Update: May 21, 2020, 8:19 AM
Your Good News Bulletin
Hospitality students can enrol in free online industry training
Centennial College hospitality and tourism students can take advantage of tuition-free online training during the COVID-19 pandemic to equip themselves with nationally recognized certificates, thanks to a new partnership with Tourism HR Canada. The industry-validated Emerit online courses equip event managers, food and beverage managers, front desk agents and room attendants with the skills and knowledge to succeed in their careers. The training courses are built on Canadian National Occupational Standards, and the online certificates meet the demands of tourism employers across the country. This innovative effort will help the industry manage and retain talent, upskill the workforce and develop resiliency for the eventual recovery. For more details, please visit Centennial College Partners with Tourism HR Canada to Deliver Tuition-Free Online Training.
International Development student raise funds for refugees
Students of Centennial’s International Development program got some real-world experience when program coordinator Vida Shehada and Gonzalo Santo, a student and fundraising team-leader, organized fundraising for Toronto’s FCJ Refugee Centre in February. As a result of their coordinated effort, the pair delivered a cheque for $1,047.70 to the centre recently – money that will provide much-needed grocery cards for international refugees who do not qualify for government assistance. There are 25 women and children residing in the FCJ shelters.
Do you miss The Local Café and Restaurant?
The Local Cafe and Restaurant at Progress Campus has just launched an online shop to deliver a few of your favourite products directly to your home. You will find the cafe’s most popular gourmet coffee blends, unique Pluck teas and organic flours milled at the School of Hospitality, Tourism and Culinary Arts available for purchase. The Local will donate $2 from every purchase to the Scarborough Centre for Healthy Communities, dedicated to meeting the holistic health needs of the communities of Scarborough. Visit The Local Café and Restaurant Online Shop and check back for new products!
Radio broadcast students get a new outlet for their work
Centennial’s winter-semester Radio broadcasting students of professor Malcolm Byard have the thrill of hearing their podcasts live over the air, as well as on the Internet, thanks to Trent Radio in Peterborough at 92.7 FM or www.trentradio.ca. The university students’ radio station has agreed to broadcast student-produced podcasts every Friday from noon to 1 pm. “The programming season has been in a bit of chaos and they reached out to Centennial for content,” notes Malcolm. “It’s exciting for our students to know they are broadcasting over the airwaves and to the world via the web.” In addition, Malcolm is producing a weekly show called "Shed Radio" from his home studio, which also airs on Trent Radio Wednesday evenings at 8 pm. Listen to Shed Radio on Soundcloud.
New YouTube video showcases aviation programs
Centennial’s Marketing and Communications department has been hard at work updating our online resources to put Centennial’s best face forward. Among the new projects is a number of fresh videos that highlight different program areas of the College. Take a look at this crisp video highlighting our Aviation Maintenance programs.
Update: May 19, 2020, 10:54 AM
Monday Message from Craig Stephenson, President and CEO
Dear Centennial College Community Members,
Welcome back! I hope that you had an enjoyable and restful Victoria Day weekend, especially given the gorgeous weather on Saturday! Many of us are feeling cautiously optimistic as Ontario enters its first stage of economic recovery this week. We are beginning to see the easing of certain restrictions, and some businesses have received the green light to resume operations. Here at Centennial, we are preparing our own framework for a safe and gradual reopening. We will be sharing more details on these plans as the unfold.
Answering the Call
In today’s “Monday” message, I would like to reflect on the College’s sterling efforts to support our local communities during the pandemic. In addition to already playing a vital role in providing education, (re)-skilling and training opportunities to serve community and industry needs, we have recently stepped forward to support frontline health care workers, promote food security in local neighbourhoods, and contribute to economic recovery discussions occurring in various venues, including the City of Toronto’s Economic Support and Recovery Task Force (Academic Institutions) and the Ontario Chamber of Commerce’s new COVID-19 Working Group.
We know that the socio-economic landscape of the post-COVID-19 world will be radically different. As we contemplate the road ahead one thing is absolutely certain: Centennial will play its vital role in the revitalization of our campuses’ respective local communities, our province and our nation as a whole. As you will read below, we have already begun to establish our community credentials during COVID-19 with our emphasis upon supporting health care and food security needs. As we move forward, it will be important to put the full weight of our resources behind the GTA’s economic recovery, including those offered by the Office of Strategic Initiatives & External Relations (SIER); the Centre of Entrepreneurship (COE); Applied Research; our Accelerator for Centennial Community Entrepreneurs and Leaders (ACCEL) and the relevant experiential student programs within each of the academic schools.
Supporting Front Line Health Care
In March, the Prime Minister called upon “every university, college, polytechnic, and CEGEP in the country” for “…masks and ventilators we can use, or […] things like 3D printing of medical supplies.” We answered that call by providing personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies from our various schools, including, amongst many other items, nearly 25,000 pairs of different types of gloves, 17,000 individual masks and close to 800 safety glasses and goggles. We also donated 500 masks that our colleagues at Suzhou Centennial College sent to us. In addition to these supplies, we returned three ventilators to Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre to be put back into lifesaving service. And thank you to individuals like Ana Caracaleanu who have taken it upon themselves to donate individually to our local health networks – with tremendous appreciation!
We also stepped forward to help local hospitals mitigate possible capacity challenges arising from COVID-19. The Scarborough Health Network (SHN) approached us with a request to potentially use our gym facility at Progress Campus as a field hospital for non-COVID-19 cases. So far, SHN has not required this additional capacity, but the logistics (with generous support from the CCSAI) are in place for them to use our facilities should this urgent need arise.
We have now mobilized all of the College’s 3D printers to create face shields. Centennial is part of a broader 3D printing network, working collectively to fulfill incoming equipment requests from various hospitals and healthcare facilities. This includes face shields for the Scarborough Health Network and frontline healthcare workers across the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). Donald Wang from the School of Engineering Technology and Applied Science (SETAS) is currently coordinating a team of faculty members and support technicians to assist with on-site production – thank you to all involved for supporting our frontline health workers where it matters.
You may be aware that the Wearable, Interactive and Mobile Technology Access Centre in Health (WIMTACH) is doing some phenomenal work to develop a novel, portable ventilator to assist with respiratory care for COVID-19 patients. In keeping with our social justice principles, once completed, the design will be available as open-source files for companies to fast-track manufacturing.
Promoting Food Security in Local Neighbourhoods
The economic upheaval resulting from the pandemic has left many individuals and families struggling to put food on the table, including members of our College community. Enrolment Services and Marketing collaborated on the creation of a Food Options and Resources Map, which makes it a lot easier for community members, as well as students, to pinpoint food and housing supports near each of our campuses.
Our School of Hospitality, Tourism and Culinary Arts (SHTCA) has worked with Second Harvest to distribute essential food supplies during this challenging time. Donated food items, which would have been used in our culinary labs and The Local Café and Restaurant, included milk, eggs, cheese, yogurt, frozen meats and seafood, as well as shelf-stable items such as cereals, and canned products such as tomatoes, beans and more. The School also donated commercial bags of flour, rice and other essential grains. Volunteers from the community organization, House of Neighbours, packed up remaining supplies from The Local, parcelling the food into boxes and baskets for distribution to families and students in need in Scarborough.
In addition to donating our entire food stock, the College reached out to our food supplier partners, including Aramark and Flanagan Foodservice, to facilitate deliveries of donations and supplies directly to local food banks.
The Office of Strategic Initiatives & External Relations (SIER) continues to work closely with locally elected government officials and the SHTCA to respond to urgent requests from community organizations requiring essential supplies. Through this collaboration, the College was able to assist, for example, a local retirement residence transition from dining to tray service by providing the facility with plastic serving trays. Discussions with the City of Toronto are currently taking place to determine how the College can support meal preparation and delivery in community kitchens.
Offering Free Online Learning Opportunities
The SHTCA has worked with the Office of Academic Partnerships and Pathways (OAPP) to develop a partnership with Tourism HR Canada. This partnership will see the delivery of Tourism HR Canada’s Emerit Online Learning to Centennial students – at no cost to participants – to support the industry in managing and retaining employee talent, upskilling the workforce and developing resilience for eventual recovery from the pandemic.
In partnership with Xahive and delivered via HIMMS (Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, Inc.), Centennial’s Centre for Part-time and Online Learning will present a webinar aimed at healthcare providers and organizations. The webinar will increase awareness on cybersecurity threats facing the healthcare sector and the tools needed to stay safe while working from home. Cybersecurity Governance online modules, developed in partnership with Xahive, will also be made freely available on Centennial’s website to business and industry.
Enabling Local Businesses
Solv. has scaled-up its services to respond to the critical and time-sensitive needs of local businesses. For example, it connected Arrow Workforce Solutions, a Scarborough-based staffing agency, with Career Services and Co-operative Education to explore immediate hiring opportunities for Personal Support Workers and Registered Practical Nurses.
Our ACCEL start-up accelerator has developed an initiative to support business recovery in Scarborough and East York. The “Beyond the Borders” initiative leverages ACCEL’s expertise and community connections to support local businesses with product development, marketing, distribution and sales. The initiative has been submitted as a proposal to multiple organizations, and has the potential to positively impact 240 local entrepreneurs and businesses over a three-year period. In addition, ACCEL is supporting students, alumni, community entrepreneurs and small business owners by shifting its coaching services from in-person to virtual delivery, and increasing the frequency of these virtual workshops.
The volume and scope of the community work we are currently engaged in related to COVID-19 is pretty remarkable, don’t you think? Moreover, I suspect this is just scratching the surface and a number of you have other examples to share – if you do, please don’t hesitate to drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our role in the community matters. This is particularly relevant when you consider the community development, advocacy, and revitalization functions that Centennial plays for underserved communities, who are particularly exposed to pandemic-related socioeconomic disparities and, as evidence suggests, will be disproportionately disadvantaged. I know that in addition to providing employment, education, re-skilling, training, and support for entrepreneurship, research, and innovation, our longstanding commitments to social justice and inclusion will guide our work in this area, and will enable us to realize our vision of transforming lives and communities through learning.
With great respect and appreciation,
Dr. Craig Stephenson
President and CEO, Centennial College