Cultivating Community Impact

Cultivating Community Impact

Every day regulated career colleges across Ontario and Canada are leaving their mark on their communities through philanthropic and charitable initiatives. For so many regulated career colleges across Ontario and Canada, community engagement stands as a key pillar of their daily work. These institutions, deeply rooted in their local communities, recognize the profound impact they can have beyond the classroom. For them, education extends far beyond the boundaries of their campuses; it is about fostering meaningful connections and leaving a lasting positive mark on the neighborhoods they serve. In the following article, we’ll  take a closer look at some examples of how our colleges demonstrate their commitment to making a positive impact.

CDI College: Truth & Reconciliation Through Education

As we continue to reflect on the enduring impacts of residential schools and on various paths forward towards reconciliation, CDI College recognizes that a key step in the process towards reconciliation is the elimination of the educational gaps between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians, as identified by the 2015 Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Principles of Reconciliation.

Last year, CDI College has partnered with national Indigenous charity Indspire, donating half a million dollars’ worth of funding and awards to Indigenous students over the span of four years. The federal government, in turn, has committed to match this donation, for a total of $1M in funding.

Indspire President and CEO Mike DeGagné shared the projection that the partnership will financially support over 100 Indigenous students over the next four years.

“The creation of the CDI College awards represents an exciting opportunity for a national partnership between CDI College and Indspire as well as a new avenue toward success for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis students,” said DeGagné. “These awards ensure that Indigenous students have the financial means to succeed on their educational journeys and ultimately enter their chosen careers.”

Anderson College: Education as Community Upliftment

In the bustling landscape of higher education, Anderson College stands out as a community oriented  institution, championing philanthropy and social responsibility.

Heather Yang of Anderson College believes that education is a potent tool not just for personal growth but also for uplifting communities. This belief is at the core of Anderson College’s community involvement. From organizing book drives, food drives, toy drives, and supporting women’s shelters, they have consistently shown their commitment to making a difference.

“As a part of the wider community, giving back has always been at the heart of Anderson College. As a Career College operator, I am deeply motivated by the belief that education is not only about personal growth but also about uplifting the communities we serve.” Heather tells us.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Anderson College distributed 50,000 masks – a gesture that helped protect their community during challenging times. Additionally, they made a substantial $10,000 donation to St. Michael’s Hospital, further exemplifying their dedication to community well-being. At Anderson College, giving back isn’t seen so much as a responsibility, but rather as a privilege. According to Heather, It’s about contributing to a brighter, more inclusive future for their community and for all those seeking knowledge and opportunity within it.

Metalworks Institute: Harmony in Community Engagement

Metalworks Institute – a premier entertainment arts school in Mississauga –  believes in the power of utilizing resources for community benefit. During downtime, their commercial recording studio and production company have been leveraged to support Ontario High School SHSM students with free workshops. This not only enriches students’ experiences but also fosters a sense of collaboration and creativity.

Their commitment to the local music scene is further evident through the donation of studio time to Battle of the Bands competitions for high schools and community organizations. Moreover, Metalworks Institute is on the verge of launching “SoundsUnite,” a groundbreaking edutech app. This app, available to all Canadian students, facilitates collaboration, offers free music education, and provides essential mental wellness resources on demand. With the support of RBCx and stakeholders from the music and health sectors, it promises to be a valuable asset for students from coast to coast.

Computek College: A Commitment to Holistic Support

Computek College, as part of the 369 Global group of companies, exemplifies the fusion of education and philanthropy. They actively participate in local community events, sponsoring initiatives like Tamil Fest, Scarborough Rib Fest, and Villa Karuna’s Santhiyaragam Golden Super Singer. These contributions play a vital role in fostering community cohesion and cultural enrichment.

However, Computek College’s larger philanthropic efforts are channeled through the Srinarayanathas Foundation. This foundation was established with a clear mission: to serve the communities it operates in by providing holistic and sustainable support. The foundation focuses on the eight pillars of wellness, including physical, social, emotional, occupational, financial, spiritual, intellectual, and environmental well-being. These pillars often go unnoticed when addressing the socioeconomic realities of underrepresented communities, both in Canada and abroad.

Willis College: Pioneering Solutions in Education

Ramona Buda, in a recent discussion about Willis College’s PSW (Personal Support Worker) Pilot Program, shed light on their innovative approach to addressing the pressing need for PSWs during the COVID-19 pandemic. Recognizing the immediate demand for PSWs in care homes, Willis College proposed a solution.

Their solution aimed to remove financial barriers for potential PSWs by securing government funding for students. This allowed students to commence both training and working in care facilities from day one. However, beyond simply addressing the staffing shortage, this initiative provided much-needed companionship to residents during the challenging times of the pandemic, when our most vulnerable citizens were left isolated and alone. As Ramona aptly puts it, students were able to  “be that contact with the outside world that grandma and grandpa couldn’t have during COVID.”

As students progressed through their programs, they evolved from providing companionship to actively assisting in various aspects of care, ultimately becoming fully trained PSWs. This innovative approach streamlined the training process and enabled Willis College to place students more efficiently than ever before, all while giving senior citizens the gift of companionship throughout some of the loneliest of times.

Moreover, the program tackled attrition in the PSW field by integrating work placements early in the curriculum. Students gained hands-on exposure to the realities of the job, allowing them to make informed decisions about their career path. This proactive approach resulted in a higher commitment among those who continued with their training.

The impact of Willis College’s PSW Pilot Program is tangible. Statistics reveal that nearly 90% of their graduates who responded to surveys are still actively working in the PSW industry one year after graduation. This program not only met the immediate demand for PSWs but also contributed to the long-term sustainability of the healthcare workforce we so strongly rely on.

Greystone College : Global Impact

In the wake of the devastating earthquake that struck Syria and Turkey, Greystone College took swift action to support those affected. The college’s commitment to giving back to both the local and global communities shone brightly as they partnered with the Red Cross Canada for a fundraising initiative.

The collaboration proved to be a remarkable success, raising just over $21,000 to aid earthquake victims in the affected regions. Greystone College’s dedication to this cause underscores their mission to make a meaningful impact on the lives of those in need, reinforcing the principle that education goes beyond classrooms.  

These examples underscore the pivotal role that each one of these institutions play in their communities. They demonstrate that education and training is not just about imparting knowledge; it’s about creating a brighter and more inclusive future for all. Through creative and resourceful initiatives and a profound commitment to holistic well-being, career colleges in Ontario are leaving an indelible mark on their communities, demonstrating just how philanthropy and community engagement are indeed at the heart of their educational mission.



Shennel Lobrick

Anderson College

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