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Carpenter Foundation program builds skills and community in South Okanagan
Mature students benefit from confidence and credentials
Housing help needed for new tourism program students
College celebrates a decade of recognizing Aboriginal students’ achievements
Hoopla: President’s Celebration of OC Coyotes Basketball
Sex, Salmonella, and Beetles: Epidemiologist shares how eating bugs could save the world
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Carpenter Foundation program builds skills and community in South Okanagan
Okanagan College Media Release

Carpentry April 2019The residential construction industry is thriving in the South Okanagan, and a carpentry program with extra supports for Indigenous students is underway in Penticton to help ensure a needed supply of skilled tradespeople.

In addition to addressing the industry demand for carpenters, the program will support important skills development for the community. The class – that started this month – will be working with Greyback Construction to build a home at Skaha Hills, among the many K’ul Group projects underway to support economic development of the Penticton Indian Band (PIB).

“We are excited to see the program back in Penticton, it is a great program and provides a unique opportunity to work with our community partners to continue building capacity in a dynamic and growing economic sector,” says Eric Corneau, Regional Dean South Okanagan.

Noah Bower completed the Carpenter Foundation program last year in Penticton, starting the program at age 17. He said he was always drawn to the diverse work in the field.

“When I was in high school, I did a bit of electrician training, but found that you did the same thing over and over and over. It was repetitive. But with carpentry, you’re doing different stuff like pouring concrete, laying out staircases and putting up walls. It’s fun and something different every day,” he explains.

As part of his program, Bower was able to obtain job site experience working on a house at Skaha Hills, which solidified his career path.

“It taught me a lot about carpentry and that I really like the work,” he says, adding that working with other professionals gave him a glimpse of what life after school would be like. “It showed me what to expect out of this industry.”

Bower, a member of the Osoyoos Indian Band, is confident in his career prospects. He is currently taking a two-week course to learn how to handle heavy mechanical equipment on the job site, diversifying his skills.

“If an equipment operator doesn’t show up one day, I want the ability to help out and run the equipment,” Bower says.

“I want to get all my trades tickets: electrician, plumbing and welding. I’d like to become a master of all trades and start a company that does it all, so you don’t have to call other companies for one project. When you’re building a house, you have to call different trades, but I think it would be great to have one company that offered everything. I should be able to accomplish that with the help of my band.”

Four of the 11 students enrolled in the current intake are PIB members, and they received culturally informed supports including mentorship, Elder support, visits from Aboriginal industry speakers, assistance with math and English requirements, and nutrition breaks. Those supports were funded by the Industry Training Authority.

“The Carpenter Foundation program has been a popular program in Penticton in recent years. The 2019 intake was set up to include a pathway to support PIB students to participate through the Key to Employment bridging program with Indigenous Community for Leadership and Development,” explains Steve Moores, Dean of Trades and Apprenticeship.

The next intakes for Carpenter Foundation are August (Kelowna) and February 2020 (Salmon Arm and Revelstoke).

To find out more program details, visit www.okanagan.bc.ca/construction
 or contact 1-877-755-2266.

 

Mature students benefit from confidence and credentials
Okanagan College Media Release

Maria Otting knew something had to change.Maria Otting 1 April 2019

Having relocated to Salmon Arm, she found herself in need of a new work environment – but quickly realized she had plenty of experience working in offices, but not the credentials listed in ads.

“I noticed a lot of the jobs I was interested in wanted the Administrative Assistant Certificate,” she recalls. “I had years of experience, but didn’t have formal training. I just trained on the job.”

Otting investigated the program, and realized that she was familiar with some course material as a result of her experience – but the program also touched on subjects like payroll and accounting that would broaden her skills.

“I realized that this was something I could do without leaving Salmon Arm, it’s only 10 months and then I can get working,” she says. “I’m really glad I made the decision to go back to school, I’m learning so much.”

Turns out, Otting wasn’t the only one considering a change later in life.

“There’s a lot of mature students in our program. There are stay-at-home moms who have come back after being out of the workforce for a number of years, and people just simply upgrading their skills. We fit right in with the students right out of high school, and everybody gets along,” she says. “It’s great being a mature student. You feel a little bit more confident because you have those life skills and you’re just ready to dive in, get to it and learn.”

The Shuswap has proven very attractive to mature students, with demographic reports indicating the average age of students at the Salmon Arm campus is 27 years old – compared with 25 in Vernon and Penticton.

“Adult learners have unique needs, from financial aid, child care, and academic requirements, and the Salmon Arm campus has built a supportive network that helps remove barriers that prevent people from returning to education,” says Joan Ragsdale, Regional Dean Shuswap-Revelstoke.
 

Okanagan College’s Salmon Arm campus is holding a seminar called Returning to Education on Wednesday, April 24 to help mature students investigate their options. Instructors will provide an overview of specific study areas, helping people make decisions about what program is the right fit for them. Staff will outline academic requirements and available options for upgrading, in addition to financial aid supports available. WorkBC will also be on hand to discuss funding eligibility.

Returning to Education will run from 6:30 to 8 p.m. in Room 136 of Okanagan College’s Salmon Arm campus, 2552 10th Ave. NE, beside the Shaw Centre. For information, call 250-832-2126, ext 8259, email kwickner@okanagan.bc.ca or visitwww.okanagan.bc.ca/salmonarm
.

 

Housing help needed for new tourism program students

 

The advent of Okanagan College’s new tourism management diploma program means there is significant need to accommodate students who will be arriving in Revelstoke to take advantage of the unique learning opportunity this fall.

“This program will be drawing students from within the region, across B.C. and Canada, as well as from around the globe,” explains Joan Ragsdale, OC’s Regional Dean for Shuswap-Revelstoke. “We know what the housing situation is like in Revelstoke, so we’re reaching out now to the community to ask for their help.”

The College, Tourism Revelstoke, the City of Revelstoke, and area employers such as The Regent Hotel, the Best Western, and Revelstoke Mountain Resort are collaborating to ensure that international students especially can find homestay opportunities, to help them integrate with the community. The goal is to find 15 homestay opportunities at approximately $800 per student.

This is an opportunity for our community to show its support for the local industry. These students will be the tourism workers who live, work and learn in Revelstoke. We’re excited that this program will help our businesses secure these future skilled workers,” notes Meghan Tabor, Tourism Revelstoke’s Marketing Director.

The need for the program, and the human resources it will attract, is one that resonates with industry.

“Tourism is one of the biggest growth sectors in the province,” explains Peter Nielsen, VP Operations for Revelstoke Mountain Resort. “Workers are in demand.”

Nielsen is one of the many local tourism experts who has worked with the College over the past year to ensure the program would hit the mark – for students and for those who’ll be hiring them.

The two-year diploma program combines in-class learning with work placement opportunities. The timing of the work placements ensure students will be available when employers need their talents most during busy times of the year. And it is showcasing Revelstoke nationally and internationally as Okanagan College recruits the students.

While OC, Tourism Revelstoke, and employers are focused on homestay opportunities for students, they’re willing to talk to any landlords about any rental opportunities.

We want to see this two-year program – a pilot for Okanagan College – succeed and help reinforce Revelstoke’s reputation as an innovative, supportive community that is at the forefront of sustainable destination tourism,” explains Tabor.

 “From the location, to the access to tourism employers, to the quality of instruction at Okanagan College, all the components are there to set students up for success and help them distinguish themselves in tourism management roles,” says Nielsen. “I couldn’t be more excited to see the program roll out this fall – and to be able to tap into this new pool of talent before and after they graduate.”

Those interested in providing homestay or rental accommodation to international and domestic students can contact Danielle Tighe, Okanagan College’s Manager of Community Relations and Administration for the Revelstoke Centre. She can be reached at 250-837-4235, ext. 6515 or at dtighe@okanagan.bc.ca

 

College celebrates a decade of recognizing Aboriginal students’ achievements
Okanagan College Media Release

Saturday, March 9 marked the 10
th Annual Aboriginal Student Recognition Ceremony at Okanagan College and students, educators and community members came together to celebrate students’ accomplishments and acknowledge those who inspired and supported them along the way.Isaac and Terbasket March 2019

“The ceremony is to recognize that these students are getting an education while still holding onto their Indigenous background and teachings,” says Jewell Gillies, Aboriginal Transition Program Advisor. “There are cultural teachings that we on the coast learn from the Big House that give us a sense of our identity, but we want our students to understand that they can carry that with them while they study here. We want to bring harmony to both places.”

The Big House, in the past, referred to literal big houses that sheltered up to four families of a clan. Today, they house ceremonies, decision-making, and discussions between nations and clans. “It’s a place where we inherit knowledge from our communities,” added Gillies.

The ceremony included performances by Metis Jiggers, Mary Ouillette and Jennifer Sharp, Powwow dancers, Arnold and Deanna Ackachuk and family, and Bailey-Marcellay-Thomas and Jayda Echeverria, and keynote speakers. Okanagan College President, Jim Hamilton was among those present to congratulate students.

“This event is always one of the highlights of the year for us at Okanagan College,” said Hamilton. “It’s an honour to be part of recognizing our students’ successes, and it’s equally heartening to see them turn around and acknowledge their instructors, family, friends and community members who have invested in their education.”

That sense of community and collaboration is something Okanagan College business student Wendy Terbasket says she has experienced during her time at the College.

“My people are making great strides for the betterment of their future and communities,” says Terbasket. “The College’s values are so in line with my own: everyone working together and working toward a common goal. It just feels so great to be at a school that is so accepting and supportive.”

Terbasket is among those students who nominated an instructor they felt significantly impacted them and deserved to be recognized. She nominated OC School of Business Professor Scott Overland.

“Scott has been a great sounding board for my concerns, not only about my post-secondary journey but also about the struggles in my community,” added Terbasket. “He’s always been so helpful and it is greatly appreciated.”

Instructors Teresa Proudlove, Laura Jockman, Richard Volk, Adam Craig, Stacey Grimm, Denise Boudreau, Dana Hurtubise, Tracy Riley, Diane Little, Katherine Bonell, and Matthia Vaillancourt were also honoured for going above and beyond for their students.

Present at the ceremony were honourary guests: Wilfred Barnes, Syilx Elder; Christopher Derickson, Councilor of the Westbank First Nation; Secwepemc Nation Dignitaries: Darrell Jones, Louis Thomas, Tammy Thomas and George William; Joan Wright, President of the Salmon Arm Metis Association, Jennifer Sharp and Nicole Skidmore; Loyal Wooldridge, City of Kelowna Councilor; Shelley Joseph, Reconciliation Canada; and Gloria Morgan, Vice President of OC Board of Governors and a former chief of the Splatsin Indian Band.

 

Hoopla: President’s Celebration of OC Coyotes Basketball
Okanagan College Media Release

Megan Blair Coyotes April 2019Okanagan College’s Coyotes basketball teams invite you to mix and mingle with the players, coaches and supporters at the third annual Hoopla fundraiser.

“Our women’s and men’s basketball teams have performed admirably and won a lot of respect both on and off the court,” says Jim Hamilton, Okanagan College President. “It’s been thrilling to see them develop as teams over the past couple of years, and to witness the time and energy they’ve invested in mentoring youth. This event is a great opportunity to celebrate the teams’ successes after their first season of official league play.”

The fundraiser takes place Thursday, May 2 at 5:30 p.m. in the Atrium of the Centre for Learning building at the Kelowna campus.

Attendees can participate in silent and live auctions, enjoy a cash bar with local VQA wines, beer and cider from Big Surf brewery, and savour gourmet bites prepared by the OC Culinary Arts students and staff.

Last May, after a year of exhibition games, coaches and members of the Kelowna College Basketball Society (KCBS) found out that the men’s and women’s teams would officially join the Pacific Western Athletic Association (PACWEST). Three Coyotes earned honours from PACWEST: Sapna Deo, Seth Blundell and Megan Blair.

Now, as their first season in PACWEST has come to a close, head coach of the men’s team, and president of the KCBS, Dino Gini, could not be more proud.Jeff Tubbs Coyotes April 2019

“In our first year, both teams made the playoffs, which is an incredible accomplishment,” says Gini. “It’s pretty surreal to think about how quickly our program has grown and how passionate the community is about supporting what we are doing. We are proud to have the OC logo on our chest.”

The Coyotes are also giving back to the community with a social campaign: Values over Victory. This project is driven by athletes to encourage children to showcase their values to the world both on and offline. The players have become peer-mentors, and visit classrooms around the community to talk to children about the importance of being responsible on social media.

“Teaming up with Values over Victory has given our program the opportunity to be a part of a positive movement that extends off the court and into our community,” says Jeff Tubbs, captain of the men’s team. “I’m extremely proud of our guys for taking ownership and giving back. We’re all looking forward to seeing some of the community at Hoopla, without them we couldn’t do what we do.”

Special guest speaker Tom Budd will also be at the fundraiser. Budd’s journey is one of healing and finding hope, and will talk of the value of giving while bringing attention to health and wellness.

“We are extremely honoured to have Tom as our special guest speaker,” adds Gini. “He is extremely motivational when it comes to his story about mental health and wellness.”

Tickets are $40 and can be purchased on Eventbrite
.

 

Sex, Salmonella, and Beetles: Epidemiologist shares how eating bugs could save the world
Okanagan College Media Release

What do food, sex and salmonella have in common? How will eating insects help save the planet? Award-winning author and veterinary epidemiologist David Waltner-Toews will share his insights during an upcoming talk as part of Okanagan College’s Speakers Series.David Waltner-Toews April 2019

Waltner-Toews’s reading will take place at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, May 13 in the theatre at The Innovation Centre at 460 Doyle Ave. in Kelowna.

“Eating is our most intimate relationship with the world, and good intimate relationships require commitment,” explains Waltner-Toews. “We must ask of our food, ‘where were you before you came to my table, and where will you be tomorrow?’”

Waltner-Toews has published more than 20 books, including poetry, short stories, a murder mystery, six books of popular science, and several texts on ecosystem approaches to health. His most recent book,
Eat the Beetles!, challenges us to think about our attitude toward insects, and whether eating them might help solve the planet’s environmental problems.

A professor emeritus at the University of Guelph, Waltner-Toews was founding president of Veterinarians without Borders Canada, of the Network for Ecosystem Sustainability and Health, and a founding member of Communities of Practice for Ecosystem Approaches to Health in Canada. He is also the recipient of the inaugural award for contributions to ecosystem approaches to health from The International Association for Ecology and Health.

Waltner-Toews will be reading from his 2008 book,
Food, Sex and Salmonella: Why Our Food is Making Us Sick, and will answer questions about Eat the Beetles!, The Origin of Feces: What Excrement Tells Us about Evolution, Ecology, and Sustainable Society, and his other books.

This reading is presented by Okanagan College and supported by the Writers’ Union of Canada’s National Public Readings Program and the Okanagan Regional Library.

Admission is free, but space is limited so please register in advance on Eventbrite
.

Donations of non-perishable food or hygiene products will be gratefully accepted to help Okanagan College students in need as part of The Pantry food bank project at the Kelowna campus coordinated by the Okanagan College Students’ Union.

 

Armstrong Co-op delivers new tools for trades students
Okanagan College Media Release

Armstrong Co-op Donation March 2019A co-operative that has a nearly 100-year history in the community is supporting the next generation of skilled trades workers with a donation of new tools to Okanagan College Vernon campus.

Armstrong Regional Cooperative has donated $5,000 to the new Trades Training Centre to purchase state-of-the-art tools for the students in the more than seven programs offered in the new Centre.

“A big part of our business model is supporting the community,” explains Jason Keis, Armstrong Regional Cooperative Marketing and Sales Manager. “We were excited to invest in students entering the trades, especially as the trades are so connected to our business.”

Armstrong Co-op operates gas and convenience stores in Vernon, Salmon Arm and Armstrong as well as cardlock fueling stations. The company also offers fuel delivery within the Okanagan-Shuswap and many of those deliveries are to contractors and construction sites.

The donated tools were delivered on a pallet and unveiled to students who responded with a round of applause. The new equipment ranged from air-powered nail guns to welding helmets, electric sanders and socket sets.

“We have a beautiful new trades facility and this donation means our students will have access to the very latest tools as well, so they’re training on the same equipment they’ll encounter when they step out onto the jobsite,” says Steve Moores, Dean of Trades at Okanagan College.

“We’re grateful to the Armstrong Regional Cooperative for supporting students – it sends a message to them that local employers believe in them and want to see them be successful in their chosen trades.”

Armstrong Regional Cooperative has a long history of supporting community through annual donations to a number of different organizations and community events. As a co-operative, the Armstrong Co-op is owned by its members who as owners, share in the co-op’s profits. Last year, the co-op returned just over $3.7 million in cash and equity to its 17,500 members.

“If you are not buying from a co-op, the money may be going somewhere else and not back to your community,” says Keis. “When you buy from your local co-operative, you’re truly supporting your community.”

 

Record OC budget broadens services and programs
Okanagan College Media Release

Okanagan College’s largest operating budget – $121.7 million – will provide additional student services and expanded access to programs.

The 2019-2020 budget was passed by the College’s Board of Governors Tuesday.

“It’s encouraging to witness the College continue to grow and provide increased program opportunities and support for students,” notes Chris Derickson, Chair of the Board of Governors. “The College is an important economic engine in the communities we serve – something that is driven home by the fact that $88 million of the $121.7 million budget is wages that we pay.”

The new budget includes funding for 17.5 full-time equivalent (FTE) faculty and instructors, and 16.6 FTE support and exempt staff.

It also includes funding for increased student counseling services in Salmon Arm and Penticton, an immigration consultant and cultural liaison positions for international students in Penticton and Vernon.

A new Tourism Management Diploma program will be offered in Revelstoke beginning in September, and there are new two-year diploma programs being offered in Collision Repair and Auto Service Technician.

The budget also provides funding for completion and implementation of a wellness strategy, an Indigenization strategy and an internationalization strategy.

“It is a challenge to balance the budget against the opportunities that are presented by the various departments in the institution,” says Curtis Morcom, Vice President of Employee and Corporate Services, who presented his first budget to the Board after assuming his role in 2018. “I was impressed by the scope of developments that were presented by the College departments through the budget process. What was clear was that our students and employees are interested in improving student services, broadening program offerings, and ensuring that Okanagan College is sustainable in the long-term.”

 

Okanagan College launches new training for tourism managers
Okanagan College Media Release

Revy TourismWith tourism employers across much of B.C. feeling the pinch when it comes to finding experienced managers, Okanagan College is launching a new applied diploma designed to help students advance their careers in the tourism sector.

The first intake of the College’s Tourism Management Diploma will take place at OC’s Revelstoke Centre this fall. Those interested in learning more about the program can attend an information session at OC Revelstoke, 1401 First Street West, on April 16 at 7 p.m.

“This diploma has been designed with a great deal of industry input,” says Jonathan Rouse, Okanagan College’s Director of Food, Wine and Tourism. “Our goal is to provide students a program that will help advance their tourism careers, while helping employers find the skilled workers they need – and what better place than Revelstoke for this kind of program?”

“Revelstoke is the ultimate four-season tourism destination. It’s the place to be if you’re looking to get experience that will help advance your tourism career.”

One of those employers who can speak to the need for more skilled workers is Peter Nielsen, VP Operations for Revelstoke Mountain Resort (RMR).

“Tourism is one of the biggest growth sectors in the province. Workers are in-demand. It’s a great time to be thinking about a career in tourism and, specifically, to be thinking about your next steps and how to open up opportunities for growth into supervisory and management roles,” he says.

Nielsen is one of the many local tourism experts who has worked with the College over the past year to ensure the program would hit the mark – for students and for those who’ll be hiring them.

“From the location, to the access to tourism employers, to the quality of instruction at Okanagan College, all the components are there to set students up for success and help them distinguish themselves in tourism management roles. I couldn’t be more excited to see the program roll out this fall – and to be able to tap into this new pool of talent before and after they graduate.”

One way to ensure the training was relevant to needs of employers like RMR and many others was to incorporate work-integrated learning, Rouse notes. A carefully timed winter co-op component is an integral part of the learning.

“Students can take advantage of co-op with a local employer to build on their experience and build their network,” says Rouse. “It’s a win for students and a win for employers who get access to talent.”

"I think this program will be extremely valuable to employers, as the coop terms take place in the busy season, when our tourism employers need employees the most,” says Meghan Tabor, Marketing Director for Tourism Revelstoke. “This will also be a great opportunity for the employers to mentor these students and help them find their niche in the tourism industry.”

It’s expected that the program will not only help draw students to Revelstoke, but world-wide attention for the region as a tourism training destination as well.

“We’re excited to shine a light on Revelstoke through this program,” says Joan Ragsdale, Regional Dean for Shuswap-Revelstoke. “For those students who already live in the region, it’s another opportunity to stay close to home and pursue their education at the College. For those who will be coming from other parts of B.C. and internationally, it’s a chance for us to showcase to new audiences what a dynamic and world-class place for tourism Revelstoke is. So, it’s a program we expect will be very beneficial to the community on a number of fronts.”

More information about the program is available at www.okanagan.bc.ca/tmd
.  

 

OC Business students shine at WCBC
Okanagan College Media Release

OC WCBC Teams March 2019Two teams and an individual student from Okanagan College made the podium in their divisions at the Western Canadian Business Competition (WCBC) hosted at the College’s Kelowna campus last weekend.

WCBC, which has run for more than three decades, is a comprehensive undergraduate business competition in which student teams are tasked with administering a complex simulated business scenario over the course of a hypothetical eight-year timeframe. Each team has four members from the Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degree program that are appointed to designated sectors: Finance, Operations, Marketing, Human Resources – and one member is also designated the CEO.

At the senior level, Okanagan College students Hannah Fiechter, Brett Loeppky, Mason Rice and Natasha Walters placed first for their Strategic Plan, and third in the overall competition. Rice stood out to the judges and was awarded the Top Individual distinction.

“Okanagan College has helped transform my life,” says Rice, who is currently completing his third year as a Finance student. “I’m so honoured to have won this award and grateful for the entire experience. This is my first year competing but I definitely plan to be back again next year, as it will be my last year at the College, and I hope to win big once again.”

At the junior level, OC students Kevin Heller, Beau Jackson, Jessica Overland and Justin Rantucci placed second for their Strategic Plan behind teams from College of New Caledonia, and third overall behind teams from College of the Rockies and Langara.

Both OC teams were coached by Okanagan College School of Business professors Dan Allen and Scott Overland.

“Coaching these teams is a truly rewarding experience,” says Allen, who’s been a coach at WCBC for the last four years. “I have had the privilege of watching students further enhance their business acumen, public speaking skills, corporate boardroom experience, and not to mention have fun while forming strong relationships with their colleagues in the process.”

Putting on an event of this scale is no easy feat without volunteers and sponsors. Eight judges from business backgrounds in the community volunteered their time and expertise to the competition: John Christie, Cliff Ehnes and Andrea Maniford judged the junior division, and Mark McGregor, Gord Hotchkis and Shad Shoranick judged the senior division.

2019 sponsors included McDonald’s on Harvey, Interior Savings and Okanagan Young Professionals Collective.

For more information about WCBC, go to www.okanagan.bc.ca/wcbc
.

 

OC student learns and leads as part of Launch-a-Preneur

The student has become a teacher in Shuswap Launch-a-Preneur.

Laureen ShannonThe Salmon Arm-based business competition has helped propel Laureen Shannon, a fourth-year Business student at Okanagan College, on a business development trajectory fuelled by community connections.

"I love this program. Once you’re in a launch, you’re in it for life,” Shannon explains. "We always follow up how they are doing, cross-promoting their business."

She began her studies in Office Administration, which capped off with a six-week practicum working with the Salmon Arm Economic Development Society (SAEDS) on a variety of projects. One of the biggest projects included Shuswap Launch-a-Preneur — a Dragon’s Den-style business development competition, featuring a series of workshops that support participants in developing the building blocks of their businesses.

When Shannon returned to pursue her Bachelor of Business Administration, she joined Okanagan College Enactus — a student organization committed to offering community outreach projects.

"It allowed me to get to know students that had the same thought about giving back and making a difference in your community,” she says. “You are fostering a network that is creating positive change. It’s action oriented, they don’t just talk about change.”

Being part of the non-profit allowed Shannon to stay involved with Launch-a-Preneur, which is driven by three partner organizations: Okanagan College Enactus, SAEDS and Community Futures Shuswap. The program features a series of six workshops that cover the essential components for a business plan. In addition to the workshops, entrepreneurs are matched with business mentors specializing in fields that would benefit the new idea. For example, someone needing information on financials or accounting are partnered with local volunteers from BDO or Grant Thornton. The participants also have access to a pool of mentors ranging in expertise.

Since the program inception, 81 mentors from local businesses have provided countless hours of one-on-one training. Forty-four businesses have been involved, creating 78 full-time and 15 part-time jobs in the Shuswap.

"That mentorship begins a long-term relationship. They become customers, become partners, they’ll still work together in years to come,” Shannon adds.

Given the program runs every two years, Shannon and the Enactus team supported an accelerated weekend program last year that introduced participants to business plan fundamentals, with the option to join Launch-a-Preneur in 2019. This year, Shannon is a project coordinator for SAEDS, supporting sponsorship requests and facilitating sessions on her own.

“Over the last several years, our organization has had the opportunity to work with a variety of Okanagan College students on different community projects. We continue to be impressed by both the knowledge and passion to create change that OC students bring. We have been very fortunate to work with Laureen Shannon in different capacities, first as an Enactus volunteer and most recently as project coordinator for Season 5 of Launch-a-Preneur. The subject expertise, energy and unwavering commitment she brings to this program will provide ongoing benefit to our local entrepreneurs,” says Lana Fitt, SAEDS Economic Development Manager.

“Laureen is in a critical role this year, which is fantastic,” says Andrew Klingel, the Business professor who serves as an Enactus coach, alongside Terry Kosowick. “Community projects such as Launch-a-Preneur allow students to apply what they’ve learned in the classroom to the real world. They see what they are learning is relevant to their careers. They practice these skills, tools and techniques, which really builds their confidence. I’ve seen Laureen grow tremendously over the years, which is really rewarding to see."

Shannon takes her business development path in stride.

"For me, the benefit of taking part is being able to apply what I’ve learned in school, working with the entrepreneurs, and learning from them. Creating a relationship and connection with the participants helps grow my network,” she says.

The group is now prepping for Season 5 Final Night, where participants compete for thousands of dollars in prizes like seed capital, business consulting hours, website development packages, accounting and legal fees — all designed to assist with Shuswap startups. Teams present a short pitch to a panel of judges that include angel investors and successful entrepreneurs in the region. Prizes are awarded for green initiative, public choice and the judges’ top three selections.

“Launch-a-Preneur showcases the entrepreneurial spirit of the Shuswap,” says Joan Ragsdale, Regional Dean of Shuswap-Revelstoke. “It is a great opportunity for the College and students to work closely with community partners and businesses to strengthen our region.”

Shannon wants to continue on with Launch-a-Preneur, having already witnessed the value that Okanagan College alumni bring to working with students and community members.

“Launch has given me a lot of openings for my future and what I want to do when I graduate. I’ll either want to run these programs all the time or be in it,” she laughs. "These people are starting up businesses, and they’re going to hire Okanagan College students."

Launch-a-Preneur’s final night is scheduled for March 14 at the Salmar Theatre. Tickets are $20, and can be purchased online: http://launch-a-preneur.ca/. Proceeds support the Launch-a-Preneur program.

 

Rethinking risk: Are children too safe for their own good?
Okanagan College Media Release

Childhood is changing, but what will that do for confidence and resilience in adults?

Dr. Mariana Brussoni, an associate professor in the Department of Pediatrics and the School of Population and Public Health at the University of British Columbia, will address the questions of risk and safety in childhoods as part of the Okanagan College Vernon Campus’ Signature Speaker Series.Mariana Brussoni March 2019

“Rethinking Risk: Are children too safe for their own good?” will take place on Wednesday, March 20, 2019 at 7:30 p.m. in the lecture theatre of the Vernon campus.

“It used to be normal for children to spend long hours outdoors and away from watchful adults, playing how and where they chose. Today’s children spend more time indoors, supervised, in structured activities and in front of screens,” says Brussoni. “Many parents struggle to find a balance between bubble wrapping their kids and not protecting them enough. Fears of strangers, traffic and social services can overwhelm parents, making it hard for them to let go.”

Research is mounting on the importance of giving kids more opportunities for “risky play,” considered thrilling and exciting play that includes children testing boundaries and flirting with uncertainty. This can include climbing trees, building forts, playing capture the flag and roaming the neighbourhood with friends.

This kind of play is associated with positive health, development and well-being in children, including increased physical activity, social skills, risk management skills, resilience and self-confidence. Brussoni’s interactive presentation will explore the evidence regarding changing childhoods, as well as strategies to restore balance.

In addition to teaching at UBC, Brussoni also serves as an investigator with the British Columbia Children’s Hospital Research Institute and the British Columbia Injury Research and Prevention Unit.

Presented by Okanagan College, the Signature Speaker Series is sponsored by the Vernon Atrium Hotel and Conference Centre and Basket Case Picnics Catering. Admission is $10. Participants can register in advance online –www.okanagan.bc.ca/SignatureSpeakers
 – or pay at the door.

 

Health Care Assistant program intake starts as demand spikes in Salmon Arm
Okanagan College Media Release

More health-care beds opening up is good news for patients and for those seeking careers in caring.

An intake of Okanagan College’s Health Care Assistant program is scheduled for May at the Salmon Arm campus, giving students in the Shuswap direct access to training for one of the most in-demand positions in the province.

The intake couldn’t come at a better time for operators of Mount Ida Mews in Salmon Arm, which just hosted the grand opening for Phase 2 of its 60-bed expansion project.

"We are very proud to partner with Interior Health to provide quality senior care to the residents of Salmon Arm. The expansion of Mount Ida Mews will create 48 new jobs for nurses, health care assistants and hospitality workers in the community. We look forward to continuing to nurture our partnership with the community of Salmon Arm and thank everyone who was involved in bringing this project to life," says Melanie Reinhardt, President of Vantage Living which operates Mount Ida Mews.

According to WorkBC, health care assistants have been identified as a priority occupation for the B.C. Ministry of Health. Average employment growth rates in this field are forecast at 13 per cent to 2022, with no sign of slowing. This demand is anticipated to increase even more after the Government of B.C. announced funding to increase staffing levels in residential care homes for seniors, which aims to fund more than 900 health care assistants by 2021.

“The need for health care assistants within the Interior Health region is growing. There are many employment opportunities for individuals who have this training,” says Interior Health’s Shalan Hundal, Health Care Assistant Recruitment and Marketing Project Lead. “Graduates of the HCA program can join our teams at Interior Health and choose to work in a team environment in long-term care or they can choose to work one-on-one with clients in home support. It is a great career choice for those who like making a positive impact on the lives of others.”

The intensive program runs for 26 weeks (six-months)

starting in May, and will feature four months of classroom instruction and two months of hands-on practicum for students to learn within the health-care environment.

In addition to being in demand, students can also expect to find a career that’s highly rewarding, notes Lisa Kraft, Associate Dean of Science Technology and Health for Okanagan College.

“Health care assistants find their work extremely rewarding. Graduates often tell us how much they appreciate the opportunity to have a significant impact on the quality of life for people in their care,” explains Kraft. “This profession also supports individuals and their families, as living wages are provided right out of school and a variety of shifts are offered, making it easy for people to find work that best fits their lives.”

An information night for people to learn more about the Health Care Assistant program and field will be held on Thursday, March 14 at 7 p.m. at the Salmon Arm campus, 2552 10th Ave. NE. Students will meet program staff who can discuss the program and outline education financing options, admission requirements and supports for returning students. Information on Work BC funding eligibility will also be available.

Applications can be submitted online. For information, call 250-832-2126, ext. 8259 or visit www.okanagan.bc.ca/hca.

 

OC Business students capture silver at Winning Pitch
Okanagan College Media Release

Winning Pitch team March 2019A team of second-year Okanagan College School of Business students took home the silver medal at a recent competition in Vancouver for pitching a way to make festivals more accessible.

Now in its third year, go2HR’s Winning Pitch is a competition held at the British Columbia Tourism Industry Conference where post-secondary students pitch business plans to develop a local tourism activity. This year the teams were asked to develop a new product or service that supports the development of accessible tourism opportunities in their region.

“Our concept, AccessFest, was a series of four seasonally inspired festivals designed around people with accessibility requirements that utilized the shoulder seasons of unique British Columbian destinations, and focused on bringing long-haul destination tourists to our province,” explains team member Zackery Plaxton. “After our presentation, people were asking us when we planned on actually doing the idea, and even though the concept was hypothetical, it was pretty neat to have people truly believe the idea is possible.”

Plaxton along with teammates Emily Pilon, Bryan Cresswell, and Celina Matte won the Regional Competition in November, earning the opportunity to compete against three other Regional finalists, fourth-year students from Vancouver Island University, BCIT, and College of the Rockies.

“We are particularly proud of these four second-year students as they competed against fourth-year students with more experience, knowledge and training in front of the largest audience in my experience,” notes Blair Baldwin, Okanagan School of Business professor who coached the team alongside Professor Alan Rice.

 

Fruitful idea earns OC Vernon students top prize at Enactus Western Canada Regionals
Okanagan College Media Release

A team of business students from Okanagan College’s Vernon campus notched one of three first-place finishes for OC at Enactus Regionals over the weekend and their idea – which is already feeding an Aboriginal daycare, a homeless shelter, an elementary school and an after-school program – has earned them a spot at Nationals.

Enactus OC Green Team March 2019Vernon’s Macy Burke, Karsten Ensz, Abby Lagerquist and Mitchell Vanlerberg had the winning green touch as they took top spot in the Scotiabank Environmental Challenge, sharing top honours with their neighbours from UBC Okanagan, and beating out tough competitors Simon Fraser University and the University of Calgary.

“The teams have proved that achieving big goals is made possible through hard work, dedication and commitment,” says Macy Burke, who is also Co-President of Enactus OC.

“Over the last several months, the students worked endlessly to perfect their scripts and presentations which became apparent in our results. I am truly honoured to co-lead such an incredible group of kind, smart, and like-minded individuals. The endless support from our faculty advisors, school administration, community partners, donors and alumni is what makes our team so powerful, and for that we couldn’t be more grateful. With the National Exposition just around the corner, we’re now motivated to work even harder to achieve our next big goals.”

The green team presented on a new project called FruitSnaps, which piloted this past fall in partnership with the North Okanagan Valley Gleaners. The students came up with the idea of using leftover fruit from North Okanagan orchards that otherwise would go to waste to make healthy snacks for elementary students in SD 22. The team also recently worked with the Okanagan Indian Band to provide a daycare facility with 450 servings of FruitSnaps.

In addition to feeding hundreds of youth in the Vernon area, the project has already had an international impact as well. A shipment of more than 2,200 servings of FruitSnaps was recently delivered to Guatemala.

“The Okanagan is known for its fruitful produce but with the abundance naturally comes waste,” says fourth-year OC Business student Abby Lagerquist. “Many farmers in the region don’t have the time or the money to pick all of the fruit which results in thousands of pounds of unused fruit.”

The project addresses fruit waste and another issue that effects every community, hunger. A study by the Breakfast Club of Canada found one in five children go to school hungry due to lack of access to nutritious food.

FruitSnaps are made from 100 per cent real fruit and have no added sugars or preservatives. In addition to a tasty snack, the children also learn about healthy eating, and how they are helping to reduce fruit waste.

“OC Enactus always finds a way to innovate,” says Andrew Klingel, the team’s coach and a professor with the College’s School of Business. “The pilot phase of this project has already diverted 1,500 lbs of fruit waste and turned it into a healthy snack for those in need. I can’t wait to see where the project goes from here, and I think it is a shining example of Okanagan College's mission to transform lives and communities.”

“The results at Regionals speak to the remarkable dedication and effort the students expend on these projects, and where you can really find evidence of that is in our surrounding communities,” adds William Gillett, Dean of the School of Business. “The projects they’re working on benefit small businesses, non-profits, community groups and individuals. They advance causes like financial literacy, entrepreneurship and sustainability all around us and they also provide invaluable hands-on learning for students.”

The students are eager to compete again – this time on the national stage – when they will showcase the project at the Enactus Canada National Exposition in Vancouver in May.

The project got a boost when it debuted at Nationals last year, where it claimed the Hellmann’s Food Security Challenge for Best Project Solution. The accolade saw Enactus OC bring home a $3,000 grant to help bring FruitSnaps to the classroom to benefit hundreds of students last fall during the pilot.

 


OC Enactus teams take regionals by storm, earn berths to nationals
Okanagan College Media Release

Neither freezing temperatures nor strong competition from some of the top business schools in the west could stop Okanagan College business students as they cruised to four podium finishes at Enactus Western Canada Regionals over the weekend.

During a competition in which no other school was victorious in more than one competition, OC took the top spot in three challenges – the CWB Financial Education Challenge, the Scotiabank Environmental Challenge and the TD Entrepreneurship Challenge. The College also notched a runner-up showing in the Scotiabank Youth Empowerment Challenge.Enactus OC Team March 2019

The College faced teams from 20 other institutions – more than 400 students participated in total – during the two-day event, which took place from Feb. 28 – March 1 in Calgary.

The three winning regionals teams from the College punched their tickets to the Enactus National competition that will be held May 7-9 in Vancouver.

OC’s Entrepreneurship Challenge team, made up of students Isaac Hossmann, Tega Ovie, Sveta Pasko and Jake Pushor presented on Project Recharge, a solar-powered recharging platform designed to help people power up their devices on the go. The team was coached by professors Kyleen Myrah and Lynn Sparling.

For Jake Pushor, who already has the experience of a number of competitions under his belt, Regionals brought the opportunity to take his presentation skills to the next level, all while speaking about a project he’s deeply passionate about.

“The great thing about Project ReCharge is that there are so many viable settings the charging tables can benefit organizations, from the tourism sector to municipalities to schools, and they benefit the environment too. Getting a chance to showcase the project as a team was incredibly rewarding.”

“When you come together as a group and invest so many hours preparing, to come out on top and have all your collaborative efforts recognized is unreal – it’s an amazing feeling,” he adds.

“Once again Enactus OC delivered an exceptional performance highlighting four community projects they have been involved in. Their dedication and leadership are awe-inspiring and the support we get from our OC administration, community partners, donors and alumni really sets us apart. We are very proud to bring home such great results and are looking forward to Nationals in May,” says Myrah.

Vernon’s
Abby Lagerquist, Karsten Ensz, Mitchell Vanlerberg and Macy Burke comprised the Environmental or “green” team and were coached by professor Andrew Klingel. They took top spot in their challenge for their presentation on FruitSnaps, a project that utilizes leftover fruit from North Okanagan orchards that otherwise would go to waste to make health snacks for elementary students in SD 22.

Mitchell Folk, Iris Pham, Carmen Larder and Michelle Brouwer proved to be more than just top-notch number crunchers in winning the Financial Education Challenge, buoyed by their coaches – professors Laura Hetherington and Devin Rubadeau. The group presented on the CanSave project, which launched in 2016 and has already helped an impressive number of elementary school students and teachers in B.C. get a head start on financial literacy.

“To put the impact of this program in perspective, it was announced at Regionals that Financial Literacy projects created by Enactus students all over the country had impacted just over 100,000 people in the past seven years. CANsave is responsible for more 33,000 of those 100,000 impacted,” notes Rubadeau.

The College’s Youth Empowerment Team, which earned second place in their challenge included students Nathan Ziebart, Arya Guler, Tyson Thomlinson and Christopher Wadey. They were coached by professors Sheilagh Seaton and Dean Warner and presented on a project called Accelerate Youth which teaches practical skills, like cooking, to at-risk youth.

“We couldn’t be prouder of our students and faculty advisors on their success at Regionals,” says William Gillett, Dean of the School of Business. “Success at these competitions goes beyond skillful performance on the stage as presenters, it more so depends on students’ abilities to devise, launch, lead and adapt projects in our communities that have a tangible positive impact. And it is that wave of positive impact our students are contributing to through Enactus projects, and other efforts beyond the classroom, that is truly inspiring for all of us at the School of Business.”

“Seeing the Enactus OC students work so hard on their community projects and corresponding presentations was so motivating and to see their hard work rewarded with such success is so encouraging.  As students we are able to use this experience to learn from industry professionals and develop skills to benefit our community. This opportunity wouldn't be possible without the experience from our alumni and support we get from our community partners, faculty advisers and Okanagan College, they provide an extraordinary footing for our team to depend on and grow from,” said Enactus OC Co-President Jamie Park.

Enactus OC is a student-run organization that has a long history of distinguishing itself in nation-wide competitions for its contributions to entrepreneurship and to the communities it serves.

More information about Enactus and the competition is available at enactus.ca.
 

Results at a glance:
Entrepreneurship Challenge team
Tega Ovie, Jacob Pushor, Isaac Hossmann and Sveta Pasko
Coach: Kyleen Myrah and Lynn Sparling
1st place (Regional Champion)

Environmental (Green) Challenge team
Abby Lagerquist, Karsten Ensz, Mitchell Vanlerberg and Macy Burke
Coach: Andrew Klingel
1st place (Regional Champion)

Financial Education Challenge (Financial Literacy) team
Mitchell Folk, Iris Pham, Carmen Larder and Michelle Brouwer
Coaches: Devin Rubadeau and Laura Hetherington
1st place (Regional Champion)

Youth Empowerment team
Nathan Ziebart, Arya Guler, Tyson Thomlinson and Christopher Wadey
Coaches: Shei Seaton and Dean Warner
2nd place (Regional Runner-up)

 

OC Speakers series powers up in Kelowna with a talk about leadership
Okanagan College Media Release

There are leaders, and there are those who lead. Do you know the difference, and which one are you? These are among the questions that will be explored by author and performance coach Christine Patton when she kicks off the OC Speakers Series in Kelowna this month.Christine Patton March 2019

Patton’s talk will take place at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 13 at the Kelowna Downtown Branch of the Okanagan Regional Library at 1380 Ellis St.

“I’m interested in what draws us to certain people and why. I’m a big believer that success does not have to involve struggle and hardship. There are ways we can all enhance performance, ignite creativity, polish professionalism and build resilience for enduring productivity and well-being,” explains Patton.

After spending fifteen years as a litigation lawyer and deputy judge in Ontario, Patton now puts her time and expertise to work helping athletes, businesses and individuals perform their best. She is the author of SHOWING UP – BECOMING THE ME I WANT TO BE: Aligning Your Life and Work for True Success. Patton is also a Certified Practitioner/Trainer with the HeartMath Institute.

The talk is presented in partnership with Shawna McCrea of Balance Well-Being and is part of the OC Speakers Series.

“This is the first in what we hope is a series of topics presented by experts in their field, many of whom will be accomplished members of our local community. We are excited to be hosting this event and look forward to some exciting presentations,” says Phil Ashman, Okanagan College’s Regional Dean for the Central Okanagan.

Admission is free, but space is limited so please register in advance on Eventbrite
.

Donations of non-perishable food or hygiene products will be gratefully accepted to help Okanagan College students in need as part of The Pantry food bank project at the Kelowna campus coordinated by the Okanagan College Students’ Union.

 

New tech training program at OC inspires high school students
Okanagan College Media Release

School District 67 students are pulling back the curtain on the electronic devices they use every day and learning about the technologies that makes them tick thanks to a new program at Okanagan College.Gateway to Tech March 2019

Funded by the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training, the Gateway to Technology pilot project is equipping 16 students in grades 10 – 12 with an enhanced understanding of how various technologies function.

“This generation was born and raised in tech. Their dream job will include innovations that we haven’t yet thought of. Tech today is all around us. It’s in our phones, electric cars and it runs the networks that get the latest clothes to your door from anywhere in the world,” says Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training. “We know tech-focused careers are shaping our future. So, we’re investing in programs that link students to their dream jobs in tech, encouraging them to think about how tech is changing our lives, communities and careers.”

“There are not many high school programs out there right now that give much exposure to these technical topics,” says Troy Berg, Professor of Network and Telecommunications Engineering Technology at Okanagan College. “With the creation of this course, we’re looking to inspire students to consider educational opportunities in the technical fields by giving them exposure now.”

Penticton Secondary and Princess Margaret Secondary School students in School District 67 are attending two evening classes each week at the Penticton campus of Okanagan College.

“The students enrolled in the initial program have each displayed a passion in technology or computer science as a career path,” says Trevor Knowlton, Careers and Apprenticeship Coordinator for School District 67. “Feedback so far has been fantastic. The students are enthusiastic about what they are learning and I’ve also been contacted by others interested in applying for future programs.”

The program, which runs through mid-June, trains students on computers and career skills for entry level IT jobs, encourages learners to think about the ways these technologies can impact their lives and prepares them for transitions after graduation.

“We know technology plays a significant role in our lives and that will only continue to grow in the future,” explains Dr. Dennis Silvestrone, Director of Continuing Studies and Corporate Training at Okanagan College. “Equipping students with a meaningful skill set in this growing field is our goal. With a solid understanding of technology and computer programming, students can explore a range of career opportunities and contribute to the economic growth of our community.”

The training is divided into two sections – information technology essentials and programming – and combines lecture with hands-on lab learning.

 

OC student takes top prize at 36th Annual Spaghetti Bridge Contest
Okanagan College Media Release

James Dessert SB 2019The 36th 
annual Spaghetti Bridge Building Contest at Okanagan College provided an arena for laughter, excitement, a few tense moments and ultimately cheers as one of the College’s own cruised to victory.

Picking up more than just a few pennes, James Dessert took home the grand prize of $1,500 for his spaghetti creation. His bridge withstood an impressive 137.94 kg (approximately 304 pounds) of load on the College’s Fettuccine Fault Line scale before it exploded in front of a packed theatre.

“I’m happy with my bridge this year but of course I would have liked it to hold even more weight,” says Dessert. “I’m ready for next year and will be making some improvements to hold even more weight.”

Dessert is currently enrolled in his first year of Mechanical Engineering Technology diploma at the College and credits the Spaghetti Bridge Building Contest for helping to shape his educational goals.

“I’ve always had fun building these bridges year after year and it definitely got me interested in engineering,” he says.

Dessert got his start in the Spaghetti Bridge Building Contest six years ago and is no stranger to the stage. He netted his initial first place finish in 2014, three second place finishes in 2018, 2017 and 2016 and a third place finish in 2015.

Adding to the fun of the competition for Dessert, this year marks the third year in a row he has vied with his brother, Justin, for the best bridge. Third time was the charm for James who has received his just desserts over Justin – who has taken first place over James for the past two years.

“It feels great to win and I’m definitely going to be bragging about this for sure,” says Dessert.Spaghetti Bridge 2019

More than 250 students attended this year’s event, which was made possible thanks to a variety of industry and community supporters including a new title sponsor, Faction Projects Inc.

Neil Bolton, Manager of Projects at Faction Projects Inc. attended the competition and was floored by the results.

“This is our first time at the Spaghetti Bridge Contest and it was awesome to watch,” says Bolton. “It’s crazy to see the amount of weight you can support with spaghetti.”

Faction is a local multi-service company that offers architecture, construction and development management services.

“We do a lot of work with Okanagan College and this event was a great fit, especially with our line of work,” explains Bolton. “We’re are happy to be part of this competition and are definitely looking forward to next year.”

Complete Results

Heavyweight
First – James Dessert (Okanagan College, Kelowna, B.C.)
Bridge weighed 799.61 grams
Bridge held 137.94 kg

Second – Justin Dessert (Charles Bloom Secondary, Lumby, B.C.)
Bridge weighed 916.14 grams
Bridge held 128.55 kg

Third – Stefan Trajkov, Luiz Fernandez and Shafat Ismail (Red River College, Winnipeg, M.B)
Bridge weighed 999.36 grams
Bridge held 114.99 kg

Fourth – Joshua Greencorn and Riley Jackson (Anchor Academy, homeschool)
Bridge weighed 564.85 grams
Bridge held 12.01 kg

Secondary (lightweight)
First – Tyson Kamstra, Joel deHoog and Eli Jansen (King’s Christian School)
Second – Sienna Collins, Maddy Darlington, Caroline Bernath and Taylor Blenkin (Okanagan Mission Secondary)
Third – Juliette Schilling, Maya Ufimzeff and Arashjot Hehar (George Elliot Secondary)
Fourth – Tori Hansen and Alivia Grey-Goodman (Springvalley Middle School)

Team Building Secondary
First – Sarah Congdon, Rudi Fink and Tyler Blumethal (King’s Christian School)
Second – Haley Partridge, Clayton Reay (King’s Christian School)
Third – Tyson Kamstra, Joel deHoog, Eli Jansen (King’s Christian School) 

Team Building Post-Secondary
First – Clayton Uhlig and Keyvan Khadem (Okanagan College)
Second – Nita Joubert, Adam Thomson, Stefan Queen and Brendan Horsfield (Okanagan College)

  • View and download high resolution photos from the 36th Annual Spaghetti Bridge Building Contest on the College’s Flickr gallery.
  • Watch the final moments and collapse of James Dessert's spaghetti bridge here.

 

 

Pride and Prejudice and dinner at Okanagan College
Okanagan College Media Release

It is a truth universally acknowledged that the only thing more fun than a Jane Austen work adapted for the stage is a Jane Austen work adapted for the stage that also includes fine dining.

Such is the message that Okanagan College’s own theatre troupe, the Red Dot Players, have for audiences this spring as they present Kate Hamill’s adaptation of Jane Austen’s beloved novel Pride and Prejudice. The play will run for three evenings, from March 14-16 (curtain goes up at 7:30 p.m.) along with a matinee performance at 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 17.Red Dot Players Feb 2019

Tickets are $18 for adults and $15 for students and seniors and can be purchased online at kelownatickets.com or at the door.

Pride and Prejudice marks the tenth production for the Red Dot Players, founded in 2011. To celebrate the milestone, the troupe has decided to bring something special to the table: dinner theatre.

On Thursday, March 14 and Friday, March 15 attendees can combine a performance of Pride and Prejudice with a gourmet meal at Infusions Restaurant on the Kelowna campus, which is located just steps from the theatre. The meal will consist of a set appetizer, a choice of three main courses (including a vegetarian option), and a dessert. Seating for dinner will be at 5:30 p.m., giving diners plenty of time to savour their meal and anticipate the performance at 7:30.

The play’s Director, Jeremy Beaulne, who is also a professor in the English Department at OC, is excited to bring Hamill’s fun and fast-paced adaption to audiences in the Okanagan – with that treat for foodies thrown in.

“It’s going to be such a fun show. Kate Hamill – who is a young playwright from New York – really captures the spirit of Jane Austen’s novel and presents it in such an exciting and engaging way. There’s great comedic characters and a wonderful emotional arc. It’s fast-paced, it’s energetic, and overall, it’s just going to be a really enjoyable experience for the audience, I believe,” says Beaulne.

“And to make it all the more fun for audiences we’re doing something we’ve never done before in the dinner theatre offerings. So on top of great performances, beautiful costumes and some very impressive vintage furniture and set pieces – courtesy of Lois Lane in Kelowna – audience members can enjoy a great meal at Infusions before they take their seats.”

Tickets for dinner theatre are $50 for adults and $47 for students and seniors. Seating is limited so dinner theatre tickets are only available until March 10.

More information about the play, and the Red Dot Players, is available at
www.reddotplayers.com.

 

OC and UBC Okanagan researchers explore how to better support migrant workers in B.C.
Okanagan College Media Release

From urban farms to rural orchards and countless settings in between, a team of UBC Okanagan and Okanagan College researchers have spent three years and hundreds of hours speaking with migrant workers and their families about the challenges they face.

Dr. Susan Caxaj UBCO Feb 2019The project recently received a $147,000 grant from the Vancouver Foundation to ensure their work can continue to bear fruit in raising awareness, and bringing positive change for some of B.C.’s most vulnerable workers.

Led by Susana Caxaj, assistant professor in the school of nursing at UBC’s Okanagan campus and Amy Cohen, professor of anthropology based out of Okanagan College’s Vernon campus, the project will use the new funding to delve further into the unique and evolving struggles faced by workers.

“Migrant agricultural workers in B.C. face complex challenges that impact their health and wellbeing. Workers may face precarious legal status, coercive workplace conditions, substandard housing, and health care access barriers. These things all ultimately impact their quality of life,” notes Caxaj. “Researchers across the country have documented some of these challenges. Yet we need to spend more time actually developing solutions on-the-ground that can address workers’ vulnerabilities and improve their access to justice.”

Caxaj adds that the grant will allow the team to test a multi-year social support model based on the guidance of migrant agricultural workers. She also expects to be able to coordinate the efforts of community organizations with those of researchers with expertise in healthcare, law, and advocacy.
Amy Cohen Research Feb 2019
The project will build on more than three years of research already undertaken.

Caxaj and Cohen – along with a team of research assistants from both institutions – have been working together since 2016. That year, their project, entitled The Public Life of Temporary Migrant Agricultural Workers: The Role of Social Support Systems, Policies and Practices, was sparked by an Insight Development grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC).

“We set out to better understand and shed light on the challenges faced by workers and by organizations in our communities that are trying to help,” explains Cohen. “We also looked at the gaps that exist in the support systems and polices that allow this very far-reaching systemic social justice issue to persist.”

“We’ve taken a participatory action approach, meaning that it was critical to us that all the stakeholders – from the workers as well as the agencies that can support workers – were all involved at every step.”

One of the most positive aspects of the project so far, notes Cohen, is the way in which it has fostered communication among those stakeholders.

Amy Cohen in the orchardLast spring, the research team conducted workshops that saw participation by workers, health authorities, non-profit organizations and a host of agencies like the B.C. Federation of Labour, KCR – Community Resources, Radical Action with Migrants in Agriculture (RAMA), Sanctuary Health, Migrant Workers Centre and immigrant services agencies.

The next phase will help bring even more voices into the conversation, as Caxaj and Cohen continue to reach out to and engage more migrant workers, service providers and support groups.

It is estimated that there is now 70,000 people working under the Temporary Foreign Worker program in B.C, more than 7,570 of those in agricultural occupations labouring under the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program.

“This research will help build local capacity to support migrant agricultural workers in the Okanagan, and the insights we gain will hopefully guide policy and practice far beyond the region and across the province,” adds Cohen.

“These workers play an important role in our economy and we see it as our responsibility to ensure they have equal access to rights and protections. Research like this has the potential to change the lives of people in our communities for the better. We’re grateful to the Vancouver Foundation, and to UBC and the College, and our community partners for supporting that aim.”

 

OC Board re-elects Chair, Vice Chair
Okanagan College Media Release

Chris Derickson Feb 2019Two prominent First Nations leaders have been reelected to their positions as Chair and Vice-Chair of the Okanagan College Board of Governors.

Chris Derickson, a councillor with the Westbank First Nation and a five-year veteran of the Board, was elected at the Board’s January meeting as chair. Gloria Morgan, a former Chief of the Splatsin Indian Band and an Enderby resident, was elected as vice chair.

Derickson is a partner in Alderhill Planning Inc., which works with government and First Nations communities
and lectures at the Simon Fraser University Beedie School of Business and is on faculty with the Native Nations Institute at the University of Arizona. He has served on the Westbank First Nation Council since 2012. He was named one of Business in Vancouver’s Top 40 under 40 individuals in 2017.Gloria Morgan Feb 2019

Morgan
was a Chief of the Splatsin Indian Band from 2001 to 2005 and has been an RCMP officer, a general practice lawyer as well as a Crown Prosecutor. She was the President of the Enderby and District Chamber of Commerce, and member of the RCMP's E Division Aboriginal Advisory Committee, and served on the board of the Provincial Community Co-ordination for Women's Safety. In November, she was appointed to the board of the Southern Interior Development Initiative Trust (SIDIT).

Morgan has been on the Board of Governors since 2016.

She was the recipient of the Community Leader Awards - Community Builder award 2016, North Okanagan.

Other members of the Okanagan College Board of Governors are Shelley Cook, Juliette Cunningham, Blake Edwards, Charity Gerbrandt, Tina Lee, Robert McGowan, Christopher Newitt, David Porteous, Devin Rubadeau, Shakti Shekhar Singh and Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton.

 

OC and AO power up new lunch and learn series
Okanagan College Media Release

Okanagan College and Accelerate Okanagan are joining forces to launch a series of free lunch and learn workshops starting this month. Topics run the gamut from how to relieve stress to ways to improve communication in the tech workplace to shifting workplace rules and culture around the legalization of cannabis.

“Ongoing learning plays such an important role in fostering community and the growth of talent,” says Alex Goodhew, Accelerate Okanagan’s Community Manager. “Our long-time partnership with the College comes from our shared passion for supporting entrepreneurs, building talent and supporting economic growth and this series is a chance for us to create even more opportunity for growth and connection.”

Geared towards entrepreneurs, members of the business community and anyone interested in building a new skill set, these sessions are intended to share knowledge on timely and relevant topics and build connections.

“We’re constantly looking for new ways to share knowledge and spark dialogue within community businesses and organizations in the Okanagan, and so co-hosting with Accelerate Okanagan – which does so much to foster growth in the tech sector in the region – and using their fantastic space downtown made great sense for this series,” explains Dennis Silvestrone, the College’s Director of Continuing Studies and Corporate Training. “We look forward to some thought-provoking discussions that hopefully will be very valuable for those who attend.”

The free workshops will take place at noon on the last Thursday of the month from February to April at Accelerate Okanagan’s office, located at the Innovation Centre in downtown Kelowna. Participants should bring their own lunch. Coffee and tea will be provided.

For more information about the seminars and to register, click on the Eventbrite links below.

Feb 28: Stress Less at Work
Slow down: let go. Feel renewed and empowered with this stress management workshop, where you will learn techniques that will help you let go of your tension and focus better on your work.
https://stresslessatwork.eventbrite.ca

March 28: Cannabis in the Workplace
Explore the impact of this cultural shift in the workplace. How have things changed? What are some of your rights as an employee? Find out during this short and informative workshop.
https://cannabisintheworkplace.eventbrite.ca

April 25: Communication in Tech
There are some particular challenges in the Tech workplace. You can only control you. What can you do to react better to those challenges? We can help you with that.
https://communicationintech.eventbrite.ca

 

A tale of tree planters and taping – why Colleges matter

Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2019 has been proclaimed B.C. Colleges Day by the provincial government. Below is a letter from Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton on the important role colleges play in our society, and on some of the unique ways in which OC continues to transform lives and communities. Read more about BC Colleges Day in the media release from the province.

 bc colleges day banner

Across Canada, there are hundreds of tree planters who have reason to be thankful for Okanagan College and the research of one of its therapy assistant program professors, Darrel Skinner.

And while the tree-planters might not know – and may not even care about such things – today (Feb. 26) is B.C. Colleges Day, proclaimed by the provincial government and celebrated in Victoria at the Legislature.

Where does tree-planting intersect with provincial proclamations? At the point where Colleges contribute to the economic, cultural and social fabric of this province and country.

Darrell’s story is a great example of how Okanagan Colleges and the other Colleges of Canada contribute in ways that might go generally unrecognized.tree planting cm

In summer 2017, Darrell – aware of the many injuries (especially tendonitis) suffered by tree planters - undertook research (funded by Canada’s Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, one of the three major research granting councils in this country) that looked at what could be done to prevent or treat those injuries.

The outcomes were positive, although tree-planting business owners have used much more enthusiastic descriptors: “revolutionized injury management” and “game-changing” are two of the phrases that we’ve heard.

To put Darrell’s applied research in a nutshell, the taping techniques he developed, with a partner firm in Houston, British Columbia, and a tree planting company in Smithers, have reduced initial injuries among planters, shortened the recovery time of those who are injured, and have yielded increased income for planters, and improved productivity for businesses.

The initial research grant was $23,000.

Darrell is surprised by how far and fast the research outcomes have pervaded the industry and how quickly firms across Canada have picked up on the techniques. One of Canada’s largest treeplanting firms made the taping mandatory for first- and second-year treeplanters.

Darrell’s story is not unique.

The record of the School of Business, its professors and students contributing to significant community projects extends throughout the Okanagan and Shuswap valleys. Witness the recent Economic Scorecard developed for Kelowna – Dr. Heather Banham, a retired OC Dean of Business, and Dr. Lynn Sparling, the current chair of OC’s Business Administration department, were engines helping drive development of that tool.

Whether it is in teaching budgeting and financial literacy to thousands of elementary students or helping launch entrepreneurial efforts in the Shuswap, the records of achievement and accomplishment are pervasive.

The same is true of our Trades and Apprenticeship department, whether it is OC’s leading-edge Women in Trades program, support for building social housing, helping companies such as KF Aerospace meet their need for skilled workers, or engaging in research projects that demonstrate the value of the latest green building techniques and materials.

Cultural contributions abound, whether it is nationally-recognized novels written by our English professors or plays produced by the College’s Red Dot Players.

The list goes on and on, and changes from year to year. It is a continuum of contributions that dates to 1963 when the federal and provincial governments established OC’s predecessor, the British Columbia Vocational School.

Okanagan College is bigger than ever today, serving more local students with more programs and bringing more people from outside our region to our campuses and centres to learn and contribute to our economy and culture.

Our staff and our students are engaged in building our communities in ways that are impossible to track but are worth noting when they come to our attention.

Ask the treeplanters and their employers.

And take a minute today to celebrate B.C. Colleges Day.

- Jim Hamilton
President, Okanagan College

 

Olympic athletes, sports mentors gear up to inspire girls at Penticton campus
Okanagan College Media Release

The need for speed should not be defined by gender.

Approximately 100 girls between eight and 13 years will be descending on the Penticton campus of Okanagan College on March 10 to take part in Fast and Female, a free event celebrating female participation in sport and exercise.

“Our goal is for these girls to see that participating in sport and physical activity helps lead to greater confidence and life-long joy,” says Laura Harp, President of the Penticton and Area Cycling Association (PACA) that is sponsoring the event.

Fast and Female began in 2005 by Chandra Crawford, a ski racer from Canmore, Alta., who was inspired by Emily, a girl she babysat. During a conversation between the pair, Emily indicated she wasn’t happy being a girl, because girls didn’t get to do fun things like skateboarding and, instead, have to worry about their appearance all the time.Kikkan Randall

Crawford teamed up with four-time Olympic athlete and fellow skier Kikkan Randall, to form Fast and Female, which holds activities across Canada and the United States designed to connect girls with female mentors in sport, and have fun. More than 50 events are held in North America each year with ambassadors from 25 different sports, and to date, the non-profit has reached more than 3,000 girls up to 18 years old.

“We are so excited to bring a Fast and Female Champ Chat to Penticton. As a 12-year veteran of Fast and Female, I have witnessed first-hand the positive impact we can have on the girls in our community by introducing them to different sports activities and, most importantly, connecting them with their female athlete heroes,” Randall says. “We know that every girl will benefit from her participation in sports and we want to empower every girl to stay involved in sports for life. I’m really looking forward to taking advantage of the great facilities and expertise at Okanagan College to host this first Penticton event.”

Okanagan College Human Kinetics professor Louise Blais says a visit by Randall to her sports psychology class last fall sparked the idea of bringing the College’s human kinetics curriculum to the community, by connecting female students with the Olympian, local leaders and sports mentors.

“What we teach in human kinetics is about physical activity and health, and a lot of our courses recognize gender differences in these activities,” Blais explains, adding that studies have shown participation numbers of teenage girls in sports decline at a rate six times that of boys at the same age. “Coaches, teachers and other athletes have the opportunity to have an effect on those participation numbers. As they coach females, our goal is that our students will learn the value of life-long exercise for themselves but also other females in their lives."

Invites have gone out to school district staff to encourage registrations, and girls who are in leadership roles or those who perhaps are at-risk of leaving sport are being encouraged to take part.

The day will feature students divided into five groups, which will circulate through a variety of stations designed to showcase the fun of sports: dance, yoga, strength, roller skis and discussions with sports experts, local leaders and high-performance athletes like Randall and Ashley Wiles, three-time Ironman triathlete and founder of Sole Girls.

“Our mission is not to create Olympic athletes out of them, but encourage them to stay in sports and continue with physical activity,” Blais explains.

For information about Fast and Female, check out the non-profit’s website at www.fastandfemale.com.