Students at Algoma University will notice an enhanced focus on experiential learning this fall, thanks to the Career Ready Fund (CRF).
The CRF contribution to Algoma, valued at $566,000 over two years from the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development, will support capacity building and the development of innovative programming to better prepare students for the workforce after graduation.
“Ontario’s students are highly-educated and incredibly talented, but without some work-related experience on their resume, it can be challenging for them to land that first job after school. With support from the Career Ready Fund, students and new graduates will gain the meaningful, real-world experience they need for a successful career start, and employers will have access to talent that can make an immediate impact on their success,” said Mitzie Hunter, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development.
CRF funding supports employer and regional partnerships to help students transition more successfully to employment. Algoma U will design and deliver a Career Link program that will include a focus on the needs of Indigenous learners to prepare students for work in and with Indigenous organizations and First Nation communities. The University is beginning outreach to communities and partners through its Anishinaabe Initiatives Division.
The Career Link program also includes a focus on entrepreneurship and support for students with disabilities. Partners include the City of Sault Ste. Marie, the Sault Ste. Marie Economic Development Corporation, the Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre, the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce, and Yes You Can Employment Consulting. The Career Link program will provide a structured framework for students to participate in experiential learning and career development programming from orientation through to graduation.
CRF funding will also support the design and delivery of a New Graduate Transition Program in partnership with the Sault Community Career Centre. The program will be available for students in their final year of study and will include a series of workshops followed by a work experience placement with a local employer.
Many programs at Algoma already benefit from experiential learning, while others are currently being developed. Examples of opportunities available to undergraduate students include: the Northern Ontario Business Case Competition, student research, co-operative education, internships, the Model United Nations, the North American University Programming Competition, among others.
“The Career Ready Fund is integral to building on the hands-on learning opportunities that are a part of the Algoma University student experience,” said Dawn White, Director of Program Quality and Experiential Learning. “This funding supports community partnerships and program development so we can focus on career preparedness as a part of the academic experience, which will provide graduates with the skills needed to enter the workforce and secure meaningful employment in their fields.”
Over 70,000 new experiential learning opportunities are expected to be created across Ontario between 2017-19 thanks to the Career Ready Fund.