen, executive director of the Foundation, says the decision to donate was easy, and that he knows the support will have an immediate impact on students’ lives, allowing them to focus on their goals in education and training.

“If you consider a foundation and endowment as a rainy-day fund, well, it’s raining right now,” says Loewen (shown above). “We were very impressed with how quickly the College moved to support its students, and looked to past donors who could redirect their support.” Read More →

College marks 10th year as one of Canada’s Greenest Employers

June 16, 2020

For the 10th year in a row, Red River College has been named one of Canada’s Greenest Employers. To mark the milestone, the College is inviting staff and the public to use their backyard gardens to “grow a row” to help those in need.

“Red River College takes to heart the belief that sustainability is a journey without a final destination,” says Sara MacArthur, Director of Campus Planning and Sustainability at RRC. “We’re proud of today’s recognition because it highlights not only the past year’s achievements, but our long-term commitment to a greener future. Our staff and students planted the seeds of our sustainability initiatives, nurtured them, expanded our garden — and now we see the results flourishing.”

“Growing a better, greener future is a high priority for the entire Red River College community,” says Melanie Gudmundson, Chief Human Resource Office. “Our achievements are a testament to the leadership of our Sustainability team, who engaged and focused the efforts of RRC staff, students and partners across eight campuses and over an entire decade. We couldn’t be more proud.”

This year’s award recognizes RRC’s environmentally friendly policies and programs, and staff engagement in wide-ranging sustainability efforts such as reducing waste and energy consumption, campus greening, composting programs, community maker markets, environmentally friendly building management, and sustainable transportation.

The College is inviting everyone to join in this commitment by literally growing a garden of their own. RRC is once again participating in Winnipeg Harvest’s annual Grow-a-Row project by planting vegetables in their on-campus garden and donating the harvest to Winnipeggers in need, including Red River College students. Read More →

Award-winning flavours and fava on the menu at Prairie Research Kitchen

June 15, 2020

Red River College’s Prairie Research Kitchen has won the Canadian Association of Research Administrators’ (CARA) Research Partnership Award, for its ongoing work with Manitoba food start-up Prairie Fava.

The award ceremony was originally scheduled to take place at CARA’s annual conference in Vancouver last month, though the conference was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Prairie Fava has been a great partner of ours since the beginning. Working with them has showcased our ability to bring a chef’s experience and perspective to applied research,” says Mavis McRae, Director of the Prairie Research Kitchen, which is RRC’s newest federally funded Technology Access Centre.

“We’re so grateful for their support, and thankful to have grown alongside each other over the years. It’s an honour to be recognized for this mutually beneficial relationship.”

Hailey and Cale Jefferies co-founded Prairie Fava in 2015 as a way to tie their family seed business, Jefferies Seeds, into a new venture that showcased the duo’s passion for healthy food with their existing knowledge and experience in agriculture. Prairie Fava was recently awarded the Start-Up of the Year Award at the 2019 Manitoba Chambers of Commerce Business Awards.

“I can’t emphasize enough how valuable the research and development work done by the Prairie Research Kitchen team is for a small company like ours,” says Hailey Jefferies (shown above), the company’s President. “They provide great expertise while being cost effective. We have appreciated being able to leverage the creative talents of RRC students to do both market research and great food photography. We have not been able to find this kind of diverse food research elsewhere.” Read More →

College to celebrate graduates with virtual convocation

June 11, 2020

Red River College will celebrate its 2020 graduates by hosting a virtual convocation. Graduates, along with their friends and families, can watch this special event on Tuesday, June 30 at 1 p.m., by visiting rrc.ca/convocation.

“Convocation is an important milestone for our students and the College community as a whole. The time and energy invested in acquiring a credential is worth celebrating,” says RRC’s interim President, Dr. Christine Watson. “We want to honour and acknowledge the accomplishments of our students and the support of their network. Even though it is not possible to cross the stage as we typically do, we’re excited about exploring a new way to recognize the hard work of our graduates.”

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the College made the difficult decision to postpone convocation ceremonies that were originally planned to occur in June. Even though official ceremonies have been postponed, eligible students will still graduate with a Red River College degree, diploma or certificate.

“Our graduates are going to achieve great things. While this celebration will look a little different than our usual ones, it was important to find a way to honour and celebrate our students,” says Anna Hughes, Director, Enrolment Services and Registrar.

The virtual celebration will feature messages from community leaders, dignitaries, alumni and senior leadership, and will honour outstanding achievements and special award recipients. It does not replace in-person convocation ceremonies, which will be rescheduled for a later time.

A convocation package including students’ parchments and other important pieces of information will be mailed to their home addresses in advance of the ceremony. Graduates are encouraged to watch the virtual celebration, wear their new RRC alumni pin, and share photos of their individual celebration by tagging @redrivercollege and #rrcalumni on social media. Read More →