A partnership between Red River College and the provincial arm of the Frontiers Foundation is helping residents of Northern Manitoba communities address a critical housing shortage in the region.
Through a recent enhancement and expansion of Frontier Foundation's Standing Tree to Standing Home program, First Nation residents in Manitoba are being provided with the skills and equipment required to fell trees, set up sawmills in their communities, and eventually construct their own houses.
The project was borne out of an observed need for improved housing on provincial reserves, and was developed through a partnership between Frontiers Foundation Manitoba (the local arm of an Ontario-based charitable organization that builds homes in Aboriginal communities), Red River College's Gimli Campus and the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.
The College, for its part, was tasked with converting Frontiers Foundation's undocumented curriculum into five modules — including course outlines, skill checklists and tests — designed to help Northern residents get their own building program underway, using resources found in their own backyards.
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Thanks to a continued partnership with Manitoba’s Immigration Centre, Red River College is helping recent arrivals to the province “tap in” to their full potential.
As part of the Immigration Centre’s aptly-named Tap-In Program, RRC (via the School of Continuing and Distance Education) provides training courses to low-income students working to improve their marketable skills.
The program is similar to flying standby on a commercial airline: Applications are submitted to program administrators two to three weeks prior to their start dates. If spaces are available, they’re allotted to Tap-In participants, who access the courses at a reduced fee.
Some clients are working towards certification, while others are just topping up their resumes, or upgrading their skills. To date, Tap-In clients have accessed upwards of $225,000 in training from post-academic institutions in Manitoba, while working towards careers in such fields as Applied Arts, Business and Management, Basic Computer, Community Services, Trades and Industrial, Health Sciences, French, Education, Information Technology, and Safety.
“It’s a partnership we’re extremely proud to be involved in,” says Raeann Thibeault, Dean of the School of Continuing and Distance Education. “We’re thrilled to be working with the Immigration Centre in helping newcomers attain the education they need to provide a better life for themselves, and in helping with the supply of the skilled workforce in Manitoba.”
Not surprisingly, Tap-In participants are equally effusive.
“I am the kind of person that always wants to excel in my life, and one of my priorities has been my education,” says Miguel Rodriguez, a student from Colombia who’s currently enrolled in RRC’s Justice and Public Safety program. “Unfortunately, I have never attended college because of money restrictions … This is why I thank God that through Red River College and the Tap-In Program, I am achieving my dream.”
Click here for more information about the Tap-In Program.
Volunteers unload bikes from a pre-makeover version of "The Dinosaur," during Habitat for Humanity's 2010 Cycle of Hope. (Photo courtesy Habitat for Humanity.)
Students and staff in Red River College’s Transportation program have helped ensure a Habitat for Humanity fundraiser remains road-worthy — just the latest example of how the College builds community ties through its partnerships with not-for-profit groups.
In recent weeks, students and staff from RRC’s Body Shop and the Heavy Equipment Transportation Centre (HETC) — under the supervision of Transportation Chair Neil Cooke — repaired, refurbished and repainted the bicycle-hauling trailer used in Habitat for Humanity’s annual Cycle of Hope fundraiser.
In addition to the new paint job, the trailer (affectionately known as “The Dinosaur” by Habitat insiders) also boasts new lights, new reflectors and a number of mechanical repairs — all courtesy of Red River College, with contributions from project partners Imperial Paint & Supplies and Derrick’s Sandblasting & Painting.
“It’s Habitat for Humanity — they do so much for the community, and they do so much for groups of people who really need the help,” says Cooke. “It’s really great that our staff and students had the opportunity to help them out.”
Click here for more information about RRC’s Transportation programs.
Click here for more information about Habitat for Humanity.
Above: Habitat for Humanity's new and improved hauling trailer.
(Above: Career Trek participant Sara Mensah, a student at Arthur E. Wright School in Winnipeg, takes part in a Career Trek session at Red River College.)
Still not sure what you want to be when you grow up? Don’t worry, kids – you’re not alone.
According to the founder of Career Trek, a local not-for-profit organization that helps young people explore their post-secondary educational options, a staggering number of high school students still don’t have any clue what to do with the rest of their lives
“You’ve got kids making critical life decisions that are going to completely affect their future, and we’ve done nothing to position them to make intelligent choices,” says Career Trek’s Executive Director, Darrell Cole.
“But imagine if we could construct a system where people actually tried things before they committed to them.”
That’s where Career Trek can help: Now in its 15th year, the initiative was launched to help young people understand the value a post-secondary education can bring to their lives, and to equip them with the knowledge required to tap into their full potential, while making informed decisions about their futures.
After being nominated by their schools, participants aged 10 and up spend an academic year’s worth of Saturdays visiting the major post-secondary institutions in Manitoba, where they’re exposed to a wide variety of courses and career options. Here at Red River College (on the Notre Dame, Exchange District and Stevenson Aviation campuses), Career Trek participants receive hands-on training in a range of vocations, including journalism, carpentry, culinary arts and electrical engineering.
By explaining which high school courses typically serve as pre-requisites for those same fields of study or training, Cole and his Career Trek colleagues help to demystify a process that has for decades left many students struggling.
“We get to these kids early, so that by the time they get to high school, they’ve had some significant exposures to their future,” says Cole. “They’re gaining something we don’t usually have until we’re adults, which is hindsight.”
For more information on Career Trek, see www.careertrek.ca.