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More than 100 Bachelor of Nursing grads join Manitoba’s front lines

December 17, 2020

Bachelor of Nursing pinToday, 109 graduates from Red River College’s Bachelor of Nursing program will receive their nursing pins at a special Virtual Pinning Ceremony, marking the completion of their degrees and the beginning of their careers as they join Manitoba’s front lines.

“Red River College is proud to train and prepare our health-care professionals with the skills and expertise they need to successfully enter the workforce, and provide the critical health human resources that our province needs now more than ever,” says Dr. Christine Watson, RRC’s Vice-President Academic.

“The Bachelor of Nursing students receiving their pins today have risen to every challenge this pandemic has thrown their way. They have demonstrated they are ready to put their training into action, to help those who need them most, and to make a real difference. We are thrilled to celebrate their hard work and dedication with this special virtual celebration.”

The pinning ceremony is an important ceremonial milestone for new nurses that dates back to the 12th century. It is often associated with Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing, who presented medals of excellence to the nursing graduates of her London school. The presentation of the nursing pin to graduates celebrates their success as students and the promise of their future in the profession.

This year has proven to be especially challenging for Nursing grads, many of whom have had to complete their senior practicums while working on the front lines in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“For as long as I can remember, I’ve always known that I wanted to be a nurse. Helping others and caring for patients is something that I care deeply about, so I knew this would never be just a job for me — it would be something I would commit my life to,” says Lauren Lacroix, RRC Bachelor of Nursing graduate, class of 2020.

“Completing nursing school isn’t easy — you have to learn to adapt, to prioritize and work under pressure — and this has been especially true this year while working to complete our practicums in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Receiving our pins today symbolizes the fact that we did it, and on those really hard days it serves as an important reminder of everything we have overcome to get here, and of our commitment to make a difference in the lives of the patients we care for.” Read More →

RRC partners with province to build rapid-testing capacity to protect Manitobans

December 16, 2020

Red River College has partnered with the provincial government to launch a new micro-credential that will build a skilled workforce to support Manitoba’s rapid-test strategy for COVID-19, Premier Brian Pallister and RRC President Fred Meier announced today.

“Our government’s number one priority in the face of this pandemic is to protect Manitobans and halt the spread of this deadly virus,” says Pallister. “With the launch of this new micro-credential, Manitoba will be well positioned to support the creation of targeted rapid testing initiatives to protect our front-line workers and the Manitobans they care for.”

The premier noted the province will launch a dedicated COVID-19 rapid testing service pilot for teachers in Winnipeg in the new year, which will help support the health and wellness of Manitoba’s school communities.

Students of the new RRC course will learn how to use best practices in testing performance for COVID-19 and the technical skills needed to support the launch of a Fast Pass rapid testing pilot for teachers in the new year. Participants of the free micro-credential can expect six hours of theory and a five-hour lab component, totalling 11 hours of instruction, conducted over five days.

“Our government is committed to partnering with industry leaders like Red River College to create made-in-Manitoba solutions that will help save lives,” says Pallister. “While vaccinations are beginning in Manitoba for targeted groups, we must continue to stick to the fundamentals and stay home to support our health-care and front-line workers at this crucial time in our fight against COVID-19.”

The first cohort of the RRC course is expected to start in early January, and will focus on skills needed to use the Songbird Hyris bCUBE and other rapid tests. The program is being offered free to eligible applicants with a foundation in science and/or working in a laboratory setting, including:

  • medical laboratory assistants or technicians with laboratory-related work experience
  • graduates of a science or chemical and biosciences technology program
  • graduates of a pharmaceutical manufacturing program
  • graduates with a bachelor of science degree with a major or minor in biology, biochemistry, biomedical sciences, chemistry, microbiology or zoology Read More →

Robots, rapid prototyping and R&D: College’s applied research enterprise ranks among Canada’s best

December 15, 2020

Red River College is one of Canada’s top five research institutions, as announced today by Re$earch Infosource in their annual ranking of the country’s top 50 research colleges.

The list saw RRC, Manitoba’s only polytechnic, jump nine spots from its placement at 14th last year. This is the highest the College has placed since coming in second in 2011.

“Red River College is a world-class institution that makes significant impacts to applied research every day, thanks to industry-driven partnerships and projects,” says RRC President Fred Meier. “Our research enterprise has been making a difference for more than 15 years, and this recognition is a testament to the contributions of our hard-working staff, students and faculty.”

Today’s announcement recognizes RRC’s work during the 2018/19 fiscal year, during which the College completed 105 research projects and employed 37 students for work that falls within the College’s four main research areas: advanced design and manufacturing, clean technology, digital technologies, and health, nutrition and social sciences.

Key projects include an ongoing partnership with Prairie Fava, a start-up business based out of Glenboro, Manitoba that promotes fava flour as a protein-rich gluten alternative; supporting Manitoba’s aerospace and manufacturing sector with an expanding fleet of “cobots” or collaborative robots; and helping to launch the “Genome 360” project with Genome Canada and a network of partners, with the goal of building a hub for genomics and phenomics capabilities in Manitoba.

The news comes on the heels of RRC’s recent silver win at the World Federation of Colleges and Polytechnics (WFCP) Awards of Excellence, held in a virtual ceremony on Nov. 29.

“Our work in applied research has an immediate impact and is needed now more than ever,” says Meier. “Being recognized on a national and international level not only reinforces our continued success, but recognizes the immense talent and expertise that we have at the College. Our ongoing collaboration with business and industry means that we’re solving problems and creating new and innovative solutions every day, and I invite industry to come work with us to experience first-hand what we have to offer. Read More →

RRC grads, staff members offer shop-local options for the holiday season

December 11, 2020

‘Tis the season to shop local, and this year, Red River College is proud to share a number of ways the community can support our diverse network of alumni creators, entrepreneurs and innovators.

“Red River College’s alumni community has been creative and resilient throughout this pandemic,” says Katrina Sklepowich, RRC’s Alumni Engagement Officer.

“Alumni business owners continue to raise the bar with ingenious solutions to our new living and working conditions. There are many COVID heroes in our community and we want to thank them for all that they do to keep us safe and healthy, and to keep our economy going. One of the best ways we can show our support for the important work they do is to shop local this holiday season.”

With the current provincial Code Red restrictions, many of our favourite local businesses have had to close up shop and move online where possible, and many holiday market opportunities have been cancelled. These businesses have had to adapt to a new way of doing business and identify creative and innovative solutions to sell their products and services in a safe way.

For the last two years, the Sustainability team and Alumni Engagement have hosted a day-long, Made by RRC Winter Market, where talented alumni, staff and student makers sell their wares and promote their business to the College community.

The event is always well-attended by both makers and shoppers looking for the perfect gift for the special people in their lives.

This year, since we can’t gather physically for the event, the College has compiled a list of alumni and makers who participate in the Winter Market each year, so we can continue to support these businesses this holiday season.

“As a College, we  host several farmers’ and makers markets throughout the year to give staff and students opportunities to participate in low- to no-waste shopping options, as these vendors typically use less packaging on their products and with less travel, they carry a lower carbon footprint,” says Sara MacArthur, Director of Campus Planning and Sustainability at RRC.

“While the pandemic has been challenging in a number of ways, it has also provided a valuable learning opportunity for us to think more critically about the purchases we make and the impact they have on the environment and the economy. We are proud once again to support our talented local artisans and alumni and encourage the College community to shop local this holiday season.”

Made by RRC Alumni and Artisans:

Are you an RRC alumni member and business owner? If you’d like to connect with us about future opportunities for collaboration, email alumni@rrc.ca.

College and province launch new micro-credential course for COVID-19 immunizers

December 10, 2020

As part of its plan to protect Manitobans against COVID-19, the province has partnered with Red River College to ensure people who will administer the COVID-19 vaccine have the opportunity to upgrade or extend their skills with a new micro-credential, Premier Brian Pallister and RRC President Fred Meier announced today.

“This micro-credential will help us rapidly activate the people we need — including retired health care workers, students and others with a critical baseline of knowledge and skills — as an integral part of our vaccine campaign,” says Pallister.

“We must be ready to ramp up our response as more doses of the COVID-19 vaccine arrive, so we can protect our neighbours and loved ones as quickly as possible. Manitoba’s health-care workers are already an integral part of the COVID-19 response and we are looking for more people to step forward and join Team Manitoba. This new micro-credential will help ensure those hired to administer the vaccine can upgrade their skills if they need it, so they can be ready to vaccinate safely and quickly.”

“Our college community has stepped-up in the fight against COVID-19,” says Meier. “They’ve met the challenges this pandemic has given us head on, worked around the clock, and found new and innovative ways to adapt and deliver our programs, while creating immediate, urgent, short bursts of training to keep Manitobans safe.

“That work won’t stop, and we will continue to leverage our skill and expertise to support our health-care providers — many of whom are RRC grads — who are on the front lines of this pandemic every day.”

Yesterday, the province issued an order under the Regulated Health Professions Act (vaccination administration) to expand the types of regulated professions that can administer the COVID-19 vaccine in Manitoba. The new micro-credential will help ensure they can properly administer the COVID-19 vaccine and help immunize Manitobans.

The eight-hour course, offered at no cost, includes an online portion as well as an in-person lab. Course participants will learn about the virus, become familiar with safe COVID-19 vaccine procedures, learn about immunization and related anatomy, and understand best practices when vaccinating clients. Read More →

Province launches new training and recruitment initiatives to support disability services sector

November 30, 2020

The Manitoba government is introducing new training and recruitment initiatives to help ensure agencies that serve individuals with disabilities have adequate staff, while also creating employment opportunities for job-seekers, Families Minister Heather Stefanson announced today.

This work is part of the government’s broader plans to help  protect vulnerable Manitobans during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The pandemic has put a serious strain on agencies that provide services and supports to Manitobans with disabilities, so we are introducing new initiatives to help bridge that gap on an urgent basis,” says Stefanson. “Today we are highlighting our plans to better protect Manitobans with disabilities by launching an online employment platform that will match eligible service providers with available positions. This will be supported by a recruitment campaign, as well as a new online training program that will help prepare workers for rewarding positions throughout Manitoba in disability services.”

There are more than 70 community-based agencies in Manitoba that provide residential care to adults with intellectual disabilities. They are experiencing significant staffing challenges related to COVID-19 and require immediate support to ensure they can continue to provide compassionate care to their clients.

The province is partnering with Manitoba Possible (formerly the Society for Manitobans with Disabilities) and their online platform, called envoyy, to connect agencies with job-seekers who have appropriate training and skills. The Manitoba government is providing $68,000 to strengthen envoyy with better technical support, customer service and related demands over the next six months. The province will also be expediting adult and child abuse registry checks for applicants to ensure they can be safely employed. Read More →

RRC grads working on frontlines critical to pandemic response

November 26, 2020

Polytechnic graduates have been critical to Canada’s pandemic response. Two Red River College grads are proving just that in Polytechnics Canada’s Faces of the Frontline video series.

Red River College is Manitoba’s only polytechnic, offering hands-on and applied learning to prepare students for the industries that await them outside campus doors. Faces of the Frontline features two RRC grads working in non-traditional frontline industries: Allison Enns (Architectural/Engineering Technology, 2017 and Construction Management, 2019) and Chad Corbett (Hospitality and Tourism Management, 2014).

“We’re always proud of our grads, but especially now as we see so many of them rising to the challenges the pandemic brings,” says RRC President Fred Meier. “Construction and hospitality may not be the first industries that come to mind when you think of the frontline, but our grads are here to show you how crucial they are to our safety and economy.”

Enns is a site coordinator at Akman Construction and Corbett is the co-owner and vice-president, operations at Block & Blade Restaurant and Bar. As frontline workers, both Enns and Corbett had to respond quickly at the onset of COVID-19 and have continued to adjust the ways in which they work to stay operational, while keeping Manitobans safe.

RRC grad Allison EnnsIn their video features, Enns and Corbett are quick to describe how their education at RRC prepared them to step up when Manitobans needed them most. Watch Enns’ feature here, and Corbett’s feature here.

“When the pandemic began, our member institutions and their graduates really stepped up,” says Sarah Watts-Rynard, CEO at Polytechnics Canada. “It was clear from the beginning that a large majority of Canada’s essential workers came from institutions offering applied, hands-on programs.

“Polytechnic institutions like Red River College don’t simply prepare grads for real-world working environments, they embed tangible skills and confidence in their students, preparing them to make a real and immediate impact. Faces of the Frontline highlights the important work our institutions and their graduates are doing during the pandemic, and we’re proud to include Red River College grads in this campaign.”

Red River College thanks all front-line workers for their vital efforts during the pandemic. RRC continues to educate and train the next generation of professionals who will keep our people safe and our economies strong.

College hosts dialogue on anti-racism in higher education

November 23, 2020

Racism continues to lurk in college classrooms and decision-making tables, but there are steps we can take as organizations and individuals to make our campuses safer and more welcoming for all members of our community.

That was the resounding takeaway from last Wednesday’s virtual platform discussion, Anti-Racism: A Dialogue about Transforming Higher Education, hosted by RRC and the Red River College Students’ Association. (You can watch a recording of the event here.)

Over 300 RRC students and staff participated in the online event. The discussion was led by panelists from across the country who brought diverse experiences, insights and perspectives to a lively and wide-ranging conversation about what post-secondary institutions — and the people who work and study there — can do to combat racism.

The large turnout reflected a high level of commitment to anti-racism as acts of intolerance and hatred continue to rise around the world, says Melanie Gudmundson, Chief Human Resources Officer at RRC.

“We’ve done a lot as a college to create policies and initiatives that protect and support the diversity of our students and staff, because that diversity — and the different points of view it brings to our College — are one of our greatest strengths. Our goal for this event is to hear some of those voices and inspire further, concrete action. There is still much work to do. The number of people who turned out for the event shows how high a priority this is for our community as a whole.”

Conversations about racism are never easy, she adds, but they’re essential to creating space for change.

“We may not know how to start the conversation, or what to say, but silence is not an option.”

Priyanji Mediwake, RRC’s Diversity and Inclusion Specialist and one of the event’s organizers, says some of these actions are already underway, including the recent launch of a new Equity, Diversity and Inclusion strategy, and recruitment plans to ensure greater diversity at the College and BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour) representation among senior, mid-level and front-line leaders.

“RRC’s new Diversity Champions team, which includes staff and faculty representation from each School and Department across the College, is another first step to enhancing conversations and actions.”

Leading the panel were Eternity Martis, an award-winning Toronto-based journalist; Jason Mercredi, whose work helps rebuild Indigenous governance systems; and Zilla Jones, a Winnipeg criminal defense lawyer who specializes in challenging abuses of police authority. Read More →

New partnership with First Nations groups results in program to enhance health care in remote communities

November 20, 2020

Red River College, Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak Inc. (MKO) and Keewatinohk Inniniw Minoayawin Inc. (KIM) have partnered to deliver a new modular training program that will bring tailored education and career opportunities to northern Manitoba First Nations communities, while transforming the future of health care in the north.

Two years ago, the First Nations Inuit Health Branch (FNIHB) approached RRC to create a solution to address an important gap in the north. Together, FNIHB, MKO/KIM and RRC designed the Diagnostic Support Worker Applied Certificate program to enhance accessibility to health-care services for remote First Nations communities.

The program, offered as four micro-credentials, will prepare students to practice diagnostic support skills as knowledgeable, competent and caring professionals. Focused in the community, the inaugural cohort that started on Nov. 2 will have the opportunity to learn and practice clinical skills closer to home. The program is completely sponsored by MKO/KIM.

“This program will make a considerable difference in creating a sustainable health-care network within northern Manitoba,” says RRC President Fred Meier. “Micro-credentials lend us much more agility, so we can really design education to respond to a specific need. It gives us a glimpse of the potential — as nursing stations in communities advance, so too can our training.

“It’s important that we, as a post-secondary institution, recognize the need to listen to the community, and respond to that need so we can be successful when creating new programs. This is a great example of how we foster relationships that seek to fill the gaps that exist within Indigenous communities.”

As Dr. Barry Lavallee, newly appointed CEO of Keewatinohk Inniniw Minoayawin Inc., explains, First Nations leaders have long been asserting the need for trained health-care professionals from within their own communities.

“The DSW program is one of many programs we are working to co-create that will support local workforce development through education and job creation, and in fact is one of the key transformative objectives of MKO and KIM,” Lavallee says.

After extensive consultation and surveying, FNIHB and MKO/KIM identified a need in First Nations communities to train local residents to work in community nursing stations, armed with a set of specific skills. Community outreach revealed that there would be a pool of prospective students interested in the program. Read More →

New training program launched to address workforce challenges at personal care homes

November 20, 2020

The Manitoba government and Red River College are partnering to support resident care in personal care homes during the pandemic through the launch of a COVID-19 health-care support worker micro-credential, Health, Seniors and Active Living Minister Cameron Friesen announced yesterday.

“Ensuring the appropriate care and support is available to residents of Manitoba personal care homes is a top priority as we see the strain that COVID-19 is placing on personal care home workforce,” said Friesen. “We must do everything possible to ensure we have staff to support the care needs of residents in our long-term care homes. This requires an immediate increase in the available workforce and this new training program addresses this goal.”

The College will offer a week-long condensed, high-intensity training program that will train students to work as uncertified health-care aides (UHCAs) and create immediate employment opportunities for Manitobans, including students currently enrolled in a health sciences faculty or program.

These workers will support all members of the resident care team, assisting with resident care and support under the general supervision of a manager or nursing supervisor. Duties may include resident observation, companionship, redirection, stocking of supplies and more.

“As part of our continued efforts, we’ve established a Rapid Execution and Deployment Team that will continue to create new and innovative solutions to offer our expertise, facilities and network of campuses to support all Manitobans in response to COVID-19,” said RRC President Fred Meier.

“I am proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish to aid in our provincial response, and I want to commend our staff, faculty and instructors for continuing to step up and support our communities.”

The course will include a combination of virtual and in-class education, and consists of five days of theory offered virtually and two days of in-person skills education. Starting Nov. 30, it will be offered to students in Winnipeg, Selkirk, Steinbach, Winkler and Portage la Prairie, with opportunities to offer the course in additional communities in rural and northern Manitoba being explored.

Eligible students must be over the age of 18 and possess a minimum of a Grade 10 education. Experience in direct care is not a pre-requisite, and the course is being offered tuition-free with a commitment to provide service in a personal care home for a period of three months following completion.

Interested individuals must apply to the COVID-19 casual pool and select the location where they prefer to complete the training. The deadline to apply for the first intake of students is Monday, Nov. 23. Read More →