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New state-of-the-art facilities about to be unveiled at RDC

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From Joel Ward, President & CEO of Red Deer College

State-of-the-art facilities enhance learning, living and athletic experiences at RDC

As we continue to transition to University status, we have been busy preparing our facilities for the anticipated growth of programs and services to serve our ever-expanding number of students. Dr. Paulette Hanna, in her guest article last month, outlined the new programs we are offering this year. The new Bachelor of Applied Arts in Animation and Visual Effects, along with new programs in Justice Studies, Health Care, Education and Business ensure opportunities for innovation, entrepreneurship and great careers in central Alberta.

To accommodate the anticipated growth, RDC embarked on the largest facilities expansion in our history. Great programs, well delivered in modern facilities, ensure RDC’s ability to meet the learning needs of our students and our communities.

Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre/Centre des Jeux du Canada Gary W. Harris

Construction is completed, on time and on budget ($88M). We are in the process of moving in and will be hosting an open house and tours for the community in late August. Watch for the grand opening announcement coming soon. You will want to see this amazing facility.

This iconic facility celebrating health, wellness and sport will serve our learners and our communities for years to come and will serve as the legacy of the 2019 Canada Winter Games. And did I mention its design will take your breath away? Stantec, our design and architecture partner, and Clark/Scott Builders Inc., our general contractor, along with our faculty, staff and community partners have created something special, and I know you will be inspired by this newest addition to our College and our community. And it has approximately 2,500 solar panels on the roof along with 276 panels on the solar walkway, and is part of our green energy master plan, which will reduce our heat and cooling costs by almost one third. By the end of 2018, over 3,600 solar panels will be installed at RDC.

Residence

Construction is on time and on budget ($20M) for the 145 studio suites to open in January 2019. It is not a box with rooms. Its uniqueness makes it unlike any residence built before. Again, our team of designers have created something special. Gathering stairs, collaboration spaces and units designed by and for our students, ensure not only an incredible living space, but spaces that support learning. And did I mention that the south, west and east facing walls will be populated with solar panels?

Alternative Energy Lab (AEL)

Construction is completed, on time and on budget ($10M). Partnering with the Federal Government who funded 50% of the cost, this new teaching, learning and research space will demonstrate and showcase new alternative energy solutions for consideration by business, industry and local homeowners.

Information sessions, demonstrations of new technologies and research into the efficacy of alternative energy solutions in central Alberta will be the primary focus of this new facility. New programs will be developed to assist in the installation and trouble-shooting of new technologies. The addition of the AEL to our Centre for Innovation in Manufacturing gives RDC a great one-two punch to support small and medium businesses in applied research, rapid prototyping and 3D printing in central Alberta.

We will hold the grand opening later this fall. Watch for information sessions and tours open to the general public right after the grand opening.

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The change occurring at RDC is breathtaking. New facilities, new programs and the Premier’s announcement granting University status has made 2018 the most transformative year in our history. And there is more. This fall we will host five national sporting pre-Games events leading up to the Canada Winter Games, and then we will host competition in the same five sports during the Games in February and March, 2019. Following the Games, RDC will host the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Men’s Volleyball National Championship from March 6 to 9 – the first time since 1987.

And we have to find a name for our new University…

Joel Ward is President & CEO of Red Deer College

This column was first published in the Red Deer Advocate on July 28, 2018

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Community

Everyone’s invited to World Refugee Day Community Dinner

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Please join us at our World Refugee Day Event on June 22nd from 4pm – 7pm. Speakers, entertainment, community dinner. Children’s activities. Come and welcome some of the people who came here under refugee status and make new friends.

We are commemorating the day on June 22 at Gaetz United Church – Pioneer Hall.

Please join us in giving a warm welcome to the refugees in our community. World Refugee Day offers an opportunity for everyone to show support for people forced to flee.

The event is free.

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Alberta paving the way for newcomers to get to work

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From the Government of Alberta: Ensuring fairness for newcomers

Bill 11, the Fair Registration Practices Act, will help newcomers get their credentials recognized, so they can quickly get to work in their fields to help grow the economy and create jobs.

The act is a key part of the government’s Fairness for Newcomers Action Plan.

Highly trained immigrant professionals can sometimes spend years jumping through regulatory hoops while their skills atrophy.

This can result in a significant loss of economic productivity for the Alberta economy. If passed, the Fair Registration Practices Act would cut red tape, remove barriers, speed up the process where possible, hold professional bodies accountable, and increase fairness and transparency.

Our goal is to get all Albertans back to work. Too often, we hear stories of ‘doctors driving cabs’ syndrome – and we are taking action to make sure newcomers’ credentials are evaluated and assessed objectively and in a timely manner.” Jason Kenney, Premier

“It’s important for Alberta’s professional bodies to maintain high professional standards while allowing qualified newcomers to fully contribute to our economy. And not only that, giving newcomers the chance to pursue the careers they’ve trained for is, simply put, the right thing to do.” Jason Copping, Minister of Labour and Immigration

“The settlement sector in Alberta has been advocating for fair recognition of newcomer qualifications for decades. The proven detrimental impact of underemployment of newcomer professionals is felt not only within their own families, but throughout society as well. We are certain that fair recognition of credentials will improve the quality of life of all Albertans, and are grateful this legislation is being introduced so quickly by the new government.” Anila Lee Yuen, president & CEO, Centre for Newcomers

The proposed bill would:

  • Provide the authority to create a Fair Registration Practices Office.
  • Reduce the red tape associated with the assessment of foreign credentials.
  • Work with regulators to ensure registration practices are transparent, objective, impartial and fair.
  • Maintain Alberta’s high professional standards.

Bill 11 would require regulatory bodies to:

  • Assess applications and communicate assessment decisions within specific time frames for interim registration decisions and within reasonable time frames for final registration decisions.
  • Submit reports regarding fair registration practices to the minister responsible for the act.

“ASET is the regulator of engineering and geoscience technology practice in Alberta, and is committed to fully objective criteria for certification, and a level playing field for all applicants. Having long since adopted high standards of fairness in our admissions practices, ASET applauds the initiative for fair assessment of all applicants.” Barry Cavanaugh, CEO, Association of Science and Engineering Technology Professionals of Alberta

If passed, the legislation would come into force on proclamation.

Quick facts

  • According to the Conference Board of Canada, Canadians would earn up to $17 billion more annually if their learning credentials were fully recognized.
    • Immigrants are the largest group, with an estimated 524,000 international credential holders affected by a lack of learning recognition.
  • Provinces such as Ontario, Manitoba and Nova Scotia already have fairness legislation to ensure that professional regulatory organizations have fair registration practices.
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