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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 →

Elder Mae Louise Campbell awarded honorary diploma for lifetime of advocacy

November 18, 2020

Elder Mae Louise CampbellElder Mae Louise Campbell is a healer, teacher, grandmother and advocate who has made it her life’s work to support and strengthen Indigenous women — both individually and collectively.

Today, Red River College is proud to recognize her contributions to the community by awarding her an Honorary Diploma in Indigenous Social Enterprise, with a focus on Community Development and Social Innovation.

“In an organization as large as Red River College, it’s special to find someone who is known, respected and beloved by an entire community, and Elder Mae Louise is all of those things,” said RRC President Fred Meier.

“During her 14 years with the College, she was invited by all 110 academic program areas to conduct and lead countless workshops, ceremonies and teachings. She is known and celebrated for her stories that underscore the importance of harmony, respect and resilience.

“Elder Mae Louise’s leadership has left an indelible mark on the College and the province of Manitoba, and we are pleased to award her this honorary diploma and recognize her important contributions.”

Cambpell’s knowledge and experience have been embraced by many. Her life lessons and unique ability to educate and share knowledge around Indigenous worldviews — creating dialogue outside of textbooks — has been imperative to both Indigenous and non-Indigenous members of the community.

She has been an instrumental figure supporting many initiatives and committees, both nationally and across Manitoba, including: Grandmother Moon Lodge, Clan Mothers Healing Village and Knowledge Centre, the Mayor’s Indigenous Advisory Circle, the Grandmothers Council of Manitoba (as a Wisdom Keeper), and the First Nations Advisory Committee to Canada’s Prenatal Nutritional Program. She served as an Elder and advisor for the Canadian Women’s Foundation on matters concerning the sexual exploitation and human trafficking of women and girls, and was the recipient of the 2016 Indspire Award in the category of Culture, Heritage and Spirituality.

The College announced and presented Campbell’s Honorary Diploma yesterday at the first ever Virtual Fall Convocation ceremony, during which more than 900 graduates from every RRC campus celebrated the milestone achievement. Read More →

New COVID-19 community clinic testing site to open after-hours at RRC’s Notre Dame Campus

November 5, 2020

Today, the Province of Manitoba announced a second community medical clinic will now offer after-hours COVID-19 testing as part of a partnership between the Manitoba government and Doctors Manitoba to expand testing capacity.

NDC COVID-19 Testing SiteThe Minor Illness and Injury Clinic will provide the new testing clinic, which will be in drive-up format in the West parking lot of Red River College’s Notre Dame Campus (see map).

Testing will begin Friday, Nov. 6 and will be by appointment only. Appointments can be made online on Manitoba’s COVID-19 testing website. The clinic will run COVID-19 testing Mondays through Fridays from 5-10pm. Weekend appointments will also be available on Saturdays and Sundays from 10am to 4pm.

“This is a time when we must all work together to do our part, and this is what Red River College does best — responding to the needs of our community,” said RRC President Fred Meier.

“We are busy making the necessary preparations to ensure this site is ready and easily accessible to all Manitobans who need it. We are proud to step forward and offer our expertise and facilities to further expand testing efforts through this important partnership with the Minor Illness and Injury Clinic and the Province of Manitoba.”

The province has also collaborated with Red River College to develop a micro-credential training option to expand the pool of providers able to safely perform COVID-19 nasopharyngeal sample collection at authorized COVID-19 test sites, further supporting testing efforts in Manitoba. The program is in high demand and RRC is on track to train over 180 health-care professionals and students.

For more information about testing, or to book an appointment, visit Manitoba’s COVID-19 testing website.

College’s COVID-19 micro-credential training in high demand

October 23, 2020

Today, Red River College and the Manitoba government announced three additional intakes to the COVID-19 micro-credential to further expand testing efforts in Winnipeg, with plans already underway to offer training opportunities to health-care professionals in specific areas of rural Manitoba.

“The health and safety of Manitobans remains our top priority as we continue to expand our efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19 within our community,” says Health, Seniors and Active Living Minister Cameron Friesen.

“Increasing testing is key as we work to reduce wait times and improve access for all Manitobans, and this includes an adaptive and highly skilled workforce. Through this partnership with Red River College, we are training additional health-care workers to immediately redeploy to screening centres where their assistance is helping to reduce wait times and provide better service.”

The micro-credential, which trains health-care workers and students to safely perform a nasal swab on adults and children to collect samples to test for the virus, was announced earlier this month and is in high demand. In less than 24 hours, RRC filled the first three sections, while maintaining a wait-list of nearly 120 students.

The three additional intakes announced today will be offered weekly — with the first beginning on Nov. 9 — and will run until Nov. 27. These new sections are already filling quickly and RRC is on track to train over 180 health-care professionals and students to safely perform sample collections at authorized COVID-19 test sites, further supporting testing efforts in the province.

The first group of students, who started the course on Monday, will complete their training today and will be ready to enter the workforce as early as next week. Read More →

New high-tech composites training centre takes off at RRC

October 22, 2020

Red River College is set to launch the careers of the next generation of skilled aerospace workers, thanks to a cutting-edge lab at the Notre Dame Campus. Using new technology from the National Research Council of Canada (NRC), the Advanced Forming Training Centre enhances the skills of Canada’s highly trained aerospace workforce. The Centre will also serve as a composite forming training hub for small- and medium-sized businesses.

The Advanced Forming Training Centre places RRC at the forefront of Canada’s aircraft component production industry. Composite materials make aircraft stronger, lighter and more fuel-efficient — ultimately, a cost-effective method that creates a significant reduction in process defects — and those trained at RRC will lead the charge in this new technology.

“RRC has long been at the forefront of innovation in the aerospace and manufacturing sectors, and working with partners like the National Research Council only strengthens what we do and ensures the widest audience possible will benefit from our state-of-the-art facilities and expertise,” says RRC President Fred Meier.

With a slew of modern equipment and facilities already under its belt, the new training centre is another feather in the cap for RRC’s Technology Access Centre for Aerospace and Manufacturing (TACAM), which last year opened the Smart Factory, an applied research space, experiential learning facility and technology demonstration site that showcases emerging technologies.

“We’re honoured to now be home to advanced composite forming systems developed by the NRC,” says Meier. “The collaborative transfer of skills and knowledge from the NRC team and TACAM provides a foundation to commercialize this unique emerging technology. We look forward to this ongoing partnership that will benefit Canada’s manufacturing industry for years to come.”

The NRC’s high-precision forming process propels Canada to a world leader in this emerging sector, and the organization will work with RRC to identify the best fit for the technology within the Canadian and global aerospace industries, and to transfer the advanced forming technology to the private sector. Read More →

RRC joins fight against COVID-19: New training launched to increase testing capacity in Manitoba

October 14, 2020

Red River College, in partnership with the Province of Manitoba, is proud to announce the creation of a new micro-credential course that will provide essential training to help increase COVID-19 testing capacity for Manitoba Public Health.

“Protecting the health and safety of Manitobans remains our number one priority,” says Premier Brian Pallister. “Our government is committed to expanding our COVID-19 testing capacity to reduce wait times to get a test. This partnership with Red River College will enable us to provide essential training opportunities to highly skilled health-care workers, who can now our efforts to help stop the spread of COVID-19 in our communities.”

The course — which takes as little as five hours to complete — is designed to train a number of health-care workers and students studying for careers in health care to safely conduct a nasal swab to collect samples to test for the virus. It will be offered tuition-free to students through RRC’s School of Continuing Education, and will be a blended delivery model, which will include essential theory offered through online delivery and a hands-on training component.

The course was designed to fit with a ministerial order that comes into effect today, enabling more health-care professionals and students training for careers in health care to perform this function at COVID-19 testing sites, including:

  • students in at least the second year of one of the following regulated health professions:
    • registered nursing
    • licensed practical nursing
    • psychiatric nursing
    • medicine at the University of Manitoba, including medical students and physician assistant students
  • students enrolled in an approved paramedicine or respiratory therapy program
  • people qualified to practice in one of the following regulated health professions in jurisdictions outside Manitoba or Canada (based on the presentation of valid credentials):
    • registered nursing
    • licensed practical nursing
    • psychiatric nursing
    • medicine
  • health-care aides
  • medical laboratory technologists
  • occupational therapists
  • physiotherapists
  • pharmacists

Read More →

Soup’s on! RRC partners with Winnipeg Harvest on healthy soup mixes for community, students

October 5, 2020

Thanks to a partnership between Red River College’s Prairie Research Kitchen and Winnipeg Harvest, nutritious Hamper Healthy™ soups will soon be distributed to vulnerable Manitobans. Students from RRC’s Culinary Arts program created the dehydrated mixes this summer, and officially handed off the donations — 3,000 packages worth — to Winnipeg Harvest this morning.

The partnership provided valuable work placement hours for RRC students and engaged them in a project that will deliver healthy, high-protein foods to people in need.

“When most local restaurants temporarily closed in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, many students from RRC’s Culinary Arts program were unable to receive the work placement hours needed to graduate,” says RRC President Fred Meier.

“Our solution was to use more of our space to scale up the recipes and provide nutritious storable food for people negatively impacted by the pandemic. This partnership with Winnipeg Harvest and the generous support from our donors demonstrates the value of working together to support our community and find creative ways to support our students.”

The students safely worked alongside RRC research chefs to transform raw vegetables into three soup mixes: Mulligatawny, Chicken Noodle Vegetable, and Smokey Baked Beans. Dehydrating the soups was also a great way to process surplus vegetables from suppliers who were not able to use them during the pandemic. Read More →

RRC adopts groundbreaking sexual violence reporting tool

September 30, 2020

REES posterRed River College has partnered with EVA (Ending Violence Across) Manitoba to launch a new online tool that will empower students, staff and instructors to anonymously report sexual assaults on campus, and access the support they need.

The College joins 10 other Manitoban post-secondary institutions in adopting the REES (Respect Educate Empower Survivors) reporting tool, offering a customized version of the platform that links to specific RRC supports, information and resources.

“Our students and staff have a right to learn and work in an environment that is free from sexual violence in all its forms. REES will help ensure that our campuses are safe places, and that survivors are heard and supported,” says Fred Meier, President and CEO, Red River College.

The REES platform also helps individuals who have experienced sexual violence complete a reporting form that captures all the key information about an incident through a secure online form.

The user chooses what happens next: they can keep the report for their personal records and never share it, or they can decide to provide a copy to their educational institution or to the police.

The decision to report is a personal one, says Jess Spindler, RRC’s Resource and Resolution Advisor.

“No one should feel pressured to do something that makes them feel uncomfortable, but reporting does mean the matter can be addressed. When you make a report, the College must look into the matter, support your safety, and take appropriate corrective action to stop inappropriate behaviour and prevent future reoccurrences.

“The current North American data tells us that 1 in 5 female-identifying students experience sexual violence while attending post-secondary. The real number is likely higher because sexual violence is significantly underreported. Statistics Canada has noted that more than 8 of every 10 sexual assaults in Canada are never reported to police.” Read More →