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Algonquin College to receive $400,000 in federal EODP funding

By Ryan Paulsen, The Daily Observer

Ryan Paulsen / Daily Observer

Staff from Algonquin College in the Ottawa Valley join Renfrew-Nipissing-Renfrew MP Cheryl Galant to celebrate the announcement that the college will be receiving $400,000 of Eastern Ontario Development Program funding over the next four years. From left, Melissa Brasch from the Community and Student Affairs office, CSA Manager Jamie Bramburger, MP Cheryl Gallant, dean Karen Davies, cooperative education officer Cathy Yantha and chair of health and community studies Megan Conway.

Ryan Paulsen / Daily Observer Staff from Algonquin College in the Ottawa Valley join Renfrew-Nipissing-Renfrew MP Cheryl Galant to celebrate the announcement that the college will be receiving $400,000 of Eastern Ontario Development Program funding over the next four years. From left, Melissa Brasch from the Community and Student Affairs office, CSA Manager Jamie Bramburger, MP Cheryl Gallant, dean Karen Davies, cooperative education officer Cathy Yantha and chair of health and community studies Megan Conway.

The cooperative education department at Algonquin College got a large boost, and some enviable stability, last week in the form of $400,000 in Eastern Ontario Development Program funding spread over the next four years.

"Most of these contracts that we've had in the past with the Eastern Ontario Development Program have been one year, or a little bit more than that," says community and student affairs manager Jamie Bramburger. "To have four years of funding allows us to do a lot more. It means we've got enough time to do more than plant seeds in entrepreneurial activity, [we have time] to actually build a foundation with the college as a hub for that entrepreneurial activity."

The money will go toward a program called "ICE", which stands for innovation, collaboration and entrepreneurship. ICE has three main components. The first is the Options Skilled Trades Fair, a partnership between the college and all four Renfrew County school boards that brings together thousands of local high school students to see which skilled trades programs and job-site apprenticeship programs are available to them. Co-op Works provides a wage subsidy for employers to take on 20 co-operative education students each year to get hands-on work experience before graduation. Finally, the college's Entrepreneurship Hub will involve the hiring of an "entrepreneur in residence" who will, according to a college press release, "support entrepreneurial thinking and engagement on campus and within the broader community.

Through the hub, the college hopes to not only bolster their own programs and offerings, but also change the overall environment in Renfrew County when it comes to small business.

"We have identified a gap in our community in helping organizations become more entrepreneurial," says Megan Conway, chair of health and community studies at the college. "Through this project, we envision a very different entrepreneurial landscape in four years as we build community partnerships that inspire, encourage and support entrepreneurial thinking and development in Renfrew county."

Waterfront campus dean Karen Davies also see the extended funding as a was of freeing up staff to focus solely on the betterment of already successful programming.

"Funding for four years, as all of you in this room know, is just huge," Davies told the staff and guests assembled for the funding announcement. "Those of you who have been involved with Options, every year we knew it was a good thing to do, but every year we had to search out the money, and that took a lot of time. So we've got four years, and we're going to be planning it all out in advance, and Options, I'm not sure it can get any better, but if it can, with this four years' funding, we will make that happen."

ryan.paulsen@sunmedia.ca

Twitter: @PRyanPaulsen


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